Whether you’re constantly trying to hide yawns during business meetings (and other waking-hour activities), having difficulty falling asleep, or yearning for the forgotten days of deep, uninterrupted sleep, tossing and turning could be to blame.
Perfecting your recipe for a peaceful night’s sleep is no small feat. To pinpoint an answer to how to stop tossing and turning at night—or during any period of rest for that matter—you’ll need to pay attention to your body and lifestyle particulars.
Below, we’ve compiled our best advice for combating restlessness to help you strengthen your sleep habits and tap into the rest your body deserves. We’ve listed tips on how to stay cool at night and how to improve your sleep hygiene before going to bed. Keep reading for more and say goodnight to sleeplessness for good with these five tips.
#1 Get Out of Bed
While it may seem counterintuitive if you’re lying awake during your typical sleeping hours, sometimes the most effective strategy to combat sleeplessness is to get up and go elsewhere. That said, we don’t recommend making a beeline to the nearest TV, smartphone, or tablet. Instead, opt for a screen-free, relaxing activity like reading a book, working on a puzzle, or listening to a podcast.
Another tip is to strengthen sleep triggers in your brain by only entering your sleep space when your body feels naturally tired. In other words, don’t force your body into sleep simply by sending yourself to your room. Focus on completing a few pre-sleep activities and head to bed once your body shows noticeable signs sleepiness.1
#2 Stay on Schedule
Our body already operates on an internal sleep-wake cycle called a circadian rhythm. So, why not lean into that inherent schedule and commit to sticking to it?
If you don’t have a set bedtime already, now’s the time to put one in place. Aim to start your pre-sleep routine, like bathing or brushing your teeth, at a specific time each night, and use your smartphone to set up a reminder that’ll notify you when it’s time for some shut-eye. After that, you might even choose to silence notifications altogether after a certain time each night. That way, the ping of a new message or email won’t get in the way of your routine.
From there, the key is to remain consistent. Even on weekends, when your schedule may allow for some extra snoozing, do your best to rise and retire within an hour of your proposed cycle.
#3 Make a Change to Your Diet
Tossing and turning may be the reason you can’t sleep now that your head has hit the pillow, but what about before this very moment? Specifically, what was on your dinner plate?
Believe it or not, there are several foods that are naturally high in melatonin, the sleep hormone that works in tandem with your circadian rhythm. By adding a few of the following food items to your pantry or fridge, you could stop restless sleep from happening before it starts:2
- Nuts (particularly almonds and pistachios)
- Goji berries
If you’re not able to soothe your sleeplessness through diet alone, you might decide to enlist the help of dietary supplements instead. Consider going directly to the source by taking melatonin tablets, capsules, or soft chews as needed. Other sleepers may look to valerian, a plant-based supplement that has been shown to facilitate the process of falling—and staying—asleep.3
#4 Address Your Stress
Relaxing our muscles and calming our brains have been proven to help increase the speed and ease with which we fall asleep. However, that’s often much easier said than done.
One way to tackle this seemingly impossible task is to promote oxygen circulation. Follow the steps below (and practice it often) to master a simple bedtime breathing technique:4
- Inhale through your nose and count to four.
- Hold your breath for seven seconds.
- Exhale through your mouth for eight seconds.
- Repeat steps 1 through 3 three times.
With regular practice, nighttime breathing practices such as this one could help to put more space between the stress of your day and the sanctity of your sleep. That said, if your day-to-day is overwhelming to the point of lost sleep, consider consulting a healthcare professional to find a more curated solution.
#5 Prioritize Physical Comfort
Forgive us for asking a perhaps, obvious question—but how comfortable is your sleep space? If you can’t link your restlessness to diet, excess caffeine, or a stressful day at the office, it might be time to evaluate your bed and its accouterments.
Try simple solutions like upgrading your bedding or pairing your preferred sleep position with the right pillow helps. Some people find that using a weighted blanket or adding more plush or firm mattress toppers to your bed makes a world of difference when achieving prolonged periods of deep sleep and improving sleep quality.
Coop: Your Key to Calm, Toss-Free Sleep
Here at Coop, we center our identity on thoughtful balance and certified original technology. With adjustable products that allows you to personalize for your own perfect sleep —so you can focus on your health.
Regulate your sleep temperature with thermogenic bedding options, or consult with our experts to find a cooling pillow that best suits your sleep style. Team up with Coop, your trusted bedding expert, and put those sleepless nights to rest.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In Brief: Your Guide to Healthy Sleep. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/public/sleep/healthysleepfs.pdf
- WebMD. 6 Foods High in Melatonin. https://www.webmd.com/diet/foods-high-in-melatonin
- Mayo Clinic. Valerian: A safe and effective herbal sleep aid? https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/expert-answers/valerian/faq-20057875
- The Sleep Foundation. What to do When You Can’t Sleep. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/insomnia/treatment/what-do-when-you-cant-sleep
- National Sleep Foundation. Sleep by the Numbers. https://www.thensf.org/sleep-facts-and-statistics/
- The Sleep Foundation. What Causes Restless Sleep? https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/what-causes-restless-sleep
- The Sleep Foundation. Restless Leg Syndrome: Symptoms and Causes. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/restless-legs-syndrome
- Healthline. What Is the Best Temperature for Sleep? https://www.healthline.com/health/sleep/best-temperature-to-sleep
- Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia. Aging changes in sleep. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/004018.htm
- Mayo Clinic. Sleep Apnea: Symptoms and Causes. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sleep-apnea/symptoms-causes/syc-20377631