After tossing around your bed for what seems like an hour, and you still can’t sleep, what should you do?
This happens so frequently to so many of us, but most of the time, we end up endlessly scrolling through our phones. So, instead of waiting around for the time to pass, we’ve put together a list of things that you can do when you’re bored at night.
Table of Contents
- Build something
- Try something new
- Experiment in the kitchen
- Online classes
- Journaling can take you places
- Cleaning can augment calmness
- Sleep meditation videos can help you sleep
- Do something that will not activate your brain and body too much
- Learn a new language
- Learn something new
- Boredom should invite personal development
- Create a list of relaxing things
- Read a book
- Walking has profound benefits for your mind, your mood, and your body
- Learning is an excellent way to spend your time away
- Cooking has become a real solace for me
- Time for some cleaning
- Think, pause and reflect on your life
- Tackle projects that you have been procrastinating
- Get creative
- Develop creative ideas
HR Manager, ResumeLab
We’ve all been there and done that. Feeling restless, bored, and full of ennui. So what to do. Well, you can:
Think LEGOs, model airplanes, or paint ing small figurines, etc. It’s something you should be passionate about (or at least always wanted to try). As long as you find this enjoyable you’ll get lost in it quickly and before you know it, it’ll be bedtime.
Try something new
Music comes to mind. Maybe a new genre you’ve never heard before. Likewise with reading. Do you mostly catch yourself reading non-fiction, well challenge yourself with poetry instead. You never know, you just might find out interests you’ve never known you’ve had.
Experiment in the kitchen
It doesn’t have to be complicated either. It could be cocktail-making, new tea flavors, or an exotic cuisine altogether. Give it a whirl, and see what your senses and palate have to say about that!
Choose something you’ve always wanted to learn about more. This could be as ubiquitous as psychology or as unique as hurricanes and oceanography. Between Coursera, edX, and tons of other resources the world of knowledge is truly at your fingertips, so get to studyin’!
Yes, I know that you’ve heard it before, but there’s a reason why it’s such a popular piece of advice. Similarly to reading, you can choose which way you want to take your writing. From goal setting and daily review to fiction and verse writing.
There are power and magic to putting words down on paper (vs. just swirling them back and forth within your mind). Try it, you might be pleasantly surprised.
Relationship Expert, The Absolute Dater
It’s night time, and you have been tossing positions for an hour now, but you just can’t sleep. This happens to so many of us on a daily basis. You definitely don’t want to keep lying on the bed, waiting for sleep.
So, instead, make use of these spare hours for some productive activities. My best picks that I personally do are Journaling, Cleaning, and Watching meditation videos.
Journaling can take you places
When you are bored at night, pick up a pen and paper and start to write. It can be about anything – your experience in the day, your future goals, or even a random incident.
Writing a few pages can not only heal you but also help you express deeply hidden emotions. And of course, the creativity that sparks through your veins via journaling is insane.
Cleaning can augment calmness
You can also go on a cleanliness spree when you have a few hours to spare at night. Clean your room, your wardrobe, or any place else that has been messy for a long time.
Cleanliness and organized spaces not only give a different kind of calmness but also have a lot of health benefits.
Sleep meditation videos can help you sleep
Sleep Meditation videos can help you relax when you are struggling to sleep at night. Most of these videos are ASMR videos, that is, Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. This is a tingling calming sensation triggered by different kinds of voices or sounds.
You will find a lot of these videos on YouTube, pick the one that makes you feel most calm and let it play on your pillow side. In no time, you will find yourself in a deep sleep.
Founder, Call Outdoors
I can recall (to the day) when I developed insomnia. The COVID-19 pandemic had just become global news and the uncertainty of what shape the world would be left in once the pandemic had gone into full swing was still very much in the air.
This not only left me with bags under my eyes and perpetual fatigue during the day, but also with a lot of time on my hands (and boredom as a result).
Once I had resigned myself to the fact that sleep had gone out of the window before the early hours of the morning, I figured I’d take a look at adding a few hobbies to my resume – I refused to be tired and bored!
I started off by looking at the habits of the men and women who have inspired me most. Prolific thinkers, writers, philosophers, politicians and businesspeople. I found that many of them live/d on very little sleep too.
I’ve drawn great inspiration from insomniacs like Benjamin Franklin, who famously said, “There will be sleeping enough in the grave” and Margaret Thatcher who was quoted as saying, “Sleep is for wimps”. There are numerous others throughout history who achieved many great things after “bedtime”.
So, how do you combat boredom at night? For me, I’ve found great pleasure in a mix of three options:
I’ve found that both boredom and insomnia (to a degree) can be curtailed by diving head first into work. Be it my nine-to-five or pet projects that I would not otherwise have time for during waking hours, I find great joy in knowing I have accomplished more than the ‘ordinary’ quantity of work.
It still amazes me, the immense wealth of knowledge available to us today. I recall my disdain for learning in school. I used to spend a school day staring out the window, imagining my next camping or fishing trip. Since then, I’ve come to learn that upskilling yourself is something that you never finish doing.
I’ve signed up for courses on Udemy, watch YouTube videos on a number of subjects that interest me, and have read more books in the last seven months than I have in my life before this. I also keep a file of notes and resources, to refer back to, should I ever have the need to.
In a fast-paced world, it is near impossible to take time out for yourself and the things that you enjoy. The later hours of the day are a great time to take a long bath, exercise, or even fire up the Playstation. I have learned to afford at least an hour of “me time” in the evenings, where I escape the constant demands of the world.
I’ve learned that we have been taught to “live” during the day and sleep at night, but that you get an opportunity to connect with yourself and the things that you love at night, which in turn creates a second life that you can live away from “work you”.
If you’re up at night and wondering what to do with your time, I’d recommend asking yourself what you lack in your life – be it a better education or just a nice long bath.
Community Manager, LiveCareer
Do something that will not activate your brain and body too much
If you can’t sleep but hope to still come back to bed that night, my advice is to do something that will not activate your brain and body too much. I avoid things like solving Sudoku, watching a nerve-wracking series, or exercising.
What I like doing is taking out my crayons and coloring one of my coloring books. It’s entertaining and relaxing, but at the same time, it doesn’t stimulate my mind too much.
Also, if you want to sharpen your art skills, many adult coloring tutorial videos are available online. You can even find specific pages from your coloring book and learn from the experts how to color them using different techniques, colors, and tools.
This activity was initially to kill some of my sleepless hours but turned into a hobby that I practice in my free time.
Entrepreneur and Philanthropist
Being bored at night is something that has affected almost all of us at some point. While many people will simply turn on their favorite Netflix series or watch their favorite YouTube channel, there are more worthwhile ways to make use of that time.
Learn a new language
You could organize your closet or clean your bathroom, but who wants to do that late at night when you could be learning a new language. Not only does knowing a second language dramatically improve your brain power, it has the potential to open you up to a whole new part of the world..
On top of that, it is a great way to wind down at the end of the day and still feel productive. As a result of the large number of language courses available for download on your smartphone, it is easy to lay in bed or sit on the couch and learn an entirely new way of communicating.
Whether you love the beauty of Italy or are interested in doing business in Germany, studying your favorite language when you are bored at night, even for just 20 minutes, will get you emerged in a new culture and make you feel a bit more worldly.
Outreach Manager, Zety
Learn something new
There’s something to what Einstein said, “Once you stop learning, you start dying.” That’s why intelligent people never get bored.
It doesn’t have to be anything big — you don’t need to sweat to breakdance or bake a seven-layer cake. You can watch a documentary, read someone’s inspiring biography, learn how to bake simple muffins, or solve a crossword.
Do something that will stimulate your brain cells and help you improve your memory. Whatever you learn cannot be taken away from you.
Remember, though, to do it for yourself. Flipping through work files or reading industry news might now be the best form of detaching from work in the evenings.
Founder, A Speciale Life
Boredom should invite personal development
When boredom strikes in the evening, many people rely on television or social media to keep their attention. However, there are far better ways to spend those hours than mindless TV or Facebook scrolling.
Instead, boredom should invite personal development. This will allow individuals to move past boring activities and into something productive for the long term.
What exactly is personal development? Simply put, personal development is to work on oneself for a better future. This might mean understanding personal strengths and weaknesses, how to improve or utilize them, and creating clear paths to realize goals. Personal development can be different for everyone.
One individual might find educating themselves on the stock market a great way to improve their lifestyle. For someone that works or has goals in this industry, learning about this topic can definitely fall under personal development.
However, if the individual has no plans of interacting with the stock market, this might not be the best use of time.
A person that truly wants to improve and reach goals needs to understand what they want out of their life. Identifying these desires can help individuals to use their time properly for personal development.
How, then, does personal development work?
It can be achieved through a number of mediums – books, articles, TED talks, self-reflection, and more. Self-help books can be eye-opening. Taking an online class might be another option for bettering oneself.
Practicing good habits, speaking in front of the mirror, or journaling can also help to improve a person. Next time boredom strikes, take the time for some self-improvement. You may be surprised to find how invested you become in making yourself better.
Author | Master Mindset Coach | International Speaker
My first question would be is this boredom a once in a while occurrence or is it habitual? If it is a once in a while occurrence, I would say it could be helpful to first decide if the mode your brain is in is lazy/relaxation mode or productivity mode.
Create a list of relaxing things
If your brain is in relaxation mode, then it could be very beneficial during the day to create a list of things that are relaxing to you. Do you like taking night walks? Listen to a guided meditation or soothing music? Have some absolute silence time to yourself from the busy day? Just to name a few examples of what has worked for many others.
If your brain is in productivity mode, the same system could apply by writing a list of things you could do when later in the night you are up bored!
Some things that have worked for others are working out to tire yourself out before bed, a small project that doesn’t take much brainpower or time to finish, or maybe even straightening up your bedroom and going to sleep in a tidy, clean room for the night.
If staying up bored at night is more of a habit then something deeper may be at play. Could it be a metaphor for your life? Maybe you could use some excitement like a new hobby, activity, or my favorite personal development.
Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach |Founder, RawFoodMealPlanner.com
Read a book
When bored at night, I read a book helping me progress on my spiritual journey and on the Kindle these days is Healing Without Medicine: From Pioneers to Modern Practice, by Albert Amao, Ph.D.
The great learning from this book is that the key to any healing is a firm desire to regain one’s health. I work with folks who are on the path to healing themselves of type 2 diabetes and releasing excess fat.
I notice some people are not ready or willing for change to happen. They don’t believe it’s possible for them or they hold close the false comfort of unhealthy foods.
True comfort comes from connection with our Creator. Being reminded gives me peace at night and pleasant dreams. I read and say a prayer for all those who I am in contact with each day that they find healing and happiness.
TEDx Speaker | Co-founder, 99 Walks
Walking has profound benefits for your mind, your mood, and your body
For your body, a regular walking practice has been shown to reduce your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, dementia and several types of cancer. In fact, walking is so powerful that one study has shown that a daily walking practice can add up to seven years to your life.
For your mood, a regular walking practice has been shown to improve your mood, reduce stress, reduce cortisol response and lower your risk of depression. In fact, walking is so powerful that one study has shown that a walk can reduce your risk of depression by 30%.
For your mind, walking has been shown to improve memory, increase focus, and fuel creativity. In fact, walking is so powerful that one study has shown that a walk can boost memory by up to 60%.
CEO and Security Evangelist, VPN Online Multimedia, Inc.
Learning is an excellent way to spend your time away
I’m a busybody, and I’m just unable to sit and stay in one place without doing anything. That is why I have a list of new skills I want to learn. My plan is varied and eclectic. From painting to coding, and even includes learning a new language.
Learning for me is continuous. You’re never too old to learn something new. I always have the materials hidden in a closet, and when the time comes when I’m bored and have nothing to do, I open the closet and take out the items needed for my next learning adventure.
When I was younger, I had all the time in the world. I learned how to cook, create a website, draw, and many more. The last time I took something out of my hiding place was years ago. Back then, I tried my hands on creating a balance sheet for my newly formed business.
Be productive and find new things to learn about. Eventually, you’ll find a time to just stay still and work on your development. It would be best if you have a list already prepared for the occasion.
Kat Hawley Cook
Co-founder, Market My Museum
As a young entrepreneur, you’re always working to keep your baby business afloat. However, when I do catch an evening off and am feeling those buzzy, bored feelings, I cook!
Cooking has become a real solace for me
It’s the perfect balance of rest and accomplishment. I love having created something complex and useful. I’ve been purchasing new cooking supplies and cookbooks in order to empower myself to try new recipes.
It really is an art form. It has made me want to invite people over for dinner more because there is nothing more satisfying than creating a beautiful, delicious plate and sharing it with a friend or family member.
This has given me more opportunities to interact with those I love when I normally wouldn’t. It’s been a wonderful little hobby and does a great job of kicking those boring evening feelings.
Time for some cleaning
When I’m bored at night, I clean the spots in my house that I don’t have time to clean during the day. For instance, my kitchen floors and counters are part of my regular daytime cleaning routine, but I usually don’t have time to clean under the sink or above the cabinet. Plus, most people don’t see those spaces, so they’re not a priority on my cleaning list.
When I find myself awake at night with nothing to do, though, I throw on some headphones and get to work. That’s the perfect time to do it because the kids are asleep and I can work without interruption.
Here are a few other spots that I usually end up cleaning at night:
Behind the fridge, stove, and washing machine: The spaces behind large appliances are always a nightmare. Dirt, grime, and dust bunnies just seem to flock there.
I can never bring myself to clean behind the fridge, stove, or washing machine during the day because there are always kids running through the house, so I usually save this one for nighttime.
Inside the dishwasher, oven, and microwave: Some appliances get really gross on the inside, too. But it’s hard to find time to clean them because they’re almost always in use.
I usually wait until everyone is asleep to clean my appliance interiors. That way, I can give them a thorough scrub without being interrupted by someone asking if they can use it.
Ceiling fans: I’m always shocked by how much dust accumulates on the top of ceiling fans. It’s very easy to clean, but I always forget to look up there when I’m cleaning during the day.
When I’m up at night and looking for things to organize, I take a wet paper towel to the fans in my living room, dining room, and kitchen. I have to shower afterward because I feel like I’m covered in dust, but it’s worth it.
Closets: No one likes organizing their closet, especially me. I just find it so hard to throw things away. For some reason, though, it’s always easiest when I’m up late at night.
If I get into an organizational mood, I have no trouble throwing things into a bag and putting them in the garage. Then, I can wake up and bring them right to the Goodwill. I always feel so accomplished.
Computer desktop: Physical spaces aren’t the only ones that need organizing — my computer desktop tends to get really disorganized, too. It only takes a few minutes, but whenever I try to do it during the day, I’m bombarded with work-related emails.
At night, I can just throw on my headphones, listen to a podcast, and organize without anyone tugging at my attention.
Founder, Camping Fun Zone
Think, pause and reflect on your life
When you are alone at night and no one is there to disturb, this is the best time to think, pause and reflect on your life. Think about your goals and your future, where you stand now and where you want to reach.
Analyze yourself in terms of your relationship with your loved ones, especially with your wife, parents, and relatives. Look for the things which could have been done better and which you did better at the spot.
One question which you must ask yourself in your free time what will be the response of people at my funeral? What things they would be saying when I die. This will keep you a humble and honest person in your whole life. The one-line answer to this is when you are free always reflect your life and think for the future.
Sharon van Donkelaar
There is no better way to end a busy stressful day than to meditate, the longer the better. Meditation is all about sitting still and letting our hyperactive minds relax for a moment. It’s usually considered to be a short-length relaxation exercise since you aren’t supposed to overdo it.
Personally, I love meditating because it helps me calm down, by allowing my mind to escape for a moment from stressful and invasive thoughts. It’s the perfect activity to do at night right before bed or when I’m simply bored and want to put my thoughts together after a long day.
Marketing Manager, Little Bundle
Tackle projects that you have been procrastinating
As a parent of a three-year-old son, I’ve endured plenty of sleepless and boring nights at home! For me, the best way to beat boredom is to tackle projects I’ve been procrastinating. And the worse the project, the better I feel later.
Here’s how this has worked for me on a few occasions. One night, I cleaned out my refrigerator and freezer, tossing anything expired and sanitizing all the surfaces – even the very bottom.
Another week, I patched and painted our front hallway, which was in desperate need of a refresh. I’ve learned how to complete and file tax returns, refinish old furniture, and bake a carrot cake.
If I think hard enough, there’s always a project requiring my attention on the horizon. Getting messy and annoying tasks out of the way may not be as relaxing as, say, meditating or reading or binge-watching Netflix. But it feels awesome to wake up in the morning and know there’s some part of my family’s life that’s a little bit better.
Laura Ann Cohn
One of the best things to do if you find you are bored at night is to get creative. For me, drawing and coloring are my go-to activity. Drawing is one of the most Zen relaxing things to do. It really takes you into a different mode of thinking which helps you relax. I draw stylistic abstract birds, but really you can draw anything.
Some people are great at drawing doodles. Some people can draw realistic things. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t draw, you can get coloring sheets that have everything drawn for you, you just color everything in.
If you don’t feel like you have good color sense, you can get a paint by numbers set. You don’t have to be a professional artist to have fun doing art.
There are all kinds of materials you can use. Some people have painted with coffee grounds. You can use chalk, markers, paints, pencils, pens, glue with glitter, and anything that has a color to it really.
The best part is that you get to use your hands to create something you can hold. And it’s nice to do things that don’t involve a keyboard or a phone for a change of pace.
Founder, Expert Photography
Develop creative ideas
When I’m bored at night, I try to use it as an opportunity to develop creative ideas. I found that boredom is often necessary for our brain to reset itself. We are living in an overstimulated world.
Instead of scrolling through my Instagram feed, I started to enjoy the boredom and let my brain idle. What I noticed is that I started to get more creative ideas about photography projects. The first time I thought about starting photography courses and e-books were during a nighttime boredom session.
Often, I have ideas about photography compositions or a blog post I would like to write. I take notes or even draw sketches so I won’t forget them before the morning comes.
When I’m bored at night, I like to deal with the in-house things I had no time for before. This includes cleaning and tidying-up the closed, rearranging kitchen utensils and throwing away unnecessary stuff, etc.
I think these activities are beneficial since we don’t look at the screen to keep us even further away from sleep. In fact, we’re getting physically tired which preps us for sleep, and we’re removing physical baggage which frees up our minds too.
Decluttering helps me feel better about myself, and as if it has the ability to free my mind from the tension I never knew I had.
If my living space is all neat and ready, I make sure to either write my journal or make plans for the next week. As well as with decluttering, planning also frees me of some mental baggage I was carrying without even knowing.