Getting a good night’s sleep when you’re not able to fall asleep in the first place is impossible. Maybe you’re anxious, not sleepy or you have a sleeping problem like insomnia; regardless of what the cause of your inability to fall asleep is, truth is that it needs to be fixed. Now, it may sound not convincing enough, but you can actually use your mind and thoughts to help yourself fall asleep. The way you think, and what you think, can be a powerful tool that can work better than even sleeping pills or other sleeping methods.
Therefore, in the following paragraphs, we will present some of the things you can think about in order to fall asleep fast, and stay asleep longer. These recommendations have already been tested out by numerous people out there, and are claimed to work. So, we hope they’ll work for you too. Now, let’s get started!
1. Making Up Stories
The truth is, not every single person out there is an imaginative individual who has no problem coming up with stories that never happened. However, even though you might be the least imaginative person, you can still come up with a short story, that might not even make sense. That is how much it takes for your brain to get tired of thinking and simply start shutting off into sleep.
Making up stories is an interesting way to keep your brain occupied and tired, so we definitely recommend you try this first. To make things even more interesting, try making up a story where you’re the leading character, and where you have to interact with a fictional world. If you still have a hard time making up a story, try placing yourself into a fictional world of a game, a movie, a tv show or your favorite fictional book; it can be anything that you’ve already seen or read.
2. Thinking Of Music
Now, if making up stories doesn’t sound interesting enough, then you should try coming up with music. When you lie down in your bed, you can pretend that you’re making music (even though you cannot play an instrument for example), or you can pretend as if you’re filming a music video. If you’re having a hard time coming up with music, try thinking of a song that you like and pretend that you’re singing it or filming a video for it.
Some people have even tried making up concerts in their head, or thought of singing with some famous singers. So, try seeing which scenario fits you the most and makes you fall asleep the fastest. Thinking of music is generally also relaxing and calming, so this might also contribute to falling asleep faster.
3. Thinking Of Numbers
You might think to yourself that of course, numbers are incredibly boring. Why would you do that to yourself? But, because numbers are boring and not too engaging, thinking of them might tire your mind and brain out and help you fall asleep faster. Here are some number-thoughts you might try out tonight;
- Counting back – set the highest number for yourself, for example, let the number 1000 be the starting point. And then, try to slowly count backward. It might be easy in the beginning, but the longer you count, the sleepier you will get. And, eventually, you might fall asleep while counting.
- Counting cars – if you live in a city, where the noise never stops, try counting the cars you hear outside, driving by your place. This will require a little bit of focus and concentration on the sounds, but, because it is not too engaging, it might bore you into sleep as well.
- Writing numbers in your mind – this one is very interesting; try thinking of a board where you’re writing numbers. However, don’t think of numbers being written from 0 onwards; think of a more complicated number, like 1789. Start writing the following numbers in your mind, and if you skip one, you have to start over.
4. Thinking Of Boring Things
One of the best ways to fall asleep is to simply tire your brain out by thinking of the most boring things ever. For example, you can try thinking about mapping out every single blade of grass in the park next to your home, or how you have to peel hundreds of potatoes. Or, try thinking of counting every single grain of sand in Sahara. You get the gist; think of the things that are most boring to you.
This method is not too engaging (because it is not possible to count everything) and it won’t make you more wakeful. Moreover, it will make you incredibly sleepy and you will fall asleep in just a few seconds (sometimes minutes, if you’re really committed to the counting, for example).
5. Spelling Backwards
In case you’re not into thinking about numbers and counting, we recommend you try spelling backward. You will do this by thinking of random words (that aren’t too easy or too short). Now, try to spell them backward and pronouncing them in your head. This can be an interesting exercise for your brain, but also, a great way to make your brain more tired and sleepy. This method is great because it is not too stimulating, and at the same time, becomes boring rather quickly. These two things always count for a quick sleep onset, which is exactly what we’re looking for.
6. Reverse Psychology
Even though it may be weird to use reverse psychology on yourself, it is also very useful to do so. When we say ‘reverse psychology’, we think of the idea of trying to convince yourself to not fall asleep. You will do this by thinking of staying awake as soon as you lie into your bed, or even by repeating out loud a sentence like ‘do not fall asleep’. You can even try to keep your eyes open for the full effect.
Now, to fall asleep, try to blink slowly while you’re doing all of the previous steps. If you feel your eyelids getting heavier and harder to keep the eyes open, then keep your eyes closed. However, make sure to continue thinking of not falling asleep, until you actually fall asleep.
7. A To-Do List
Sure, sometimes thinking of the things you have to do can make you even more stressed and unable to fall asleep. But, sometimes, if you try thinking of the things you have to complete the next day can help you fall asleep faster.
For example, the least harmful way to execute this method is to create a to-do list in your mind. Think of the things you have to do and add them to this imaginary list. Try to also think of the rewards in case you manage to complete the list the next day. This way, you will not only fall asleep faster but also happier and more appreciative of yourself.
8. Go To A Happy Place
Another thing you can think about as you’re trying to fall asleep is a happy place. This should be a place or even a moment in your life when you’ve felt genuinely happy. Now, whether it is an actual place, an event, or a person you were with that made you happy; it doesn’t matter. Just try to relive the experience and the emotion again, by thinking of all the things that, for example, led to that moment or the little details that made you realize that you’re happy.
Or, you can also try and go the fictional way, by thinking of a place where you believe you would be happy. Think of a personal oasis, where you’re surrounded by your favorite colors, things, people. It can be also a place far away from anyone, where you’re, for example, enjoying a wonderful view of the sea, or a mountain. It doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as it makes you relaxed and calm, try to evoke it in your mind.
9. Thinking Of Nature
We all know that nature is very calming and relaxing. So, why not try to think about nature before sleep. For example, you can picture yourself taking a walk in a forest, and exploring it. Or, maybe you can imagine that it is raining outside. The goal is to imagine yourself in a natural, relaxing environment, and to be as detailed as possible. Try to experience the smell of the environment, or try to feel or hear what you’re surrounded by in this imaginary place. This will help you calm down if you’re, for example, anxious or stressed.
This method is actually already tested and recommended by numerous studies. The method is often referred to as ‘guided imagery’, and it often helps people focus on something positive and relaxing, which promotes sleepiness and helps you fall asleep fast. Just make sure to keep yourself in the imaginary scenery until you eventually drift off into the land of Nod.
We truly hope that you’ll try some of the recommended methods and topics as a part of your sleeping routine. These recommendations have been tested by people who either have insomnia, have generally trouble falling asleep, who are anxious or stressed, or even people who work third shifts and experience disrupted sleep. If the methods worked for them, we are sure they’ll work for you as well. Overall, thinking about boring things, or happy past events is much healthier than taking medication and sleeping pills.