Insomnia is the worst. As anyone who’s had insomnia knows, it seems to get harder to fall asleep the harder you try. And the longer this goes on, the more that the very concept of “falling asleep” seems like a myth. Meanwhile, some people knock out a few seconds after lying down.
Though it may seem effortless for these folks, a Reddit user asked people who fall asleep quickly to reveal their methods, and their answers are surprisingly helpful.
1. Physical exertion during the day.
“Since I’m the high energy person in the relationship, I am moving and doing things all the time – get home from work, cooking, have dinner, work out, do some laundry, read before bed.
I’m pretty physically tired/drained by the time I hit the pillow. My husband runs at what seems to be a consistently lower energy level – like low enough that he needs a lot of downtime (usually in front of screens) to recharge, but high enough that he doesn’t sleep well.”
2. Stop thinking so much.
“Not thinking is the key. I had to train myself to completely clear my mind. Start by cutting inner monologues; imagine you were born deaf and think primarily in images. Then cut those and just focus on what you feel. The last step is to tune out those sensations. In the beginning, you will only be able to sustain it for a couple seconds, but you’ll be able to go longer with time. Eventually, it’ll be second nature.
In the beginning, my primary goal was to remove the stress of my life for a moment through meditation, but it ended up being a useful way to fall asleep. Also, I don’t remember the last time I’ve woken up in the middle of the night. The only downside is that I sleep like the dead and never dream. I just close my eyes as if to blink and when I open them back up, it’s morning (and my wife is pissed that I missed my alarm).”
3. Be sleep-deprived.
“I’m so exhausted all the time. If I have no responsibilities to wake up for I’ll easily sleep 15-20 hours.
I’ll fall asleep at my desk, on the bus, on the toilet… as a kid I’d come home from school and just make it through the front door before falling asleep on the floor fully clothed with my backpack still on. I paid for a sight-seeing bus tour along the river Nile in Egypt and slept through most of it because I always sleep on car rides. I read books 3 pages at a time with lots of accidental naps in between.”
“For me it was a learned skill, thank you US Army.
They pushed me to work from reveille to taps, and only allowed for 5-6 hours of sleep, and I need 7-8. I wore an alarm watch. Any break during the day… “oh I have 25 minutes?” Set alarm watch, prop against a tree or lay down anywhere I could, BAM asleep.
My wife is still amazed at how I do it.”
5. Meditation techniques.
“I use a meditation method I learned in a yoga class.
Lay flat on your back, take deep breaths through your nose. As you exhale mentally relax each muscle group starting with your face and working down to your toes. Try to imagine exhaling through your muscles and out through your toes. Imagine your body slowly melting into your bed. This usually takes about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Next imagine as vividly as possible a river. It helps if you use one from memory. I personally use a combination of The River Wild movie and memories from a family trip to the Green River. 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.
This process without fail gets me to sleep within 10 minutes, if I am having trouble sleeping. But like Ralph Wiggum, sleep is where I am a viking.
Sorry for my abysmal Simpsons knowledge. I think I really just wanted Ralph to be an amazing genius who kills people in space and commits xenocide.”
6. Use your imagination.
“Best trick I’ve found when I don’t fall asleep easy is to put myself in a movie.
Like imagine yourself walking through the gates of Hogwarts. What happens next? All up to you and just let your imagination flow. Eventually you’ll fall asleep without realizing it.”
7. Focus on your eyelids.
“I have to kinda gaze into the back of my eyelids without thinking…. like you know when you rub your eyes and all the different shapes and images and shit fly around? I just watch them with absolutely no thought and I’m out within 2-3 minutes.”
8. Change the temperature.
“KEEP! YOUR! ROOM! COLD!!!!
This one actually worked for me a bit more quickly because I had/have issues with nightmares (to the point where my husband literally can calm me down in his sleep), and I saw a major correlation between that and the heat of my room. I switched from a duvet that had me waking up drenched in sweat to a weighted blanket with a bamboo cover that manages to not trap my body heat. Apparently hot showers before bed and wearing warm socks can also help you cool down as your body tries to self-regulate (or something?)”
9. Only use the bed for sleep.
“Keep the bed, and as much as possible the bedroom, for two things – shagging and sleeping. Do NOTHING else in that damn bed!
Don’t look at devices, don’t read (talk about confusing your body!), don’t sit around talking to your SO (either shag them, or snuggle up and go to sleep with them). Half an hour before going to bed, drop the lights in the rest of the house, use lamps only if you can.”
10. Lay completely still.
“I’m a firefighter and my one partner says what he likes least about me is my ability to fall asleep so fast after returning from a call.
It helps to be physically tired. Much easier to fall asleep when your body has been engaged in physical activity during the day.
I try to lay perfectly still, and not allow myself to scratch my nose if it itches, for example. I just ignore the itch and next thing I know, it’s time to get up.
I just discovered that there are people with an inner monologue and this voice in their head allows them to have silent discussions and worry about decisions and whatnot. I don’t have this. I don’t have any voices talking to me.
My preference is also to listen to a documentary on YouTube or Netflix. I set my timer On my phone to stop playing after 20 mins and rarely stay awake till the end. I am very well versed on the first 10 minutes of wwii!
11. Watch something boring.
“I must have seen every single episode of Friends, Himym and BigBang a million times. It’s not totally silent but my mind doesn’t need to engage to follow a story. 5 minutes later I am drooling like a baby. My husband envy’s me so much. It’s gotten better for him, but so often he ends up watching something different because it gets boring. He doesn’t seem to understand that this is exactly the point of this exercise.”
12. Become a parent.
“Dad of three. I sleep when I can because you never know when you’ll get a full 8 hours, or a fractured 2.5 hours. About 9pm my body just takes any opportunity it can to sleep, even if I’m on the couch and all the lights are on like last night.
It gets easier as they get older. My 7.5 year old sleeps like a rock unless he’s really sick.”
Some pretty good strategies in the mix, I think!
Do you have anything you do that makes you crash out super fast? Let us know in the comments!