101 Hacks to Fall Asleep When Not Tired – #71 Changed My Life

101 Hacks to Fall Asleep When Not Tired – #71 Changed My Life

I have had many people ask me how to fall asleep when not tired, and it’s a valid question. If you often find yourself wide awake at bedtime and tend to lie awake until an obscene hour, this blog post is for you. 

Get ready to start making some changes, commit to those changes, and I promise you will slowly start feeling sleepy when it’s time to go to bed. It’s all a matter of knowing yourself inside and out, curbing bad habits, creating good habits, and sticking with your good habits. Taking control of your sleep is very simple, but it’s not easy (to stick to). Always remember that.

Based on my own experience with having trouble simply getting sleepy enough to fall asleep at night, I can definitely say it’s due to stress, worry, or anxiety 99% of the time. If you look deep within yourself, I am sure you will find that to be true as well. Consider this quote about worry from Eckhart Tolle:

Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose

Eckhart Tolle

I’ve had my fair share of sleep onset insomnia – better known as difficulty falling asleep. I feel your pain. Sometimes I’m fatigued and burned out at bedtime, but not tired – AKA sleepy. As a result, I have a super long list of tricks that help me fall asleep when I’m not tired that I want to share with you. 

1. Avoid blue light at least 1 hour before bedtime.

Shut off or remove your phone and tablet from your bedroom at least 1 hour prior to bedtime. Turn off the TV and any video games at least 1 hour prior as well. All electronic devices and TVs emit blue light, which inhibits your production of melatonin.

Melatonin is a hormone your body naturally amps up its production of closer to bedtime so that you can fall asleep easier. You need an ample supply of melatonin in order to fall asleep. Melatonin production is light sensitive, so if you’re shining bright lights in your face up until the second you go to bed, you’re going to have a hard time falling asleep.

2. Install a blue light filter on your computer, phone, and tablet – or wear blue light blocking glasses.

If you must (ugh!) use your smartphone or tablet closer to bedtime, at least install a blue light filter on it to minimize its effects on you.

Or wear blue light blocking glasses, which can be worn throughout the day if you find it necessary. Amazon has a huge (and affordable) selection of them if you want to click here.

For PC, Mac, Linux, Android

On my laptop, I use this free blue light filter and it works great. There’s a free blue light filter app for my Android phone that I use (and love) that’s simply called “Blue Light Filter – Night Mode, Eye Care” and it’s available on the Google Play Store by clicking here.

Both blue light filter apps allow me to set a bedtime so that the screen starts to automatically filter the blue light at a certain time. I have mine set to start filtering at 8:00pm. BTW I try to put away all my devices by 8:30pm. You’ll know when the apps start to filter because your screen will start to get a reddish tint. 

For iOS

I don’t own an iPhone or iPad so I don’t have a specific app to recommend, but if you do a search on the App Store for a blue light filter, I’m sure you can find an app that will work for your iOS device. If you have a newer iOS device as outlined here, you can enable Apple’s built-in Night Shift Mode instead. Pretty cool!

3. Take a hot bath an hour or two before bedtime.

It’s important not to take a hot bath right before climbing into bed, even though that is very tempting. You need to give your body enough time to cool down. You will more quickly fall into a relaxed state, and therefore, get sleepy quicker when you cool down. The hot bath does, however, help to jumpstart your relaxation ahead of time.

4. Use candles or dim the lights at least an hour before bedtime.

The logic here is similar to that of using a blue light filter on electronic devices. Dim lights, candles, fireplaces, and the like help prevent you from getting too stimulated before bedtime. Become adamant about reducing or even eliminating artificial lighting at night and you’ll find your circadian rhythm will start to shift, making you sleepy earlier. Our bodies really want to work with nature, not against it.

5. Use a white noise machine or the white noise feature on the Somneo sunrise/sunset alarm.

Sometimes, the fact that we’re not tired is due to outside noises – especially if you live in a city. I live in Los Angeles, so you can imagine how busy it is outside my bedroom window. 

I block out other peoples’ ridiculousness by turning on the white noise feature on my Somneo light therapy alarm clock. It works very well. This multi-functional, life-saving alarm clock is available on Amazon if you click here.

You can also use a traditional white noise machine. Amazon, of course, has plenty of affordable options if you click here. Personally, I prefer the all-in-one option on my alarm clock so I don’t have to own multiple devices.

6. Listen to relaxing music.

Listening to relaxing music is definitely helpful when you’re reaching for sleep. Music transforms the mind in more ways than one, but acting as a sleep aid is one of its main real-life applications that can help anyone.

This song by Marconi Union was designed by sound therapists and has been proven by neuroscientists to reduce anxiety by up to 65%. It makes me sleepy pretty quickly when I listen to it on a loop hereAlso, here’s a free Spotify playlist by Melanie Curtain with 10 relaxing songs, including Weightless by Marconi Union. 

7. Listen to a guided meditation.

This is especially helpful if you’re new to meditation and need some guidance to keep your mind from wandering into needless thoughts that are preventing you from getting sleepy. There are plenty of good, free guided meditations on YouTube, so don’t be afraid to try them out.

8. Try the 4-7-8 breathing technique.

Maybe you’re not tired yet because you have yourself all worked up from a stressful day. If so, some relaxation is in order and it’s time to give the famous 4-7-8 breathing technique a try.

What’s great about the 4-7-8- breathing technique is that it starts to relax you almost immediately. It’s an awesome way to anchor yourself and let your thoughts come and go without judgment.

While learning to do this breathing technique, sit up with your back straight, but after you have learned, it can be done in any position – even while laying in bed.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Place the tip of your tongue on the area of your gums just behind your upper front teeth. Keep your tongue in that position for the duration of the breathing exercise.
  2. Close your mouth, quietly inhale through your nose for a mental count of 4.
  3. Hold your breath for a count of 7.
  4. Slightly open your mouth (being careful to keep your tongue touching your gums) and exhale through your mouth, making an audible exhale sound for a count of 8. This completes one breath cycle.
  5. Repeat for 3 more cycles, for a total of 4 times.

9. Stop repetitive thoughts that don’t serve you.

If you find that you’re not tired during a time you normally would be (like at bedtime), it’s probably because you have repetitive thoughts. We all get those annoying, destructive thoughts, and what’s even more annoying is that they seem to play on a loop and spiral out of control fairly easily, at inopportune times.

It’s important to stop paying attention to those thoughts. Pay attention to them and they’ll keep you up all night. Ignore them and they’ll go away.

10. Stop logical, stressful thoughts and have random, light-hearted thoughts instead.

During our waking hours, we think in logical, linear ways. Our thoughts need to make sense if we are to ever accomplish anything, right?

With that in mind, don’t you think the opposite could be true for promoting sleep? What I mean is, think in random, nonsensical ways to make yourself tired.

For example, think of a short word that has no repeating letters, like “dream” and then think of unrelated words that start with each letter: diamond, reason, earth, aardvark, mint. Then start all over with the first letter and do it again.

Keep doing it until you feel groggy. It works because it mimics a dreamy state. Have you ever noticed how random and seemingly illogical most dreams are? Mimic the non-linear randomness and even the most alert person can get sleepy.

11. Consume a hot, non-caffeinated drink.

My favorite is golden turmeric milk, but regular warm milk or any caffeine-free herbal tea works just as well. Some herbal tea examples are chamomile, lavender, rooibos, tulsi, Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Tea, etc.

12. Embrace the hygge lifestyle.

What the heck is hygge? It’s the Danish secret to coziness and happiness! And it can help you fall asleep…

Read or listen to the Kindle version of The Little Book of Hygge – click here to see it on Amazon if you want to learn how to transform your bedroom or entire house into hygge paradise.

When your bedroom is cozy and brings you genuine happiness with candles, soothing lights placed “just so”, a tea kettle, and a secret stash of cookies, you will be certain to relax and unwind at the end of a hard day.

13. Read a fiction book.

By avoiding books at bedtime that get you stimulated (horror, romance, action, etc) and reading light-hearted fiction instead. I would also avoid self-help and motivational books because they get you pumped up and get the ideas flowing at the wrong time, over-stimulating an already over-stimulated mind that isn’t yet sleepy. The idea is to wind down and get sleepy, no?

A successful life and well-rested body is all about timing. Read self-help and motivational books first thing in the morning so you get pumped up about your goals and the day in general.

14. Buy a comfortable mattress and bedding.

I can’t stress the importance of this one enough. Get yourself a comfy mattress (firm, soft, in-between… whatever comfy means to you), find pleasant bedding with a thickness and material that relaxes you and keeps your body temperature comfortable (maybe these smart sheets on Amazon?), and find a pillow that doesn’t make your neck and shoulders stiff. I recommend this pillow on Amazon. It’s simple, affordable, and is quite frankly, the best pillow I’ve ever owned.

15. Don’t exercise right before bed.

Make sure you don’t do any intense exercise within 4 or 5 hours of bedtime. Immediately after a cardio or weightlifting session, you are going to be alert and pumped up from all the dopamine and serotonin produced during your workout. Your body and mind need adequate time to wind down and relax.

16. Get a massage.

Get a massage any way you can manage, that is. Give yourself a back rub or ask your partner or roommate to give you one. If you have a massage chair or other massage device, use it. Massage therapy is a tried and true method that helps relax the body as well as the mind. Plus, there are so many different types of massage to combat insomnia and stress that the possibilities are endless.

17. Visit a steam room or sauna.

Warm rooms make you sleepy; we can all attest to that when a room is warmer than normal at work and we start to nod off in the middle of a meeting. Saunas and steam rooms work similarly if you time it right by visiting a hour before bedtime. Steam rooms can be especially effective because of the ways that steam therapy help with relaxation and sleep.

18. Don’t eat (especially heavy food or sweets) right before bed.

Comfort foods are well… comforting, but they can also keep you awake with digestive issues if you ate too much or ate the wrong thing. Sweets are equally bad because they get you wired – the exact opposite of what you need at bedtime.

19. Eat a light snack that contains tryptophan.

The old Thanksgiving turkey-induced nap can be modified to make you tired at bedtime. Eat turkey or one of these other high-tryptophan foods. Just don’t eat too much or go for the whole Thanksgiving dinner with mashed potatoes and stuffing. Keep it light and simple.

20. Have a morning routine planned out.

Have a plan and know what it is… and sleep will come so much easier.

Having your morning all planned out beforehand will help soothe any anxiety you are feeling about unfinished or upcoming tasks for the next day, knowing that you’ve got everything covered. You can guiltlessly reward yourself by temporarily putting tomorrow out of your mind and fully relaxing. You can’t fall asleep until you allow yourself to fully relax.

21. Perform a bedtime routine.

The monotony and familiarity of a bedtime routine allow you to further unwind and cue your brain for sleep. By the time you finish your bedtime routine, you just might find that you are tired and ready to crash.

22. Keep your bedroom dark, clean, and comfy.

Make sure your environment is conducive to sleep. This means creating a bedroom setting that is dark with thick blinds or drapes to block out street lights.

Your room should also be clean and comfortable with just enough things to make you feel at home, but not so many that you are living amongst the clutter. I like to tidy up in the evening, making sure the floor is swept and everything is in its place. Once a week I wash my bedding. If clutter stresses you out like it does me, adopt a minimalist lifestyle – at least in the bedroom, if not the whole house. 

23. Set your bedroom temperature slightly cool.

The optimal room temperature for most people is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 16 to 19 degrees Celsius). The lower temperature helps reduce your body temperature quicker, causing you to fall asleep faster assuming you have your hands, feet,and stomach covered.

24. Avoid stressful conversations before bed.

This one should be obvious why it helps you relax and fall asleep faster. Stressful conversations get you fired up and feed an overactive mind that will run on a loop all night. No one needs this recipe for insomnia.

Avoid confrontations, arguments, and other stressful conversations too close to bedtime. If you must confront someone or discuss something serious, the earlier in the day you can do it the better off you will be in regards to getting tired for bedtime.

dont look at alarm clock if you want to sleep

25. Turn your alarm clock to the side so you can’t see the time.

Staring at the clock will only further your anxiety and remind you of how little sleep you’re getting. Turn the alarm clock so you can’t see the time. Out of sight, out of mind.

26. Wear comfortable, loose-fitting pajamas.

Cutting off your circulation never helped anyone fall asleep, so put on some loose-fitting pajamas. Or no pajamas if that suits you better. 🙂

27. Exfoliate and wash your facial skin with warm water.

Scrubbing all the dead skin and oil off your face with warm water before bedtime does wonders to relax you and activate sleepiness.

28. Moisturize your skin before bed.

I don’t know about you, but my skin can get downright itchy after a shower, and it sucks when I don’t realize it until I’ve climbed into bed. If I don’t tend to my itchiness, it can prevent me from getting fully sleepy and keep me awake for hours. Now I just make sure to moisturize everywhere before putting on my pajamas.

My absolute favorite unscented, non-greasy body lotion is available at Costco, Walmart, and most drugstores, but it’s a great deal on Amazon if you click here.

29. Try aromatherapy.

Rub a couple drops of lavender essential oil under your nose and on your neck, chest, and hands. Other soothing scents like sandalwood, chamomile, marjoram, ylang-ylang, and others work a treat as well.

30. Use an essential oil diffuser.

Sometimes it’s better to smell the essential oil in the air instead of or in addition to rubbing it on your skin. This cheap bamboo diffuser from Amazon works well in my bedroom.

31. Take a melatonin supplement.

The body produces melatonin on its own as you expose your eyes to less artificial light in the evening and night, but sometimes we can use a little help. Melatonin is necessary to give us that tired feeling and to promote sleep.

If you just aren’t feeling tired enough to fall asleep at a decent hour, maybe your body needs some extra melatonin for the short term. I wouldn’t take a supplement long term because it will lose its effectiveness. Try one of these affordable melatonin supplements from Amazon.

Also, make sure you aren’t deeming the melatonin useless by essentially canceling it out. What I mean is this: Don’t expose yourself to too much artificial light from your phone, tablet, or TV in the late evening; turn off all your electronic devices and dim overhead lights at least 1 hour before you plan to go to bed.

32. Take an ashwagandha supplement.

This ancient Ayurvedic Indian herb has been used for over two millennia to put people back into balance, allowing the body to essentially heal itself. This allows you to have energy when you’re supposed to have it during the day and become sleepy when it’s time to sleep. Ashwagandha can help you cope with anxiety, stress, depression, insomnia, fevers, inflammation, pain, and so much more.

 I recommend the Organic India brand because of the purity and consistency of its overall quality. You can find it on Amazon by clicking here

33. Only use your bed for sleeping or sex.

If you spend too much time in your bed doing everything else except what it was intended for, your brain is going to have a hard time associating your bed with sleep and relaxation. Resist the temptation to turn your bed into your office and entertainment center.

34. Make sure your mobile devices are on silent or airplane mode.

It’s important that you go to bed with your mobile devices in airplane mode (my preference) or on silent so that text messages, calls, emails, and notifications aren’t waking you up every 5 minutes. 

35. Get up and do something else if you can’t fall asleep after 20 or 30 minutes.

Sometimes the worst thing you can do is remain in bed if you can’t fall asleep within 30 minutes. Don’t be afraid to get back out of bed and do something else – something that doesn’t stimulate you or require bright light. Getting up to read a book by candlelight or to cuddle with a pet can be good ways to get yourself adequately sleepy.

36. Switch your sleeping position.

If you’ve been laying in one position for a while, try switching to a different position. Sometimes novelty or a new perspective will make you sleepy.

37. Try some reverse psychology.

Introducing some reverse psychology into your thoughts can be an effective way to get tired so you can sleep. Instead of dwelling on the fact that you’re not tired enough to sleep yet, play a game where you challenge yourself to stay awake. Tell yourself that you bet you can’t stay awake all night! The energy you put into staying awake will eventually have the opposite effect, causing you to fall asleep.

38. Avoid daytime naps.

If you’re not getting tired early enough at night, make sure you are avoiding daytime naps. Too many naps – especially those too late in the afternoon, are going to interfere with your circadian rhythm and delay your nighttime slumber.

39. Chat on the phone or have a face-to-face conversation with someone boring or about something boring.

If you know someone who always speaks in a monotone, call or talk to them immediately! They are perfect for lulling you to sleep when you’re not tired! 

If you don’t happen to know anyone of that caliber, simply find someone to converse with about something mundane – like grandma’s pie recipe, for example. The more boring, the better.

40. Do something boring or mundane that doesn’t involve bright, stimulating lights.

Find an activity that is monotonous or relaxing, and that doesn’t require bright light. Knitting, combing your hair, writing out the same word or sentence over and over, or petting your dog or cat are some examples.

41. Relabel anxiety as excitement.

A huge reason why sleep evades many people is because they suffer from anxiety. I am one of those people. I’ve found that relabeling my anxiety and calling it excitement instead allows me to accept it more readily, and thus, fall asleep easier when my mind races. 

Anxiety and excitement physically manifest themselves in the exact same way (racing thoughts, sweaty palms, etc.), but calling it excitement is so much more positive and allows me to more easily ignore the racing thoughts and sweaty palms. A simple upgrade of my vocabulary has done wonders for my outlook on life and for helping me fall asleep easier.

42. Write down all your worries and to-do tasks in a notebook before bedtime.

Nobody can fall asleep if they are actively worried and don’t feel like they have a place they can deposit their thoughts. In fact, a quick brain dump can do us all some good, whether we have trouble sleeping or not. 

43. Practice positive thinking.

It might sound cliché, but positive thinking will help you do pretty much anything you want to do – including inducing sleep. You are going to get a lot more and a lot better quality sleep when your mind is positive than if it’s suffering and dwelling on negative thoughts. Before you go to sleep, check yourself and make sure negativity didn’t sneak up on you.

44. Do some stretching before bedtime.

Even just some basic, brief stretching can get you ina loose, relaxed state that invites sleep. Anything will do: Touch your toes, extend your arms over your head, do some torso twists, whatever… Just take a couple moments to loosen up the stress that has built up in your body over the course of the day.

45. Practice the head-to-toe relaxation technique.

Head-to-toe relaxation is one of my favorite ways to get sleepy when I don’t start out sleepy. Here’s how I recommend relaxing from head-to-toe:

  1. Lay on your back with your eyes closed.
  2. Be intentional and granular about relaxing. Only focus on one section of your body at a time. Spend about 5 to 10 seconds on each body part.
  3. Start with your scalp, feeling it completely relax. Then work your way down to your ears, then your eyebrows, and so on until you reach the soles of your feet. By the time you get to your feet (if you make it that long without actually falling asleep) you will be super sleepy.

46. Don’t go to bed until you’re sleepy.

If you’re winding down at the proper time and doing everything within your power to get tired (avoiding caffeine, dimming lights, etc) , but you’re just not tired – don’t go to bed yet! Don’t rush bedtime or you’ll get performance anxiety, which will keep you up even longer. Go with the flow…

47. Go to bed later.

This one sort of builds on the previous tip. Yes, it is a great idea to go to bed at the same time every night, but that’s assuming you don’t have trouble sleeping. Consistent bedtimes are a tool for consistent sleepers. If you’re not quite there yet, don’t fret. Get yourself to a place where you can fall asleep easily and rather quickly before you become a stickler for a consistent bedtime.

If you have trouble getting tired at bedtime, don’t lay in bed for the sake of meeting that bedtime deadline. Go to bed later and you will most likely find that you don’t have as much of an issue getting tired.

48. Try acupressure.

Acupressure, if done correctly, can provide instant anxiety relief and can be an effective way to initiate sleep. If you’re not familiar with acupressure, it’s the ancient Chinese method of applying pressure with the fingers or hands to certain parts of the body. Acupressure is something you can ask someone else to for you or you can learn to perform it on yourself right before bedtime.

Check out Yasuko’s video below for a quick acupressure demonstration:

49. Try CBD oil.

There is much research that suggests the legitimacy of CBD oil for treating insomnia, anxiety, stress, pain-relief, and so much more.

I am admittedly skeptical of anything related to marijuana due to issues some family members have had related to the drug, but CBD oil is derived from the hemp plant – not the marijuana plant. CBD oil does not make you “high” or forgetful because it does not contain the infamous high-provoking THC that is present in marijuana.

Regardless of the fact that I do not care for marijuana in the smoking sense, I’m open to giving CBD oil a shot if I ever have bouts of insomnia again like I have in the past. Currently, I do not have firsthand experience as to how effective CBD oil is for invoking sleepiness and promoting relaxation.

CBD oil is currently legal in all 50 US states (on a state level), and easily available pretty much anywhere. Heck, the mom and pop pet food store I shop at in Manhattan Beach even carries CBD oil, but it was super freaking expensive there. Click here to see it cheaper on Amazon!

Those trendy Apple Store wannabe walk-in dispensaries charge an arm and a leg for the same thing, just like the pet food store, so I would shop on Amazon for CBD oil if I were going to try it. I recommend you do the same.

To read more about how CBD oil can help you sleep, take a look at this Sleep Doctor article and continue doing further research before selecting which brand of CBD oil to buy.

left nostril breathing technique for insomnia

50. Try the left nostril breathing technique.

Why the left nostril? Breathing through the left nostril activates the Ida Nerve Ending, which is associated with relaxation and a feeling of calm.  Yogis practice this breathing technique daily.

Here’s how to breathe through your left nostril:

  1. Sit in a relaxed position. Sitting up in your bed propped up with pillows is fine, too. 
  2. Close your right nostril off with your right thumb, holding the rest of your fingers straight up in the air like antennas. 
  3. Place your left hand on your left knee.
  4. Take long, deep breaths through your left nostril as you continue to hold your right nostril closed.
  5. Continue breathing through your left nostril for 3 minutes.

51. Listen to The Power of Now audiobook.

I like listening to Eckhart Tolle read The Power of Now when I’m alert and able to soak in his wisdom, but I also enjoy listening to him with the intention of him invoking sleepiness in me. His voice is so soothing. 

52. Try toe-curling.

Maybe your toes could use some TLC. Try gently curling and uncurling your toes as you relax in bed. Here’s how I do it: I curl my toes under, hold the position for a few seconds, then uncurl and repeat. I think it works to make me sleepy because it’s so mundane and monotonous.

53. Wear a sleep mask or put a towel or small blanket over your eyes.

Covering your eyes helps block out any light outside the window or in the other room that might be subconsciously preventing you from getting tired. 

54. Put on socks and gloves if you’re cold.

You probably already know that as you fall into slumber, your body temperature drops. If you’re already a little cold before falling asleep, that’s going to prevent you from getting tired.

I recommend putting on some cozy socks and gloves. I have some socks that have a layer of fleece inside for cold nights. BTW, when I say wear gloves, I mean the thin, cheap stretchy one-size-fits-all gloves that you can get at a drug store or Walmart for $1 or $2 – like these cheapies on Amazon. The cheaper the better, tbh. You’re just using them in the bedroom to sleep, not to brave the snow.

55. Count backward from 100.

This is my variation of counting sheep. Counting backward from 100 requires a little bit more concentration than counting forward, which might be just what you need to get your mind off the fact that you’re not tired enough to fall asleep.

56. Recall all the mundane details from your day.

Forget all the exciting things that happened today. Go over in your mind all the mundane details of the day like stepping out of bed in the morning, soap sudsing up on your body in the shower, the way you scrubbed the breakfast dishes, how you carefully tied your shoes before leaving the house, etc.

You get the idea. It gets really boring really fast, which should make you drift off to sleep sooner rather than later – even if you weren’t sleepy yet.

57. Visualize something pleasant.

Focusing on something pleasant in your mind and blocking out all other thoughts and stimuli is an easy way to fall asleep when you’re not tired. Find your happy place, wherever that may be. For example, visualizing that you’re lying on a hammock on a beautiful, unpopulated beach in Hawaii for long enough and you’ll be snoozing in no time.

58. Try hypnotherapy.

In particular, try self-hypnosis because that will be easy to do in bed. Keep in mind that hypnosis will only have a chance of being effective at making you tired if you believe that it will.

Hypnosis a little bit different than meditation. While meditation puts you in a relaxed state, hypnosis takes it a bit further by allowing you to enter a relaxed, trance-like state and proving behavior modification suggestions (such as suggesting that you fall asleep instead of lying awake in bed).

If you need help trying out hypnosis or want to listen to a guided hypnosis session, YouTube has many options.

59. Get up and do whatever task is keeping you alert.

Sometimes, the only way to get tired and in a state of mind that is accepting of sleep is to get up and complete a pressing task that has constantly been on your mind. This is especially true if the task is urgent and completing it will make your life easier the next day.

Insomnia is usually the product of an overactive mind, after all. Do what needs to get done so your mind can calm itself and then you’ll probably find that you’re able to sleep with little to no effort at bedtime.

60. Read a textbook or some other dry, boring book.

Dull, dry text is always a snooze fest for me. This can easily make me fall asleep when I’m not even remotely tired. Any college textbook that you aren’t fascinated by will do the trick. A dictionary works well, too.

61. Roll the edge of your pillow under.

If you roll the edge of your pillow under like Dr. Alan Mandell demonstrates in this video, you will have your neck in a more neutral, supported position that promotes comfort and you guessed it – helps promote sleepiness as well!

62. Study something mundane that you can see in the dark.

By focusing your attention on something mundane, it relaxes the mind and effortlessly invites sleep. For example, place your hands right in front of your face in the dark and see how long you can stare at them before you start to drift off to sleep. It won’t take long…

63. Try quietly humming to yourself.

Humming is a form of relaxation and is yet another way to encourage yourself to calm down and invite sleepiness to replace an alert state.

64. Practice gratitude.

Similar to positive thinking, having gratitude at bedtime can be effective at making you fall asleep when you’re not tired but should be. Counting your blessings, so to speak, literally changes your brain, increasing serotonin and dopamine production, which makes you feel happier, more relaxed, and ready for sleep.

65. Practice mindfulness.

There are some nights where the off-switch on our brains doesn’t work. It just keeps going and going…

By being intentional and present in the moment – the key points of mindfulness, stress is drastically decreased while a feeling of calm and inner peace increases. When we can generate a feeling of calm, inner peace, the racing thoughts that were keeping us awake shut themselves off and sleep happens automatically.

66. Disassociate from your thoughts.

Or as Eckhart Tolle would say: Become the watcher of your thoughts. You are not your thoughts, so don’t allow them to get you worked up as you lie in bed. Good thoughts, bad thoughts… it doesn’t matter. When it’s bedtime, disassociate from your thoughts and soon they will cease as you fall into slumber.

67. Design a pleasant dream you’d like to have in your mind.

Getting your mind off your stresses and troubles. Instead, try designing a dream that makes your happy and worry-free. A lot of times, you can consciously design the perfect dream in your head while you’re awake and alert, and then later realize that it aligns with a dream you just had.

Thoughts become things. You really can manifest whatever you want, so why not make it pleasant? You can’t get tired and fall asleep when you’re negative and stressed out, so set the stage properly by painting a positive mental image of a dream you actually want to have. Sleep will naturally follow.

68. Try Autogenic Training.

This one is interesting and not very well-known, but it works very well for insomniacs and those with anxiety.

I think we can all agree that most of our sleep problems are due to racing thoughts, worries, and the like. Autogenic Therapy (AT) takes the natural negative emotional and physical responses that we have while worrying, assuming, telling people off in our heads, etc., and instead grooms our automatic responses to these negative thoughts to be calmer and less intense. This encourages self-healing and sleep.

In reality, it’s not the things that happen to us or the things we stress about that keep us awake – it’s our reaction to them that does. Luckily, we are all in control of how we respond to these things. AT trains the overactive, negative mindset to become inactive via relaxation and body awareness exercises.

For a quick demonstration of an AT session, watch the video below:

69. Wear a biofeedback device so you know how relaxed you are or aren’t each night.

A lot of times, we aren’t aware of how stressed out or anxious we are because we’re too busy trying to get through the moment and cope, but our bodies give off obvious physical signals. Physical signals such as brainwaves, breathing rate, heart rate, temperature, sweat glands, and muscular electrical activity can be measured by biofeedback devices.

Various biofeedback devices are on the market today in the form of smartphone apps and wearable devices like this one on Amazon.

The devices in and of themselves don’t calm you down, but they can help alert you when you need to calm down (when you start sweating, for example) so that you have more self-awareness and can promptly begin a deep breathing, relaxation sequence before things spiral out of control. More self-awareness and relaxation can help you get sleepy and turn your brain off at the end of a stressful day.

70. Try guided imagery meditation.

Guided imagery meditation is another fabulous way to relax and get tired, regardless of how alert you were before. By taking yourself on a short mental vacation, guided by a talented meditation expert so that you can devote all your energy to unwinding, you can fall asleep in record time. There are plenty of guided meditation recordings available.

For example, this one I found on YouTube:

71. Eat more magnesium-rich foods or take a magnesium glycinate supplement.

Magnesium is an essential nutrient in our diet for many reasons, with promoting relaxation and sleep being one of them. If you are having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, magnesium deficiency might be the reason (and you should visit your doctor to get tested for this deficiency.) If you find that you are indeed deficient in magnesium, try eating more of these magnesium-rich foods throughout the day:

  • Leafy dark green vegetables (kale, spinach, collard greens, etc.)
  • Avocados
  • Wild caught fish (salmon, mackerel, halibut, tuna)
  • Bananas
  • Nuts and seeds of all sorts (especially pumpkin seeds!)
  • Wheat germ
  • Plain yogurt, unsweetened (add berries if you need a sweet addition)
  • Dark chocolate (sweetened with erythritol, stevia, monk fruit, or xylitol)

A good magnesium glycinate supplement can be a great, affordable investment as well. You might want to do a bit of research and ask your doctor before you decide which type of magnesium is best for your needs.

I know, I know… There are like a million different types of magnesium supplements, with magnesium citrate being the cheapest, therefore, the most tempting to buy.

If you want my 2 cents on the matter, however, stay away from mag citrate. It’ll likely not help your sleep and probably just give you diarrhea if taken in too large of a quantity.

This magnesium glycinate that I got from Amazon got my sleep back on track within 2 days. Before that, I was taking 3+ hours to fall asleep each night even though I was exhausted.

Yoga nidra didn’t help… Late afternoon exercise didn’t help… Hot baths didn’t help… Regular meditation sessions didn’t help… Leisurely walks before bedtime didn’t help… You get the idea…

I just couldn’t get myself to relax or get my mind to stop racing no matter how hard I tried. The harder I tried, the more stressed out I got from the lack of sleep, which also threw my early rising ritual out the window for a while.

Taking the recommended dosage of 2 100mg tablets twice per day set my body straight.

Plain and simple, magnesium glycinate changed my life and got me sleeping on a normal schedule again. I no longer have to worry about trying to fall asleep with a racing mind yet exhausted body. I just relax and sleep these days – and I heavily attribute it to fixing my magnesium deficiency.

72. Drink valerian tea or take a valerian supplement an hour before bedtime.

Valerian is believed to affect gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), the body’s calming neurotransmitter. Consumed an hour before bed, valerian root invokes drowsiness – so only try this remedy when you are ready to sleep. Valerian tea and oral supplements are equally effective.

73. Try an Ayurvedic oil treatment.

According to Ayurvedic medicine, over-thinking, anxiety, or whatever is causing your sleep issues can be treated with a bit of sesame oil. Just massage some cold-pressed sesame oil on the soles of your feet and put on some socks afterward so you don’t get oil all over your blankets and floor.

74. Practice tai chi.

Tai chi is a traditional Chinese technique that combines movement, meditation, and rhythmic breathing. In addition to improving the flow of energy or “chi”, tai chi also helps improve your mood, posture, balance, flexibility, physical strength, and overall well-being. If done right before bedtime, it serves as a sort of “moving meditation” that will slow you down, and prep your mind and body for sleep.

feng shui sleep

75. Improve the feng shui in your bedroom.

It may seem silly for me to mention something like feng shui in relation to falling asleep when you’re not tired, but your external environment really is important and does impact your whether you realize it consciously or not. For example, consider this: When your desk is a mess, it’s difficult to work. So wouldn’t it make sense that if your bedroom is a mess, you won’t be able to sleep well?

The Chinese art of feng shui pays special attention to how things are arranged in your house. There are many online resources that can assist you in finding the best arrangement of your bedroom to promote a calm, sleep-inducing environment.

76. Practice Yoga Nidra.

Yoga Nidra is special (and quite effective at helping you fall asleep quickly) because it induces a state of consciousness between alert and asleep. This state allows you to become completely relaxed and primes you for top-notch sleep that night. This article explains the journey Yoga Nidra takes you on while the video below allows you to try Yoga Nidra out for yourself.

77. Try homeopathic medicine.

Ignatia is a good homeopathic choice for combatting bedtime anxiety. There are plenty of ignatia homeopathic medicines on Amazon to choose from. Check ’em out!

78. Burn incense.

Calming, relaxing smells might make you tired. I know that’s the case with me when I burn incense. I love sandalwood incense and always have some on hand. Lavender, chamomile, jasmine, frankincense, vanilla, and cedar also work well from my experience.

79. Try the Native American drumming meditation technique.

Native American shaman rely on drumming as a way to enter a deep meditative state and increase intuition and supernatural perception. I don’t know about the increased supernatural perception part, but the rhythmic sound of drumming makes for some great relaxation. Drumming is hypnotic.

80. Try Totem Meditation.

This traditional Native American meditation method combines positive thinking and animal spiritual guidance, creating the perfect recipe for sleep and relaxation. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Meditate on any qualities or character traits your would like to manifest within the next year.
  2. Meditate on any specific animal you believe will help you achieve these goals. While meditating, ask the animal for guidance and for the wisdom to make your goals a reality.

Prior to meditating, you will want to do research on which animals Native American culture is believed to help with what.

81. Practice Bhramari (humming bee breath).

This well-known Pranayama breathing technique can help melt away stress, agitation, headaches and the like, helping you to relax and fall asleep with ease.

Since it can be a little confusing explaining how to do the Bhramari breath, here is a video that demonstrates it:

82. Try belly deep breathing.

By breathing deeply through your belly (not your upper chest) is super relaxing and effective at getting you from alert to sleepy. Simply inhale deeply through your nose while letting your stomach gently and completely fill with air. Hold the breath for a few seconds, then slowly exhale all of the air through your mouth as your stomach retracts. Notice how your stomach expands as you inhale and shrinks as you exhale. Repeat as many times as necessary to get yourself relaxed.

83. Wear earplugs.

If outside noises bother you as much as they bother me, earplugs can be a simple, effective (and not to mention cheap) way to block out the world and get tired for the night.

84. Practice Metta Meditation (Loving Kindness Meditation).

Metta is the Pali word for kindness, benevolence, and goodwill. By increasing our ability to empathize with others and develop compassion for others and oneself through the practice of meditation, the ability to let go, establish inner-peace, and create healthy sleep patterns become inevitable.

Here’s how to do Metta Meditation:

  1. Sit in a meditative, relaxed position.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Purposely allow feelings of kindness and benevolence to arise in your mind and heart.
  4. Start by directing this loving kindness toward yourself, then work your way toward others, and eventually to the entire Universe. Direct your kindness and benevolence toward yourself and others in this order:
    1. Yourself
    2. A good friend
    3. A neutral person or acquaintance
    4. A difficult person
    5. All of the above, equally
    6. Everyone and everything in the entire Universe

85. Practice OM (Mantra) Meditation.

Mantra Meditation (also known as OM Meditation) is an important part of the Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Taoist, and Jain religions, but practicing OM Meditation to help you sleep has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with its ability to relax your body and mind.

Here’s how to properly do OM Meditation:

  1. Sit in a meditative, relaxed upright position with your eyes closed.
  2. Repeat the word “OM” silently in your head over and over throughout the meditation session. The word “OM” is your mantra. A mantra is a word or syllable that is repeated strictly for the purpose of focus and concentration.

As you repeat the mantra, it creates a mental vibration that allows the mind to experience deeper levels of awareness. As you meditate, the mantra becomes increasingly abstract and indistinct, until you’re finally led into the field of pure consciousness from which the vibration arose.
Repetition of the mantra helps you disconnect from the thoughts filling your mind so that perhaps you may slip into the gap between thoughts. The mantra is a tool to support your meditation practice. Mantras can be viewed as ancient power words with subtle intentions that help us connect to spirit, the source of everything in the universe.

Deepak Chopra

An Example of OM Mantra Meditation

86. Try qigong.

Similar to tai chi, but still a bit different, Chinese qigong is the practice of combining movement, breathing techniques, and mental focus. While lying in bed, all it takes is a few minutes of qigong to lull you to sleep.

There are countless variations and styles of qigong to choose from, so hit up YouTube if you need help choosing a qigong method to help you get sleepy.

87. Listen to binaural beats.

Binaural beats are a high-tech auditory illusion that plays slightly different sound frequencies into each ear via earbuds or headphones. You can dive deeper into the specifics if you click here, but what you really need to know is that binaural beats are effective at quickly taking you from an alert state to a state of deep relaxation that is ready to drift off to sleep.

YouTube is full of binaural beat sleep music. Just make sure to stay away from the beta frequency because that one is designed to keep you alert and focused. Listen to alpha, theta, or delta frequencies.

88. Listen to Tibetan singing bowl meditation music.

Tibetan singing bowl meditation music is absolutely beautiful and sleep-inducing. I found this free Spotify playlist of relaxing Tibetan singing bowl meditations

89. Buy your own set of Tibetan singing bowls so you can make your own music.

Like pretty much everything else, Tibetan singing bowls are available on Amazon – just click here. There’s one for every budget and taste.

90. Try alternate nostril breathing.

This is a variation of the left nostril breathing technique outlined in #50. Alternate nostril breathing helps make you feel harmonious and balanced. Here’s how to do it properly:

  1. Sit in a relaxed position. Sitting up in your bed propped up with pillows is fine, too. 
  2. Place your left hand on your left knee.
  3. Close your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale through your left nostril.
  4. Close your left nostril with your right index finger and exhale through your right nostril.
  5. Close your left nostril with your right index finger and inhale through your right nostril.
  6. Close your right nostril with your right thumb and exhale through your left nostril.
  7. Continue this alternating breathing technique for 3 to 5 minutes.

91. Drink Montmorency cherry juice an hour before bedtime.

There is adequate research to back up tart cherry juice as a way to increase melatonin production and improve sleep.

92. Listen to an ASMR video or recording. 

ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response and is characterized by the tingly sensation that is experienced starting at the scalp that makes its way down the neck to the upper spine when triggered by certain auditory or visual stimuli such as whispering or personal attention role-playing.

Personally, ASMR videos usually make me die laughing, but that just means they aren’t an appropriate relaxation tool for me. ASMR isn’t my cup of tea, but it really works for some people. There are tons of ASMR videos on YouTube, so check them out if you’re out of ideas and need to fall asleep stat.

93. Assume and believe you will get all the sleep you need.

Beliefs and assumptions are powerful. Why not use them to your advantage? Assume and believe your body and mind know exactly how much sleep you need – and that you will get that amount. Don’t sweat how many hours that is. Just let your mind and body take care of you.

94. Take a glycine supplement.

Glycine is an amino acid that helps provide you with a good night’s sleep. It also supports your metabolism and brain health. An affordable version is available on Amazon if you click here

95. Take a 5-HTP supplement.

5-HTP helps the body produce more serotonin and regulate your sleep-wake cycles and emotional state. Amazon has an affordably priced 5-HTP supplement available here.

96. Drink passion flower tea.

Passion flower herbal tea is an amazing treatment for insomnia and anxiety, without the annoying side effects of traditional Western medicine. A great quality loose leaf version is available on Amazon if you click here.

97. Drink magnolia bark tea.

This is yet another herbal tea that can help you relax into a peaceful slumber. Just make sure to drink it more than an hour before bedtime so you won’t have to get up to pee when you finally do feel tired.

98. Hug a teddy bear or rolled up blanket.

This seems cheesy, but it has actually helped me relax and fall asleep before when I wasn’t tired. Hugging a real person is nice, too, but you can only take so much of that before one or both of you need to switch to a new position to get more comfortable. Teddy bears and blankets don’t complain. 🙂

99. Rub your stomach.

Rubbing your stomach while lying in bed can help induce deeper relaxation and soothe your digestive system

Here’s how to rub your stomach for optimal relaxation:

  1. Lay on your back and place your hand on your naval.
  2. Gently glide your hand in a clockwise circular motion, gradually allowing the circles to get larger until they exceed the size your stomach.
  3. Gradually decrease the size of the circles, continuing in a clockwise direction until you again reach your navel.
  4. Repeat in a counterclockwise direction.
military secret for falling asleep when not tired

100. Use the U.S. Army’s sleep secret.

U.S. Army soldiers claim to be able to fall asleep in two minutes flat – even in the most stressful, unrelaxing conditions. What’s even more amazing is that they claim this technique works for 96% of those who practice it for two weeks.

This decades-old technique was disclosed in the 1981 book Relax and Win: Championship Performance by Lloyd Bud Winter. The book is out of print and used copies cost almost $200, so don’t bother buying it. So what is the technique? Here it is:

  1. Relax all facial muscles including around your eyes, jaws, and tongue.
  2. Relax and drop down your shoulders as low as possible; follow suit with your upper and lower arm – first the right side, then the left.
  3. Exhale and relax your chest, then your legs, going from your thighs and working your way down to your feet.
  4. Take 10 seconds to clear your mind, then visualize 1 of the 3 mental images:
    •  Lying in a canoe on a calm lake with a clear blue sky overhead.
    • Lying in a black velvet hammock in a quiet room that is completely dark.
    • Silently repeat the words “don’t think” in your head repeatedly for 10 seconds.

Pretty simple, right?

101. Forgive yourself for not feeling tired.

This one can quite possibly be the most difficult on the list to do successfully, but it’s definitely the most powerful and effective way to cooperate with yourself when it comes to getting tired and ready for sleep.

We are often our own harshest critic. Just forgive yourself for not being tired right now. Let yourself off the hook; it’s okay. Beating yourself up over not being tired when it’s time to sleep is going to keep you awake even longer. Just let it go and don’t worry about it. When you put yourself under less pressure to perform (fall asleep, that is), you will finally find yourself drifting off to sleep.

Whoa! That was a super long blog post, but I hope it can help you in some way! If anything, the length of time it took you to read through the 101 ways to fall asleep when not tired would be sufficient in itself to put you to sleep! 😉

I'm the owner of WhyGetUpEarly.com and an enthusiastic early riser. Let's discuss why that is... and maybe I can make you a believer in magical mornings as well!

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