If you’re anything like me, you are no stranger to lying awake after everyone else is your house is fast asleep. It takes me forever to fall asleep sometimes. Most of the time, there’s no real cause. My brain just doesn’t go from asleep to awake in a reasonable amount of time some nights.
My husband is one of those annoying people who never loses a minute of sleep. He can shut his mind off and drift off to dreamland without a bit of preparation. I’ve asked him how he does it, but he doesn’t know. He just lays down and falls asleep.
Must be nice.
All too often, I find myself lying awake, plotting his demise listening to him snore, wondering why the hell I’m still awake when I’m So. Freaking. Tired.
Over the years, I’ve come up with a trick or two to help me nod off quicker, but I’m always up for more ideas. Sleep is such a precious commodity for a mom of three. I’ll take all the help I can get!
Reddit user LondonDude123 came to r/AskReddit to pose the question many of us have spent our entire lives asking:
Since my husband has been unable to explain how he acquired this ability, I obviously had to check out the responses.
Of course, plenty of votes rolled in for marijuana and alcohol, but if that’s not your jam, never fear. Here are some substance-free suggestions on how to lay down and go right to sleep without tossing and turning for an hour first.
Clear your mind by visualizing a peaceful place.
Using techniques learned in a yoga class, one Redditor intentionally relaxes their body, then imagines themselves floating slowly down a river, releasing stray thoughts to float away.
“Imagine yourself walking out to the middle of the river. Let yourself get lost in the flow around you. Try to imagine any stray thoughts as floating to you on the river. As you think of things, set them in the water and watch them float away,” suggests user a_herd_of_elephants.
Put yourself in a movie.
If the river isn’t for you, visualization might still work. How about putting yourself in your favorite movie and imagining the outcome? This person mentally walks through the gates of Hogwarts and ends up fast asleep.
Create a world you can only visit when you’re falling asleep.
Maybe a fantasy world of your own creation is what you need. “I have created an imaginary world in my head that I only visit when I’m in bed and going to sleep, “ says TonerLowDown. “My mind associates those places and characters and narratives with sleep.”
This idea resonated with hundreds of people.
Have no inner monologue?!
In addition to being physically tired from exercise or activity during the day, this person suggested that the key to sleep is not having an inner monologue. This one is not for me, as my inner monologue is actually a full production with multiple acts, fully developed characters, a full orchestra and a playbill. Turning it off is not an option for me, but if you can do it, knock yourself out. You’ll be sleeping in no time.
Try melatonin and exercise in addition to meditation techniques.
If you’re looking for practical steps, you might like this person’s plan. In addition to guided meditation like the river or the movie, one user suggests incorporating exercise into your day, hitting the pillow around the same time every night, taking melatonin, and keeping your room nice and cool.
“None of this stuff works right away,” says Squeaksmcgueaks. “But even one can make a huge difference with some commitment, so just give it a bit of time.”
Create a bedtime routine and put away screens.
Over and over, people chanted this fast-to-fall-asleep mantra: DITCH THE SCREENS. Around an hour before bed, turn off all of your devices. Spend your time doing literally anything else. Throw in a load of laundry. Read an actual book. Chat with your spouse. Do a face mask. Whatever routine you choose, eliminate the screen time and see if it helps.
Don’t use the bed for anything but sex and sleeping.
According to this person, the best way to fall asleep fast is to make sure your brain knows your bed is only for two things: sex and sleep. Don’t work in bed. Don’t pay your bills from your bed, watch movies in bed, or even read. All you should do in bed is get busy and go to sleep.
Become a parent!
This wise man swoops in with the most foolproof suggestion of all: Have a kid or two. You might just find that you’re exhausted enough to pass right out the moment you find yourself vaguely horizontal.
Talk to your doctor.
The last tip might be the most important tip of all. If getting enough rest is a consistent problem for you, have a chat with your physician. Sleep is such an important part of your health, and there might be help available for you.
If you are having consistent trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, you might have a sleep disorder. If your worried thoughts are keeping you from sleeping, you might have an anxiety disorder. Your doctor can help you manage those conditions. For some people, meditation isn’t quite enough, and there’s no shame in seeking help to balance things back out and get your body the sleep it needs.