What to Do When Stress Keeps You Awake at Night

Life is something that happens when you can’t get to sleep.  ~Fran Lebowitz


High stress can cause you to toss and turn all night. You wake up, check the clock, begin to think about all the things you need to do, how you are going to pay your bills and family problems. Anxiety sets in and before long your body feels wired but tired at the same time. The alarm rings and your too exhausted to face the day.  This might be a pattern a couple of times a night if you are anxious about how to solve your problems. There might be nights during the week you are not getting enough sleep due to worrying and mounting stress.

Other than counting sheep, here are some suggestions on how to get back to sleep:

Turn off the electronics. It might be tempting to turn on the television to catch a rerun or old flick but don’t do it.  Televisions, smart phones and computers, and will stimulate your brain and cause more sleeplessness. Another suggestion is to keep your bedroom dark and cool for the best rest.

Move to the living room. If you are awake for more than 15 minutes move to another room for a relaxing activity, such as reading. Keep the lights dim to keep a relaxing atmosphere. Bright lights will only keep you alert.
Time flies-when you’re not having fun. Resist looking at the clock over and over. Otherwise, you will become more agitated and anxious suggestion is to use your smart phone as a clock so the room remains dark at night. You may be less tempted keep checking the time.

Keep a sleep notebook. Keep track of sleep patterns with a notebook beside your bed. Write down anything important, such as amount of time you sleep, dreams or what is on your mind. Before you go to bed, write down anything you are worried about and promise to get back to it in the morning. You might be less tempted to worry over the same subject.

Unwind again. If you start to toss and turn, try a relaxation or deep breathing technique. Find a guided meditation to get calm again. Find music specifically made to aid in sleep. Relaxation will help rest the body so you can get more shuteye.

Sleep disturbances can be more that just difficulty sleeping. Insomnia and other sleep problems may be due to a medical condition. If changing sleep routines don’t work, check with your doctor for help. Do allow time for your sleep habit changes to work so you can restfully fall back asleep.

About Lisa Birnesser (14 Posts)

Lisa Birnesser is a Stress Management Coach, author and speaker at Stress Relief Solutions. She helps people who are overwhelmed and at the end of their rope with stress. When clients work with Lisa they learn how to relax, get focused, and learn techniques to do what matters most every day, leading happier, healthier lives. For the past 25 years, Lisa served as an occupational therapist in a variety of settings. In addition, she owns a thriving massage therapy practice that focuses on stress and pain relief. She currently lives in Knoxville, Tennessee.

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  1. 1

    Thank you for sharing these great tips. I already do some of them when on occasion I find myself having a hard time falling asleep. I will have to try the others :)

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