One of the best pieces of insomnia advice we share on this blog is this: If you can't sleep, get out of bed.
If you lie in bed and concentrate on trying to fall asleep, you're unlikely to be successful.
It's all too easy to lie in bed worrying about the fact you're still awake. You then put pressure on yourself to fall asleep. This makes sleep less likely.
Instead, if you can't sleep, you should get out of bed (ideally, you should leave the bedroom altogether) and do something sedentary and relaxing. Think reading - but only if it's a paper book. You want to avoid electronics and anything productive.
The big question is how long should you lie in bed before calling it quits?
Most of the time, we recommended 30 minutes - but we recently came across advice that suggests if you haven't fallen asleep after just 10 minutes, you should get out of bed.
This advice comes from Russell Rosenberg - the chairman of the board of the National Sleep Foundation.
Don't use this advice as an excuse to lie in bed watching the clock (in fact, get the alarm clock out of your bedroom completely, or turn it away so you can't read the time). Instead, use common sense.
If you feel 10 minutes has elapsed and you're still awake, that's your cue to get out of bed and try again later.
Remember - the more you try to force yourself to fall asleep, the less likely you are to fall asleep.
Last updated: October 18, 2012