15 New and Creative Ideas to Try if You Can't Sleep

Watch TV:  What? This isn’t supposed to be on this list!!

  • Educational Content: Choose something with a soothing voice, such as documentaries about History or Outer Space, things that interest you, but not enough to fight sleep.  It tricks your brain to think you are not alone.
  • Netflix’s Headspace:  These videos are created to help you sleep and give some science, but also provides techniques to help guide you into sleep.

Engage in a Quiet Hobby

  • Adult Coloring Books: Engage in coloring to help relax your mind.
  • Knitting or Crocheting: These repetitive activities can be soothing.
  • Puzzle Solving: Try a jigsaw puzzle or a brain teaser, unless you get frustrated.

Light Stretching or Yoga

  • Gentle Stretches: Perform light stretches or yoga poses to relax your muscles and mind.
  • Yoga Nidra: Practice this form of guided meditation designed to promote deep relaxation and better sleep.

Listen to a Podcast or Audiobook

  • Calm Content: Choose something soothing or mildly interesting that doesn't require intense focus.
  • Sleep Stories: Use apps like Calm or Headspace that offer bedtime stories designed to lull you to sleep.

Breathing Exercises

  • Box Breathing: Inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and exhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, then repeat.  This works for the Navy Seals, it will probably work for the rest of us. 
  • Alternate Nostril Breathing: This yoga technique can help calm your mind.


Progressive Muscle Relaxation

  • Tension and Release: Tense each muscle group for a few seconds, then relax, starting from your toes and working up to your head.


  • Essential Oils: Use lavender, chamomile, or sandalwood essential oils in a diffuser or apply them to your pillow.

Visualization Techniques

  • Imagery: Imagine a peaceful scene in detail, like a beach or forest, to distract your mind from stressful thoughts.
  • Guided Imagery: Follow along with a guided imagery recording.

Creative Writing

  • Stream of Consciousness: Write whatever comes to mind without worrying about structure or grammar.
  • Dream Journal: Jot down any thoughts or dreams to clear your mind for sleep.

Ambient Sounds or Music

  • Nature Sounds: Listen to recordings of rain, ocean waves, or forest sounds.
  • Binaural Beats: Use binaural beats that promote relaxation and sleep.

Try Acupressure

  • Self-Massage: Gently press specific acupressure points, like the one between your eyebrows or on your wrists, to induce relaxation.

Temperature Adjustment

  • Warm Bath or Shower: A warm bath or shower can help relax your body and signal that it's time to sleep.
  • Cool Down: Use a cooling blanket or adjust the room temperature to find a comfortable coolness.

Herbal Teas or Supplements

  • Sleep-Inducing Teas: Drink a cup of chamomile, valerian root, or passionflower tea.
  • Supplements: Consider melatonin or magnesium supplements (consult with a healthcare provider first).

Inverted Positions

  • Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose: Lie on your back with your legs resting against the wall. This pose can help relax your body and mind.

Gentle Music or White Noise

  • Sleep-Inducing Playlists: Create or find a playlist of calming, gentle music or ambient sounds.
  • White Noise Machines: Use a white noise machine to drown out disruptive sounds.

Trying out these varied strategies can help you find what works best for you and create a more restful night.