Personally, I’ve been struggling with sleep my entire life. And I’ve heard just about every piece of advice on sleeplessness there was.
Until I found this post on Reddit.
Now I’ve got a whole new patch of things to try! Let’s dive in, shall we?
1. Go do something else
My doctor once told me if you can’t sleep and you’ve been trying for an hour get up and do something else then go back to bed.
2. Count the time
Count the exact amount of time I have left until I have to get up. Goes like this:
“OK, its 3:29 am. I have to get up at 7. If I fall asleep in the next 5 minutes I can get 3 hours and 26 minutes of sleep!”
I don’t recommend it
I like to write stories, so I imagine the whole thing in my head- I’ve been doing so since I was 6.
It’s the same story too! It just evolves with new characters, places etc.
4. Deep breathing
Take a deep breath, hold it for about 5-8 seconds, then slowly let it out.
As I breath out, I relax all of my muscles and feel my body sink into my bed. I do this 3-5 times to fully relax. If that does not work, the eventually, I will get up and watch tv for a bit till I am extremely tired.
5. Count backwards
I count backwards from 300 by threes. 300, 297, 294… It helps occupy your mind just enough to keep your thoughts from wandering, but it’s mundane enough to not make you more awake.
I’ve been using this trick for years and I’ve only reached the end a couple of times. It also helps to start with a different number every now and then so you don’t get too used to the sequence.
6. Do a mental walk-through
I mentally walk through something that is calming. In my case, that is flying a plane.
In my mind, I walk out to the plane, carrying my flight bag. As I get to the plane, I set down my flight bag, unlock the door, climb up, put the key on the dash, enable the battery, set the basic lights, and then climb down and start the walk-around.
After that, I get my kneeboard out, put the flight bag in the back, climb back up, turn off the lights, and start the preflight checklist. After that, I open the window, shout, “CLEAR!”, and start the engine. Then, I request permission to taxi to the runway, taxi over to run-up, check the engines, taxi in line, request takeoff clearance, and head into the skies.
Much of this is theoretical, as I rarely make it through the entire preflight checklist. Flying a plane is the most calming thing I know.
7. Imagine a scenario
I try to imagine myself in a scenario but with like super specific rules to keep myself thinking I mostly think of a super power I’d want and then give it a nerf or weakness and try to work around it.
I also think whether it would be used for combative purposes or if I’d just have a power to go with my everyday life. This usually keeps me busy till I fall asleep.
8. Let your brain wander
During the day I have to try hard to keep my brain from thinking about random things and getting wildly off topic. But at night, I just stop trying to control my train of thought and eventually I fall asleep. Its kinda like removing a barrier and letting myself finally relax.
Allowing my brain to wander like that is very relaxing. But if I do it during the day, it usually makes things crazy and hectic for a minute or two while I focus on getting my train of thought back on topic.
Sometimes I catch myself starting random conversations because I already rationalized them in my head and I always find it so funny
9. Get cold
Take off all the covers and then I eventually get cold.
Once I get under the warm sheets again it feels really nice and it makes me sleepy.
That mixed with a good sleeping position is key.
10. Do some stargazing
I go outside and stargaze a bit, maybe take a couple (edit: Melatonin not melanin oops!) gummies or browse reddit every so often/think about the work i’m procrastinating on.
11. Fix on a point
I pick an object in my room, like the lamp or door handle, and stare really intensely at it while consciously making sure my eyes are fully open.
After a few minutes, it becomes impossible to keep my eyes open and I fall asleep
12. The usual routine
Nothing effective. Pick up and put down my phone every 5 minutes.
Check the time, count the amount of sleep I’ll actually get if I fall asleep “now”, scroll useless social media, think about how tired I’ll be tomorrow. Roll around, flip pillows, pee every hour.
13. The 4-7-8 breathing method
I use the 4-7-8 breathing method, normally gets me to sleep after like a few minutes
Just breath in through the mouth for 4 seconds
Hold for 7 Seconds
Breath out through the nose for 8 seconds
14. Read the Economist
That magazine is basically printed Valium.
Just find an article about monetary policy in Moldova and see how long you can stay awake.
15. The sleep aid song
I’m in the process of conditioning myself to fall asleep to a specific soothing, “sleep aid” song.
I went through a million of them to pick one and every time I know I can fall asleep, I put it on. I’m starting to fall asleep faster and faster, although sometimes I have to start the song over if my mind was too busy when I first started, but once it calms down more, starting over helps me get back into the zen space.
I could give most of those a try!
What about you? Do you have any sleep tips?
Let us know what they are in the comments.