Sleeplessness sucks. I'm extremely jealous of people who have the ability to fall asleep in under 30 minutes every night, pretty without fail — but maybe Redditor elephantbandit has the right idea: Instead of simply envying folks who can conk out easily, s/he asked them how they do it. The resulting AskReddit thread yielded several thousand comments with the content sharing community's best tips for how to fall asleep in 30 minutes or less — and while the tips might not be game-changing, they still might come in handy for those of us who regularly suffer bouts of mild insomnia.
It's true that some of the answers are… shall we say, slightly less helpful. A ton of the responses simply make some variation on the statement, “I lay down and I go to sleep” — which, while technically answering the question, doesn't actually provide any useful information (or, I would argue, add to the discussion at all, therefore defeating the point of posting in AskReddit in the first place); the absolute least helpful response even just says, “Be tired.” Thanks, bro. I understand that not everyone has experienced the awfulness that is being tired, yet not being able to fall asleep… but seriously. You're not helping.
Scattered amongst the dross, though, there's still plenty of good advice to be had, as well. Here are 12 of my favorite responses (some of which I hadn't heard before — always a delight!); head on over to AskReddit for more. What's your favorite no-fail way to fall asleep?
1. Tell yourself a story.
I do this sometimes. It doesn't always work, but if I'm feeling anxious about real life, it helps get my mind off it for a while.
2. Keep your bed only for sleeping.
And sex. Sleeping and sex, but nothing else. It's frequently repeated advice, which I persist in not following (I regularly read in bed). I do not lead by example in this case.
On that note…
But the key is reading something boring. Try this.
4. Use the 4-7-8 sleep hack.
We've been over this one before, so consider this comment another endorsement for it.
5. Take a bath.
You probably already know the “no screens” thing — but taking a bath can help, too. You know how we're always told to make sure the temperature is right for sleeping before you settle in for the night? A bath will help regulate your temperature. I realize that it's summer now, so if you're having trouble keeping cool while sleeping, Reddit has some tips for that, too.
6. Have kids (haha).
Actually, no. Don't have kids. Not only will you be constantly exhausted, yet without the spare time required for sleep, but moreover, having kids for any reason other than wanting to, y'know, raise a family is a terrible idea.
7. Take care of yourself.
The jury's still out on whether exercising right before bed is good or bad for your sleep cycle, but working out in generally and eating healthily will go a long way towards helping you sleep better.
I had to look this one up, but apparently folks who experience Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response feel awesome whenever they listen to someone whispering. Does the phrase “brain orgasm” appeal to you? Then give it a shot. Try the GentleWhispering YouTube channel, maybe combined with this method:
9. Make yourself stay awake.
I'll admit that I'm a little skeptical about this one, but according to another Redditor who commented below trophyballs, forcing yourself to stay awake might actually make you sleepy.
10. Develop a routine.
Never underestimate the value of a bedtime ritual. Another Redditor called it a “sleep trigger,” which I kind of dig.
11. Watch a nature documentary.
Technically this one goes against the “no screens” rule, but given how many people swear by that eight-hour waterfall video, maybe there are exceptions to the rule.
12. Do this.
All of it. And then also click through to the permalink, because PainMatrix was nice enough to stick around and answer some questions, too. Hello, impromptu AMA with a bonafide sleep expert!