by Josh

For practically all my life I’ve had trouble going to sleep. I’m not an insomniac…I just think a lot. I’ll lie in bed thinking about what I want to do tomorrow or what I should have done today or how much I love eating cold pizza or how absurdly messy my desk is….you get the idea. And when I say I have trouble going to sleep…I’m not talking 20 or 30 minutes…I’m talking 2 or 3 hours. Because what will happen is after about 45 minutes to an hour of trying to go to sleep, I start thinking about how I’m not asleep but I should be…and thus the cycle begins.

Now, I may be a bit of an extreme case here, but I know for a fact that there are others out there who have trouble going to sleep. So, I’ve pieced together various bits of advice I’ve received over the past few months that have not only helps me get to sleep faster, but helps me get a better nights sleep.

  1. Don’t watch TV or even so much as look at a computer screen atleast 30 minutes before you lie down. The light from both a television as well as a computer monitor mimic the same intensity of light as sunlight. This fools your body and brain into thinking it’s nowhere near time for sleep.
  2. Drink milk. Milk has an amino acid in it called Tryptophan that increase the levels of serotonin and/or melatonin in the brain which slow down brain activity. It’s science folks.
  3. Go to bed when you are tired. Different strokes for different folks here. Just because your wife goes to bed at 9PM doesn’t mean you are ready. You might only require seven and half hours of sleep while she might require ten. If you aren’t tired, do something low-key until you are, like read a book, play solitaire (NOT on your computer), or play with some legos.
  4. Reserve the bed for bed things (ie sleep and sex). I for one don’t strictly follow this rule as I’ll read some before I go to sleep, but for some people this is a must.
  5. Meditate. No, don’t cross your legs and hum, but focus on relaxing…if that makes sense. Take deep, long breaths. Tense each muscle one at a time from head to toe. Focusing on doing this takes your mind off of other things and you’ll be in lala land in no time.
  6. Excercise during the day. I emphasize during the day. Excercising at night just gets everything going instead of shutting down for sleep. But excercising during the day tires the muscles out and makes for a solid nights sleep.

These are the majority of the things I have either tried or actually do routinely. What are some things that have worked for you?

157 Comments on Tips for getting to sleep faster & sleeping better

  1. Qamar says:

    Respected Sir,
    I enjoyed ur tips very much.Plz guid me more.

  2. Me, Damnit says:

    niacin makes u sleepy. a.k.a. vitamin B-3

    i take two 500 mg “time release” variety.

    one i split in half so it enters my system at a decent pace, then i leave the other one whole so it keeps me asleep.

    i drink plenty of water with this so it doesn’t upset my stomach, and keep a glass of water beside me in bed, so if i wake up with an upset stomach, i take a drink.

    important: do not chew, or take too much or your body will feel like it’s sunburnt for a while.

  3. andrea says:

    these are great tips :) and i didnt know about the computer and tv one, and i guess i shouldve of cause im on it right now and its like 3 am … whoops!

  4. ROSA says:

    I GET SO TRIED FROM BEEN ON THE COMPUTRE MY BODY IS GETTIG US TO GET UP EVERY MORING BUT NOW VERY TRIED I CAN SLEEPBETTER IN MY BED

  5. septik boy says:

    i would like to know why when i’m between sleep and awake i feel like i’m floating i would really like to know don’t trick me please this is serious / when you find an answer to that please tell me

    :thank you

  6. nathan says:

    actually looking into a computers light has never prevented me from sleep. however if i go outside i begin to feel more active and won’t want to sleep. i think the best way to help is to take some nuelesta, and sit around trying to not think. that is actually a problem for me i’m always worried about my stuff, and wondering if someone has moved it. i always have to know where somthing is.

  7. Ex pothead says:

    I actually find pot makes it harder for me to sleep. I rarely smoke it these days, but found the same even when i regularly smoked it. It tends to make my mind wander for hours on end, making it very difficult to sleep.

  8. Joey says:

    I have the same exact problems, think about stuff too much…These work tooo….

  9. Tony says:

    A technique that I used to use: Imagine an empty theater with a blank screen, block out any noises and focus on the screen, the screen gets bigger and bigger as you float closer and closer. When your whole mind is blank white like the screen, a word appears SLEEP! Now I found out about “sleep minerals” a blend of minerals designed to put you into R.E.M. quickly and easily and keep you there longer so that your brain has a chance to heal the body while you sleep so you wake up every morning feeling refreshed and ready to take on a new day. Because they are minerals and not a drug or a blocker like other sleep aids I’ve tried you can use them every day day after day with no side affects. check it out it’s called “SleepMin” A liquid swish it gets absorbed under your tongue and is in your blood stream instantly. Like I said put it under your tongue and soon you’ll be sound asleep. Check out the web page: http://www.asome.com

  10. Marius says:

    I also suffer from an extreme case of tossing and turning for hours before I actually fall asleep. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had this problem.

    Recently, I decided that this problem had to stop. For this reason, I decided to make some changes:

    1. Go to bed and get up at the exact same time every day (this was hard at first, but I forced my way through)
    2. No caffeine (apart from a coffee in the morning)
    3. Exercise in the morning
    4. Avoid the tv and computer an hour before bed.

    These tips worked wonders for me, so good luck and sleep tight!

  11. tiffany says:

    having trouble sleeping because your mind is too busy thinking is a symptom of anxiety disorder.
    may i suggest therapy to learn some techniques to reprogram yourself into a less anxious state?

    i also find that quiet and a cool room — where i’m neither shivering nor sweltering under a blanket — is best. it’s hard to get to sleep when you’re uncomfortable.

    one other technique that i read about somewhere: count backwards from 10, visualizng each number in a different color. works for me every time.

  12. pfadfaog says:

    Science?

    Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that you can get from anything with a good amino acid profile. Sure, it can help you get to sleep, but there are plenty of other foods that have more tryptophan.

    Don’t know what “science” you’re reading.

  13. marc says:

    Dont go to sleep watching tv? Hey tv always puts me to sleep at night. Especially when watching the Jay Leno show.

  14. oscarlu says:

    I know this sounds wierd, but , it actually works sometimes.
    When you can’t sleep try Staying awake.
    In other words, lie there and try to keep your eyes open and stay alert. For some reason this helps put me to sleep sometimes.
    It was actually recommended to me by a sleep doctor.
    Hope it helps

  15. jw says:

    Just try reading all these comments and see how fast you fall asleep :)

  16. Michael Lambie says:

    Melatonin supplements & NyQuil

  17. spankaccount says:

    The Tryptophan Myth:
    http://www.openscience.org/blog/?p=124

  18. Go for a 20 minute brisk walk outside before going to bed. The distance doesn’t matter.

    Dress as you would dress if you were to go for an evening walk. Do not take a shower after the walk, but go straight to bed (okay, make some hot milk if you have to).

    The idea is to get mildly tired from aerobic exercise. Going for a walk also helps your mind calm down.

  19. Wasim Shaikh says:

    i sleep at 6am ( right now i am typing at 4:45AM) and wake up at 3pm. Wht do sujjest me is this affect me.

  20. bill t. says:

    my problem is that iam sleepy , but as i start to drift off to sleep i catch myself holding my breath. the problem started a month ago ,when i started having bad sinus problems. iam addicted to nasal sprays ,ive gone without good sleep for so long my body is all tensed up , worrying about not getting any sleep. i took a muscle relaxer the other nite and it worked perfect , i think i’ll do that for the next 2 or three nites and see it if works.

  21. Shawn says:

    Hey, I am a 13 year old boy and this must sound so weird but even i have problems with sleeping. Its gotten to the point where i just dont go to sleep at all. And then during the day ill sleep all day and wake up later and have to stay up all day do you have any tips on this syndrome. I am scared that i may have a serious problem.

  22. mdklfsmlm says:

    It takes me up to 6 hours to fall asleep…
    sdlfmskflsmkdfmslkfmslfmsmfskmlnjaldk. grrr. that’s why im on here noww, after about 4 hours of lying in bed i got sick of it.

  23. mdklfsmlm says:

    Hahaha, a lot of these comments are really funny. & I’m going to try them.

    what works for me sometimes is picturing a kaleidoscope or a spiral red thing..& then I tell myself im getting sleepy.
    ahaha. like in cartoons.
    although it only works sometimes. haha.

  24. Kelly says:

    DON’T COUNT SHEEP.
    That NEVER works.
    Honestly.

    COUNT ZEBRAS INSTEAD.
    Or giraffes!
    =)

  25. Jilll says:

    JOSH
    o my gosh. this sounds like me writing this. it is exactly what happens to me . i lay in bed not being able to sleep ,knowing i should, and sometimes its a few hours. thanks for this and i will def. try it.

  26. Bobbyyyyy says:

    The milk thing works, but the taste of milk in my mouth keeps me up… I usually think before I sleep. About the meaningless things. ‘What do plastic scissors really cut?’ ‘Who started the lottery’ It drives me to the point I fall asleep.

  27. kailash says:

    guys dont watch tv or b with ur laptop, its the only soluton

  28. kat says:

    hey!! im 18!! n i cant sleep to save mylife!!! n sumtimes i have panic attacks!!! n if i do sleep its only for 2 hours or less!!! its driving me insane!! :P HELP!

  29. txdave22 says:

    Best sleep you can have is on a visco-elastic mattress with pillows made of the same material.

    See my blog both articles and ads for more information on sleeping deeply, waking better rested.

    dave http://backbebetter.blogspot.com

  30. sergio says:

    just like the past hundred comments left on the site i too have a problem getting to sleep. not because of insomniac but its more because my sleeping pattern gets later and later. every night its a cram session. big exam tomorrow so i have to force myself to stay up till 6a.m.get about three hours of sleep then go and take the exam. now usually my body will go to sleep when i want it to when i stay up that long but for some reason when im at school i cant. its summer here so i have some time to go back home and meet my parents. but now my body is too used to staying up till 6. then sleep for 9 hours making wast most of the day to spend with my family. i had this kind of trouble before when i was a kid. what i used to do was think of a story each night different. sometimes adventure storys, other times a romantic story, and most of the time erotic stories i can’t help but think about erotic stories because well i was a teen and all i could think about was girls. now im not that creative anymore so i can’t think up of the stories. but lucky for me i wrote down my stories when i was a kid and my mom still kept them in the closset so i just read those to help me go to sleep. man my stories where really good i wonder why i can’t write any anymore. well long story short i just think of stories or read stories. now i wrote about my life because a. i dont think too many people are gonna read my post and b. i couldn’t even read all of the post because there where too many!!!!!!!!!!!

  31. joey says:

    I too am an insomniac.
    I only require about 5 to 6 hours of sleep every night, i mean it’s 2:33 a.m. right now. Your tips have helped me, but one other thing (which is a little strange) is smelling lavender. The scent of lavender is used in a lot of aromatherapy methods, and in hospitals to put people to sleep faster, and into a deeper sleep. You will not need to sleep as long and will sleep better.
    Get a Lavender Scented Candle and burn it before you sleep. Blow it out before you go to bed so the house doesnt burn down (obviously) and you will sleep very well.

  32. whitney says:

    I have never thought of turning off lights and the t.v.i mostly write in bed or read for like an hour and i sit in bed for hours. i mostly think of stuff. well this is kinda weird but im only 12 and im starting school and for the past days i stay awake untill 100 and my mind is thinking like KRAZY!thanks for the tips.I REALLY needed them.

  33. Jesse says:

    Before i turned 20 i used to not worry about sleep. I went to bed usually at the sametime but i didn’t go nuts if i went to bed late. Now i am 23 and i spend alot of time thinking about sleep while im awake. Reading all these stories i can tell you all can relate. I try to go to bed at 11:30 on the dot and back up at 6:30 on the dot. This is from coming off the computer most the time. I grab some water hit the bathroom, then lay down and watch about a half hour of TV. It always seems to help me relax, but lately im falling asleep while watching tv then i wake up from a loud noise on the tv after being asleep for 30 mins. This totally kills me cause now instead of sleep ive taken a power nap and im wide awake and if i do not instantly go back to sleep i get impatient and worryful of when i will go to sleep. When i do sleep easy, which is most the time 4-5 nights out of the week, i try to close my eyes and concentrate on my eyelids or staring into the darkness. If you focus on this you cannot think. If you drift from this you will start to think. Ive been doing this for a year now and it goes from staring to waking up nightly. Although if i cannot get calm i tend to get up over and over. I try to sit still but i get anxious and try to lay down again and just repeat a 2-3 hour cycle. ALso something that seems to have helped me is if you have to watch TV before bed or during to try to relax, watch something you normally would not and with the volume all the way off. For me its the cooking channel. I personally cannot cook, i could burn water if it were possible :) so watching this lil ol lady make a pie just bores me to death and i just stare at it silently and it causes me to relax my mind and i get tired. Usually ill cut off the tv if im still awake, but me doing this in the middle of the night is rare. If im not going to sleep im going do whatever it takes to make me stay calm. Im not ashamed to say also that i have a fear that i will not get to sleep this night or the next, very paranoid about my sleep. If i have a horrible night sleeping the next night i take a decent dose of sleep aid. My brand i personally use is Equate Sleep Aid, its a over the counter product i get from my local Wal-Mart. I take 150 mgs (3 pills) even though it says only take 50. i researched the product and all forms of what it does and taking over the recomended dose seems to fine. This sleep aid forces your body and mind to get tired and thus you don’t think much at all and you stay very still. Im serious its hard to walk to the bathroom with what i take, but it keeps me calm and i only take it after a previous bad night of sleep. So thats like 2-3 times a week. Its none habit forming cause i do it only when i need too. Other than that i just take it day by day. Remember that even if u fail to sleep your body will get tired and eventually go to sleep. Im not saying you will pass out but some days youll have no choice but to sleep like a rock. Thank you you all for the messages, i feel better knowing others have similar issues. I plan to try the story method tonight actually. :)

  34. rachel says:

    i have tried everything -EVERYTHING- to help me fall alsleep. nyquil, painkillers, and the above remedies. nothing is working. and i have 2 kids that i have to be up with at the crack of dawn… not that that matters, because i not only have trouble falling asleep, but i am also a premature waker. i’m talkin finally dropping off to sleep at 2 and waking at 4. its gotten increasingy worse over the course of 5 months. i know someone has to have a solution to this. okay, i’m BEGGING for a solution. hope one comes soon, because this is seriously killing me.

  35. wifey says:

    OH my gosh………I can’t sleep!!
    I am awaking thinking about what if’s, what if i was famous, what if I married my love, what if i saw my ex, what if’s seem to go on forever and I cant sleep………….

    soo mad….but the funny thing is i am sleepy now..but when i lie down i am wide awake…whats up with that?

  36. wifey says:

    OH my gosh………I can’t sleep!!
    I am awaking thinking about what if’s, what if i was famous, what if I married my love, what if i saw my ex, what if’s seem to go on forever and I cant sleep………….

    soo mad….but the funny thing is i am sleepy now..but when i lie down i am wide awake…whats up with that?

  37. wifey says:

    OH my gosh………I can’t sleep!!
    I am awaking thinking about what if’s, what if i was famous, what if I married my love, what if i saw my ex, what if’s seem to go on forever and I cant sleep………….

    soo mad….but the funny thing is i am sleepy now..but when i lie down i am wide awake…whats up with that?

  38. James says:

    Probably good tips, I wish I had known the computer screen thing before I turned on my computer though. I’m not gonna sleep at all tonight. It’s 05:03 here now, I start work in five hours and then I’ll be there for thirteen, then I’ll be back home by about 11:45, then I start work at ten the next morning again. You get the idea? I think I’ll give up on sleep and become a robot.

  39. Andrew says:

    I have exact some things as you guys, from reading on this site, I kind of think, I have a problem waking up… always sleep for a long time like for 8 to 9 hours. For those I know who can sleep quickly always have a regular wake up schedule. Is that the problem here for all of us? Does anyone here sleep less than 7 hours still have a sleeping problem? Please let me know, I like to find out.

  40. Drew says:

    I have the cycle problem of sleeping i think, i start to think about if i am going to get to sleep then it circles in my head and my thoughts will not stop, i have tried to think of other things but it still does not seem to help, even when i stop thinking i do not sleep, this has only happend recently though.

  41. Moreno says:

    Because of a tight working time (I’m working in a construction yard abroad). I’ve long thought about the sleeping techniques in order to improve my performances during the day.
    Most of them are the same I’ve found in the above contributes. I only would like to add the following:
    1. Keep the bedroom cool (air conditioning or open windows). To sleep covered by a blanket is very comfortable and relaxing.
    2. Avoid naps before bed time.
    3. Try to maintain the same bed time. If necessary postpone or anticipate not more than half a hour a day.

    I confirm the caffeine must be absolutely avoided. It is very surprising how many people don’realize this.

  42. Tee says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who experienced this !! I have soo many thoughts that I actually talk in my sleep. My hubby tells me to stop thinking about things so much. I go to bed and my mind starts running ! I’ve even cry myself to sleep sometimes when I start thinking about my deceased father.

    I found that running at night ( after school around 9pm ) gets me soo tired that I knock out in my bed. I don’t know if it’s because of school or running. I have the best sleep when I mix the two. Plus, I have the temperpedic bed which is always cold and relaxing.

    Thanks for the interesting topic :)

  43. ryan shields says:

    Normally,i worry alot at night. I would go to sleep around 9pm.Then i would worry am i going to get to sleep or not and i would think of alot of things.Then i look at the clock and it is about 9:45pm and i feel it only seems i’ve been in bed 5 minutes!So then to worry about am i going to stay up all night and if i’m going to actually get to sleep.It realy worries me because i have to get up realy early in mornings for inportant jobs and i wonder if i’m not going to not be able to get up in time for my job.These problems have started in the summer holidays when i was 10 till i was 20 which was 2 years ago.i found out that you shouldn’t watch telly at least 30 minutes before bed.You should drink milk and/or read a book.

  44. michelle says:

    RYAN, i feel so much better knowing there’s someone out there exactly like me (as well as so many other of you that have written on this page). i swear, i thought i was going to lose it today. last night iw as freaking out from the time i turned off the tv that i wouldnt be able to fall asleep, and what do you know, that’s exactly what happened. i’m going to try the tips on this website. thank you.

  45. Mark says:

    I’ve tried many of these methods…even tried the “story” and meditation thing, but the problem is before I realize it, I’m thinking about something real to do with my day or some issue that won’t leave my head.

    Sometimes I have found that I can kick start my dreaming process, by rapidly cycling as many silly images and memories through my mind as quickly as possible without allowing myself to “dwell” on any memory or image, eventually tricks my mind into being in that state where it’s ready to start dreaming.

    Images are completely random, and only flash for a split second. Like balloon, a room of balloons, clown, monkey, bicycle, Santa, Elves, Superman, etc. and just keep going in an unconscious manner. (i.e., don’t think about what you’re going to picture next…just let images fly by.) Kind of like a streaming word association, but with images.

    On really bad nights this still won’t work for me, as I will flash the images through my head, and then forget I was doing that because I started thinking about a real issue.

  46. WELL IF CAN’T GO TO SLEEP YOU SHOULD STOP DRINKING COFFE AND HOT CHOCOLATE …. AND WHEN YOUR LAYING DOWNTHINK OF ANY THING YOU LIKE THEN CLOSE YOUR EYES AND WARM YOUR SELF UP TO SLEEEP CALL ME TO HELP YOU ON 07960281175 BYEE I AM SLEEEPY …….

  47. WELL IF CAN’T GO TO SLEEP YOU SHOULD STOP DRINKING COFFE AND HOT CHOCOLATE …. AND WHEN YOUR LAYING DOWNTHINK OF ANY THING YOU LIKE THEN CLOSE YOUR EYES AND WARM YOUR SELF UP TO SLEEEP CALL ME TO HELP YOU ON 07960281175 BYEE I AM SLEEEPY …….

  48. pam sethier says:

    WELCOME TO MY COMMENTS FOR SLEEPING QUICKLY MY TIPS ARE…

    1.AVIOED TV,COMPUTERSBEFOR BED.
    2.DON’T DRINK COFFEI,HOT CHOCOLATE.
    3.STOP WORRING ABOUT THINGS.
    4.DON’T BE DISTRESSED.
    5.IF YOU WORK YOU SHOULD DO AS MUCH WORK AS YOU CAN SO AT NITGH YOU FEEL SLEEPY.
    6.DO EXSOSIZEIN THE MORNING.
    7.IF YOU ARE UNDER 15 YOU SHOULD HAVE A BED TIME.
    8.rael bed time SHOULD BE
    8:00
    8:30
    9:00
    IF YOUR KID GOES TO SLEEP IN THESE TIME THAT MEANS THEY ARE GETTING INOFE SLEEP.
    9.DO SOME JUMPING AT NITGH.

  49. marjo says:

    hi em marjo suffering from insimnia for about half adecade so want to get info itried so many things but it didnt worked out.

  50. Keri says:

    Fool proof for me everytime:

    Pretend you are in a hospital and in a coma. Then imagine all the things people might say to you as you are out. Remember if in a come you can’t move!!! I fall asleep out of being bored

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