How Do You Help Yourself Fall Asleep?

How Do You Help Yourself Fall Asleep?

When you're having a hard time falling asleep, many of us just toss, turn and whine about it. There are better ways to fall asleep fast though, so we want to hear your tricks.

Photo by Lee Nachtigal

Chances are, even if you don't suffer from insomnia, you still have plenty of sleepless nights throughout the year. So, we want to hear it, what do you do to help yourself fall asleep? Tell us in the comments.


    Hmm, is this a family friendly site?

      Yep, guaranteed to help!

    My partner and I put a VOD of DOTA 2 on, literally knocks us out (and we love dota), must be something about listening to the casters voices.
    After an hour the VOD ends and we sleep straight through.
    This is after years of having trouble sleeping.

    Music. But instrumental only - read a theory that the parts of the brain used for processing speech are triggered even by thinking of / listening to words, and when that part of the brain is active it keeps the rest of your brain awake to a higher degree.
    If you can't play the music out loud due to significant other, etc, then SleepPhones are awesome.

    I do a combination of things;
    1) Breathwork - try to develop a rhythm of slow, steady breathing.
    2) Stillness - find a comfortable position and try to hold it as long as possible.
    3) Lucid dream preparation - start imagining a scenario in which to develop a lucid dream. Start with pleasant environments and activities. Try to focus on the details in the environment, the physical activity itself.
    4) Music - have some music on and try to follow the sound, pick out the instruments and various melodies within the song.
    5) If all else fails, take a big bong hit.

      #4 is one of my tricks - I have a Sonos playlist of slow movements from Mozart piano concerti that work well for this.

      Another one, which is related to your 1)-3) is I pretend I'm slowly paddling a canoe across a still dark sea into darkness.

    I suffer from insomnia and recently I decided to do as I did back when I was stargazing and falling asleep in my house roof, put on my headphones and listen to music I like, and state at the roof until the album is over remove my headphones and some minutes later I wake up in the morning.

    up until year 8 or 9 i always used to take a long time to get to sleep. so then when i had enough, for a week or two i used to close my eyes, and tell myself (not verbally) to go to sleep coz its bed time and i need the rest. then from then on, it take 5 minutes (if that) to get to sleep.

    For me, it is very difficult for to rest when I've got thoughts about work/play/other random crap racing through my mind. What I do while lying in bed is to focus on a mental image of stopping that activity that's distracting me.

    For example, if it's gaming related, I'll focus on a image of myself in my gaming room, then slowly change the image to stop the game, turn off the console, pack away, lock the cupboard, then walk out the gaming room. This is usually enough to calm me down, and to prevent myself from thinking back to games, I'll form another image of myself sitting under a huge tree, and count the fruits as they fall down. Usually up to 30ish fruits is enough to hypnotise me.

    Dwarf Fortress Let's-Play videos on Youtube.

    Love the game, love the LPs... but they're guaranteed to knock me out.

    Just listen to your morning alarm sound and will fall a sleep momentarily

    Think about nothing. Block all the thoughts out of your head. It can be quite difficult at first as you start thinking about your thinking about nothing. You then get thoughts of, am I asleep yet which breaks you out and have to start again.
    I usually focus on thinking of the word nothing to stop all the other thoughts, then focus on removing that thought of nothing. I can be asleep in a few minutes.

    Stretching/tensing muscles works well for me. You basically just tense your whole body, hold it for a few moments, and then relax. Repeat it a few times, and releasing the muscle tension becomes such a relief that you just naturally drop off.

    The 4-7-8 breathing technique is good too; inhale for 4 seconds, hold it for 7 seconds, and then exhale slowly for 8 seconds.

    I'm out in two minutes and sleep through. No problem!

    The thing that has helped me most is removing the TV from my room and no longer snacking in bed while watching movies (or, lets be honest, late night infomercials as background noise).

    Made this change a few years ago, I used to have huge issues going to sleep (up to an hour trying, often much longer) and also wake up several times each night. Now I can fall asleep in 5-10minutes and only wake up maybe once. I also bought Blockout blinds which hugely helped by reducing light in the room.

    I've also become quite good at getting to the stage of Hypnogagic Hallucination quickly, a very dark room helps to shut off visual processing faster and this is usually about the last thing I remember before my hearing starts to shut off and I fall asleep.

    Smoking a few bowls never hurts either, nor does a nice big swig of some good hard liquor ;)

    Last edited 06/02/15 1:20 pm

    A cup of chamomile tea about 30 minutes before bedtime.

    Falling asleep should take time, but our modern lives see it as wasted time.
    Anywhere between 10& 25 minutes is normal. Taking less than 5 minutes means your are in sleep debt & should probably see a doctor.
    Personally, I can fall asleep in under 5 minutes, but that's because I have Narcolepsy & idiopathic hypersomnia.

    I ditched my laptop for a desktop, so I was no longer lying in bed on the computer all day long. Now I fall asleep in 10 minutes.

    Darkness is important. If you can't block most light from your bedroom, use the molded eye masks (they look like "eye-bras"!)

    Have a thought that you only focus on when going to sleep. Counting sheep, some pleasant activity, whatever works for you. As other thoughts intrude, don't fight them, just re-focus on the sleepy thoughts.

    I read life hacker. It doesn't help me sleep... But at least I'm not wasting time.

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