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How To Sleep Alone: Tips and Tricks for Adults and Kids

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Update: May 18, 2023
7 min read
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Written by

Payal Singh
Content Writer
How To Sleep Alone

Not everyone can sleep in their quiet spaces, and many people struggle going to bed alone. However, if you ever wondered why can’t I sleep by myself? If or want to know how to get your children to sleep alone, this article is for you.

There are several reasons why going to bed alone is hard. Fear is one of the common reasons people cannot fall asleep alone. Let’s look at why people can’t sleep alone and learn tips on sleeping alone.

Reasons You Can’t Sleep Alone

Many people find sleeping alone uncomfortable, and there are several reasons why you can’t sleep alone; the following are reasons why people can’t sleep alone.

Fear

Fear is the most common reason people cannot fall asleep alone, also called somniphobia or sleep anxiety. Fear of clearly discernible, circumscribed objects or situations provokes an immediate anxiety response.
And when people have to sleep alone, the simple mention of words related to death or the afterlife, such as graveyard, burial, and satanic cult, evoked concerns about anxiety and sleep disturbance all night long. For example, superstitions such as the fear of houses said to be haunted by ghosts were given a normal fear in children.

Habit

Ever wondered why can’t I sleep without someone next to me? It could be a habit. Everyone has habits that require no conscious thought or effort. Habits are formed through the repetition of a behaviour, and sometimes people are habituated to sharing a bed with someone else. Therefore, people are unable to sleep alone. 
Furthermore, when a person is required to sleep in an unfamiliar setting for the first time, it causes discomfort. This is known as the “First Night Effect.”

Hormones

Touch plays an important role in regulating our emotional and physical well-being. For example, lovers cuddle and hug; people get massages from a therapist for stress relief, or the nurse strokes a patient’s shoulder to reduce pain.
A study reports that physical contact, such as hugging and cuddling, can benefit both physical and mental health. Results provided experimental research in which married couples trained to increase warm touch evidenced higher levels of salivary oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone that helps lower blood pressure and the stress hormone cortisol, promoting a more relaxed and restful sleep.

Grief

The loss of a loved one can be distressing, and apart from the emotional strain of the loss, there are profound lifestyle changes, such as sleep. For example, sleeping alone may trigger sad emotions, and without enough oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone,” sleep comes hard.

What Are Some Ways to Sleep Alone Peacefully

What to do if you can’t sleep? Sleeping alone or with someone is essential to get a good night’s sleep because insufficient sleep can lead to specific health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. So to avoid any unfortunate happenings, follow these tips on how to sleep by yourself.

Sleep When You Can

If sleeping by yourself is hard, then no need to force yourself. According to Chris Airey, a London-based internal medicine physician, forcing yourself to sleep may activate the conscious mind, which is precisely the opposite of what you want when settling in for the night. 

Sleep is not a state anyone can think themselves into; in fact, thinking about sleep can make you more anxious, keeping you awake. So, sleep whenever you can and listen to your body instead of forcing it.

Be Kind to Yourself

Any loss can make sleeping alone difficult; it may lead to a significant amount of sleep loss. However, be kind to yourself instead of getting upset and stressing over sleep loss. Even if your mind refuses to fall asleep, simply rest your body in bed. 

Reach Out for Help

Grief is often followed by intense sadness, anger, anxiety, emotional numbness, sleep disruption, and difficulty in engaging in social or other activities. And whether it is made up of family members, friends, chosen family, or professional therapists, you should have a network of people you know you can reach out to during these challenging times. 

However, focus your time and energy on helping yourself feel better. Also, try not to talk yourself into thinking that you are alone, the pain of loss can feel overwhelming, but support is available.

Switch up Your Sleep Position

If you are into snuggling with your partner, going to bed alone can feel empty and uncomfortable. Consider changing your sleeping position; for example, if you are used to spooning and lying on your side, try laying on your back instead. Or fill the void in bed with a stack of pillows. This might help make the absence less overwhelming.

Create a New Routine

As mentioned before, you can not force yourself into sleep, so instead of dreading falling asleep at night, create a new nighttime routine. Consider developing new rituals in your daily routine, like doing something as a form of self-care.

Try some deep breathing, meditating, some relaxing yoga, or even just an episode of one of your favourite shows that might be relaxing and can add some good vibes to your nightly routine.

Use a Sound Machine

Grief can make you feel overwhelmed, and silence is no exception. Perhaps your partner used to snore, which can overwhelm the silence, so how to sleep by yourself?

You can invest in a white sound machine to fill in the silence or use it via your smartphone by installing an app among various available options. The white sound machine helps block out routine household sounds with something else to listen to as you drift off to sleep.

Get a Weighted Blanket

Weighted blankets are miracle blankets with exceptional effects. Weighted blankets are soft, warm, and cosy, as well as comforting and beneficial to your health. 

When you are sleeping by yourself, all you have to do is get a weighted blanket; it helps provide a sensation of deep pressure, simulating the feeling like a long tight hug. Weighted blankets are also used for those with anxiety. 

Get a Pet

Pets are great comfort companions and earned a well-deserving title of ‘great companions for life.’ They are a great source of comfort and relaxation; their mere presence can help individuals battle depression and anxiety. And if you already own a pet, try letting them up on the bed for a while; some of them can make for fantastic snuggle buddies and provide much-needed joy into your life.

The aforementioned tips were on ‘how to sleep alone for adults. Now let’s get on to the next question, which is, ‘how do I teach my child to sleep alone?

How Do I Teach My Child to Sleep Alone

Why can’t children get into the habit of sleeping alone? Frequently children join their parents in the middle of the night due to fear. Following are a few tips for encouraging your child to sleep independently.

Eliminate Distractions

Televisions, computers, and other electronic devices can distract significantly and create an environment conducive to sleep. And a study reports a connection between increased technology use at bedtime with decreased sleep quantity and quality. Although technology benefits us, excess usage can retaliate on health and well-being.

Establish a Bedtime Routine for Your Kid

Bedtime routines such as taking a warm bath, putting on PJs, brushing their teeth, and reading good-night stories, help get children into a regular habit. Furthermore, a bedtime routine for children can make them feel more secure. Dr. George Kitsaras says, “bedtime routines are important activities and have valuable implications on children’s well-being, development, and health.”

Offer Support, When Necessary

It’s good to offer your child lots of cuddles and love; however, if you want to teach your child how to sleep alone, avoid returning to your child’s room if they call out to you. Support only when necessary; for the rest, allow your child to sort out how to get to sleep.

Remember you are in the process of helping your child learn to fall asleep alone. So if you are constantly appearing at their bedside or climbing into bed with them, the child will remember and probably expect the same the next night.

Minimise Your Presence

Avoid appearing at your child’s bedside or climbing into the bed with them. This may counterattack your efforts. Instead, you can wean your child off your support by waiting progressively for longer periods before checking on them. And while checking on them, keep your presence short, only a minute or two long.

Establish a Sense of Security

Fear is the most common reason children aren’t accustomed to sleeping alone. Besides their parents, children might need another comforting presence like a pet, a stuffed toy, or even a comforting blanket. And once they start feeling secure, your child can suck up some courage and sleep alone.

Take It Slow

Habits don’t build up overnight, so take it slow when building a habit. If you usually tuck your child in bed and stay beside them while lulling them to sleep, move to a chair. Let the change be inconspicuous, and if the child protests, assure them gently yet firmly that it will be fine.

Each night, slowly move away from your child and take an excuse for bathroom breaks or something else. This may help your child get used to short absences, and eventually, they might fall asleep by the time you return.

Be Consistent

According to a 2009 European Journal of Social Psychology study, forming a habit takes 18 to 254 days. Therefore, be progressively consistent with the training. Although training your child to sleep alone might be challenging, with patience, firmness, and consistency, you might be successful.

Reward Good Behaviour

Children are into rewarding activities. So pin a reward to the task that you want your child to do, like going to bed alone. And when the task is done, and your child trudges out of their bed the following day, reward them for being brave. Make them their favourite breakfast or promise them some treat. 

Give Your Child Attention During the Day

Giving your child attention shows them they’re valued, and a positive interaction between yourself and your child portrays a healthy self-image. Positive attention also helps your child feel safe and secure. After all, the first thing when encouraging a child to sleep alone is to make them feel secure.

Final Words

Not everyone is accustomed to sleeping alone, and there are several reasons why going to bed alone is hard. People have trouble falling asleep because of fear, habit, and hormones.
However, sleeping alone or with someone, it is important to get a good night’s sleep, or it may cause sleep loss. And insufficient sleep can lead to specific health conditions, so try out the aforementioned tips for sleeping by yourself. Also, encourage your child to sleep independently.

FAQs:

Why is it so hard for me to sleep alone?

 Somniphobia or sleep anxiety is characterised by discomfort while sleeping alone or a generalised fear of dozing off. People who experience somniphobia describe it as intense worry that prevents them from falling asleep, even when exhausted.

How do I learn to sleep alone?

The best way to learn to sleep alone is by affirming statements like “Now I am ready to sleep alone,” “I am brave enough to sleep alone,” etc.

Is sleeping alone healthy?

A recent study reveals a connection between sleeping together, mental wellness, and bed sharing. According to the study, adults who share a bed with a spouse or partner sleep better than those who do not.

Is it OK to sleep with someone?

The unwritten rule of modern dating is that you are free to date and sleep with other people until you both openly agree to be exclusive. There is a rigorous don’t-ask, don’t-tell rule in place.

Why do some people like to sleep alone?

Most people sleep apart because it is the only way they can get any sleep, even though some may be doing it out of a need for emotional or physical distance brought on by the end of a relationship. Naturally, snoring is the leading cause of people sleeping apart.


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Written by

Payal Singh
Content Writer
Bachelor's in English Literature and Health Sciences Previously wrote blog articles for various Doctors for their websites Familiarity with various content management systems and SEO best practices

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