Self Love

Read this if you can’t fall asleep

There’s nothing more frustrating than to be tired if you can’t fall sleep. You toss and turn, but you can’t find asleep. Then you need to learn this about your sleep.

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Ahh the no sleep dance. Tossing and turning, trying just about every position under the sun, arms and legs flailing – kicking your partner and pets off the bed until you are lying there alone in the middle, twisted up in all the sheets. There is almost nothing as frustrating as being so tired if you can’t fall asleep. Especially when you know the next day is jam-packed. 

I’ve had moments in my life where I’ve become so stressed about this little routine, that it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. As soon as my head touched the pillow, I was hyper awake…even though moments before I’d been so tired that I could have slept standing up straight. But I couldn’t fall asleep, no matter how tired I was. Over a period of months, this unhealthy pattern cost me hours of deeply needed sleep and nearly destroyed any hopes I had for achieving internal peace.

Sleep is not something to take lightly. It’s a deep physical need. Sleep deprivation is a torture method reserved for the most dire of situations. Don’t let it continue to steal your health. 

Perhaps you’re like me: a kind, centered and patient being… when well-rested. But this otherwise quite civilized being can become an uncontrollable monster when I’ve had a streak of no sleep. Things that I could normally let pass become a big deal, and my emotions heighted. With every hour of sleep that is lost, an equal amount of your patience will slip away.

Tired – literally- of my stress-induced sleeplessness, I finally confronted it and educated myself on everything sleep related. I even hired a sleep coach (YES, it’s a thing). I needed to be able to fall asleep again, soon.

What I learned was this: 

Sufficient sleep is our first and foremost peacemaker, internally and externally. 

In the steps below, I’ve summarized my best tips to get your sleep back on track. This comes from the wisdom of my sleep coach and has worked wonders throughout the years for me.

Here we go:

1. The amount of sleep we need varies, so don’t compare yourself. That only adds to your stress if you already can’t fall asleep!

The expert’s opinions on how much sleep we need varies greatly from person to person. Some individuals need as much as 9 hours of sleep, while others can thrive on just 6. Seasons and stages of life have their influence as well (I still don’t know how I handled the first months of being a mom, my little baby loved to get up every hour on the hour… but we survived it together!)

2. You might need less sleep in summer than in winter. 

When you think of the daily sunlight hours this begins to make sense. Generally our sleep patterns follow the sun. In general, you’re good with something between 7-8 hours/ night but that’s only an average. 

3. Less than 6 hours is the danger zone if you can’t fall asleep easily.

Research clearly shows that anything less than 6 hours a night will take a huge toll on your mental, emotional and physical health over time. To find your optimal sleep amount per night you can try out different sleep lengths – for one week 6 hours each night, the following week 7 hours and the following week after that 8 hours. Depending on how much time and effort you’d like to invest in this experiment you can try 6, 7, 8, 9 up to 10 hours sleep each night. If you want a shorter experiment you’re good to go with 6, 7 and 8 hours. 

Check-in with yourself and observe in which week you felt best; the most recharged with this little sparkle in your eye in the morning that’s excited about the new day to come. That’s exactly the amount of sleep that works best for you. 

4. It’s OK to sleep more when you’re doing inner work.

There might be times in your life where you need more sleep than usual and this is actually a good thing. There are moments when we are working through our blocks, upgrading our system, and growing through a lot of deep inner healing. These are moments when you are more than entitled to an hour or two of extra sleep. Rest when you feel tired, this is perfectly acceptable. Whenever you can accommodate your increased need of sleep, indulge in this self-care practice and enjoy it wholeheartedly. Your body needs the additional sleep to do repair work and attune your cells to the newly unlocked higher frequency. 

I hope these little tips can lessen the grip that your sleep anxiety has over you. Remember to listen to your body and be gentle with yourself. If you like to learn deeper insights about sleep, I recommend this article that explains more about sleep and our human brains.

Still need a little help sleeping? Check out this post for my best nightly wind-down tips.

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As a recovered people-pleaser, I know how frustrated you feel when you care for everyone else but yourself. I've learned to set healthy boundaries and prioritize myself to create the life I want to live (not one where I comply with other people's guidelines). I'll show you exactly how to build YOUR life - the way you want to live it (and yes, boundaries play a huge role in that!) Start living unapologetically and totally YOU.

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