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Insomnia tips: 10 things to do when you can't sleep at night

One of the most painful things about insomnia is the boredom that happens when you find yourself staring at the ceiling for 3 hours straight. To make it worse, everyone else in your household is most likely asleep so you are stuck with your own thoughts. I always recommend that my clients who struggle with insomnia should get out of bed if they aren't able to fall asleep within 30 minutes. But after getting out of bed, what are you supposed to be doing?

Don't fret. I've got you covered. Here is a list of 10 things you can do when you can't sleep at night.

Look through old albums: Remember all those old pictures that are floating around in a random drawer or box in your home? Night time is the perfect time to actually get them organized. Think about it, you can reminisce about the good old days and get your pictures organized at the same time. If you don't have physical pictures, you can also spend this time organizing the pictures on your phone, tablet or laptop. Categorize them by date, location or any other system that works well for you.

Sort out junk mail: Many people have a junk mail drawer where they shove all their unsolicited mail and other miscellaneous items. Sometimes you can actually find good deals with coupons that are sent to your home. Night time is a great time to throw out useless mail, shred sensitive mail or organize mail you'd like to keep. My favorite mail organizing system is to use an accordion folder with tabs to keep everything. As your mail comes in, you can categorize it, and shred whatever you don't need.

Read something light (but not on a phone, tablet or computer screen): Night time or early morning is a great time to catch up on that novel or self help book you've been itching to read. Just ensure that you're not using an e-reader. I explain how electronics could affect your sleep cycle here. If you're a Christian, night time is also a great time to read your Bible or get caught up on a devotional. 

Clean out the fridge: Let's face it, no one likes to clean out the fridge, but the best time to do so is when everyone else is asleep. The kids can't bug you, your spouse isn't asking you questions, and you have total silence to get organized and methodical about it.

Organize clothes: You probably won't be able to overhaul your entire closet in one night, but you can definitely get a head start and feel accomplished. Pick one type of item and organize everything in that category. Perhaps you can start with shirts, or pants or skirts or accessories. Make it fun and enjoyable. You can even use headphones and listen to calming music while you organize. Getting stuff done beats laying in bed and feeling frustrated while everyone else is fast asleep. Insomnia doesn't have to take over your life.

Knit or craft: If you're creative, night time is the best time to start a new knitting project or some other type of craft. You can't imagine how much you can get done when you're able to work without the distractions that happen during the day.

Work on a scrapbook: Remember those pictures you organized? You can turn them into a scrapbook. These days you can even create an online scrapbook.

Write a to do list for the next day: At night, you can plan out your schedule for the next day. Write out all the tasks you'd like to complete the next day and also organize them according to priority. 

Clean out 1 drawer: Night time is also a great time to clean out your junk drawer. Perhaps start with your bedside table. Get rid of everything you don't need and hopefully, by the time you're done, you'll be tired enough to fall back asleep.

Ready to begin to sleep at night and kick this insomnia thing? Click here to schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation to find out if CBT for insomnia is the right treatment for your insomnia. In just a few weeks insomnia could be a thing of the past. I also provide online sessions for clients throughout California.

Insomnia chronicles: Early morning habits every insomniac should try

If you've struggled with insomnia, then you probably have sleep anxiety. It's no joke. Perhaps you wake up in the middle of the night, while the whole world is sleeping. Or you wake up in the wee hours of the morning, unable to drift off to sleep. I always advise insomniacs to get out of bed after 30 minutes if you cannot fall asleep. There's no point tossing and turning. That increases anxiety. In fact many people who experience sleep disorders often have anxiety about sleep. Here are some activities you could participate in if you're awake super early in the morning.

Pray: If you're religious, prayer is a great way to start off your day. It's nice to be able to pray while the house is silent. No screaming kids, no TV, no distractions. Start the day off feeling connected to God and setting the tone for a great day. It's a lot better than tossing and turning for hours till everyone is awake. Perhaps you can create a small prayer spot for yourself. It'll quickly become a relaxing ritual you can look forward to.

Take the dog for a walk: This is a great time to bond with your pet. Lace up your shoes, grab your leash and go for a short walk around the block. This one has two parts because you'll get some exercise in while bonding with your pet. 

Organize drawers, clothes, shoes: Do you remember those drawers that are filled to the brim with random knick knacks and things you don't need? Well, early morning is a great time to organize them. I'm a big fan of the Konmari Method. If you've never heard about it, it's an organization system by Japanese organization expert, Marie Kondo. It's a simple way to live a minimalist and tidy life. 

Tidy up your bedroom: The morning is the perfect time to tidy up last night's mess. Sometimes we are too tired to clean up after ourselves, so in the morning, you can pick up any clothes that are on the floor, clear up your side table, clean your armoire and ensure that your bedroom is soothing. Remember, a tidy bedroom is a lot more welcoming and sleep inducing than an untidy one.

Get some exercise: I'm no fitness expert, but I've heard it said that when we work out in the morning, our bodies continue to burn calories for a few more hours in the day. So if you can't sleep, go outside and get some early morning sunshine. If it's too hot or too cold for you, go to another room of the house and press play to a workout video. 

Make lunch: While we're on the subject of exercise, early morning is also a good time to prepare your lunch. You can also get everyone else's lunch ready and start your day off right. Don't let all that exercise go to waste.

Do laundry: We all know how fast laundry piles up. If you can't fall asleep, get out of the bed and do 1 load of laundry. It'll have you feeling productive. 

Some other ideas: You can also get ready for the day. Set out your clothes, brush your teeth or even take a shower. If you're up to it, do some light cleaning. Dust the windows and blinds, wipe down the kitchen counters or even mop the floor. Just don't vacuum so you everyone else in your house isn't upset.

And if you'd like to learn a lot more habits to help you sleep, click here to learn more.

There you have it. Lots of great ideas when you're wide awake early in the morning. And if you're tired of being controlled by insomnia, click here to schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation to find out if CBT for insomnia treatment in Murrieta can help you get the sleep you so desperately crave. If you live too far away from Murrieta, I also provide online sessions for women throughout California.