If you’re having trouble sleeping, you’re not alone. Nearly half of Americans say a lack of sleep affects their daily lives, as per the National Sleep Foundation.
“For something that sounds so easy, sleep is quite difficult,” says American Academy of Sleep Medicine spokesperson Raj Dasgupta, MD, assistant professor at Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. “Sleep is like a puzzle and when you want to try to get good sleep, you need to find out which piece of the puzzle is missing and what piece of the puzzle really affects you the most.”
Good sleep starts during the day, and can be impacted by the foods you eat and what activities you do. Creating a bedroom environment that’s conducive to sleep is also important. But even if you’re doing everything you can do to prep yourself for a full night of sleep, you might still toss and turn. Fortunately, you don’t need to succumb to sleepless nights. Try this next time you’re lying in bed awake.
1. Get Out of Bed
It may seem counterproductive, but for some people, lying in bed trying to sleep will only make it harder to drift off, says Dr. Dasgupta.
“If you can’t fall asleep in the first 15 to 20 minutes, you should do things that are non-stimulating in dim light,” he says.
Whatever you choose to do, just make sure it doesn’t involve a screen. Blue light emitted from certain electronics, like cell phones and tablets, can suppress the secretion of melatonin, which is the hormone that tells your body it’s time to fall asleep.