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Can't Sleep? Try These 15 Tips and Tricks People With Insomnia Use to Fall Asleep

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There are lots of reasons why we’re unable to sleep — depression, anxiety, medication-induced insomnia, or even chronic pain — and if you have experienced insomnia, you know it’s utterly frustrating to be unable to fall asleep.

I’ve experienced insomnia a few times in my life, but it’s often transient. Typically, I can fall asleep without too much trouble, and even fall asleep again after nightmares. If your insomnia is more stubborn, though, I can bet you’re always searching for ways to fall asleep or things to do when you’re unable to sleep.

That’s why we asked our community for their own tips for things to do when they can’t sleep. I hope you find some useful tips and tricks in here that you haven’t tried before! Wishing you a restful, peaceful night’s sleep. And, if you’re still unable to fall asleep, join our Up All Night group to chat with others who know what it’s like.

Here’s what our community told us:

“I stretch, read, listen to rain or stream sounds on the Calm app, and sometimes write in my journal.” — @lkayty

“I stay up and just read; if the book is really good I’ll finish it instead of sleeping. I will also write in my journal.” — @lisa_o31

“I open the Calm app and play rain on a car roof! I might play a story but only if I like the reader’s voice!” — @shoppaholicsue

“If I am awake because my thoughts are mean or my emotions run high, I text friends (who I know are sleeping and have their phone on silent) to feel connected and look forward to maybe waking up with their encouraging answers. Plus writing my emotions down helps acknowledge them and that helps me start to process them instead of getting stuck. If I am awake because my thoughts are raging with plans of alternative courses of action, I make myself a cup of tea and write everything down in a plan or to-do lists. If I am awake because it is too hot, I wet a towel and sleep under that.” — @loesb

“Good music is the remedy!” — @engrchris

“Read a very boring book. Also, I read the same chapter over again. Then controlled breathing with a mantra to repeat until I fall asleep.” — @skatcat74

“Listen to music and hug my teddy bear.” — Hilda Antje Vanderheide

“I listen to YouTube videos of relaxing rain through earbuds. I close my eyes and I’m gone within five mins.” — @fionagoodband

“If I have thoughts racing through my head of things I want to do or have to do the next day, I write it all down in a notebook I keep by my bed. Exercise in the evening, do bedtime yoga and meditation, and listen to the sounds of the waves all night. I do not do all of these every day but it helps. I have a hard time with sleep.” — @jaysai572

“I color intricate designs in coloring books, or I work on jigsaw puzzles for hours just to keep my thoughts away from me.” — @yvettesmith3

“I watch Time Team. There’s 20 seasons of British archeological digs to explore and learn. Eventually my brain shuts off and I can sleep. Until then, I learn of Roman villas, medieval towns, bronze age settlements, and prehistoric flint Kalinga sites on the banks of rivers. I discovered the show in 2020. I’ve watched all 20 seasons at least three times.” — @jenwayfaringriver

“I started doing Qigong for sleep on YouTube. Genuinely seemed to help my insomnia.” — @loyalfrend_43

“If thoughts are keeping me up, I’ll journal and get everything out. If generally I can’t sleep, I watch random calming YouTube videos — shoe restoration, metal work, spa videos, etc. They seem to work great for me!” — @wenling

“Drink warm milk and add honey if you like that. Bed routine; go to bed at the same time every day! Sleep kit/basket with things to comfort you after a nightmare. Seriously, this helps.” — @biscuitandtea

“I use different breathing techniques. Sometimes a little yoga. Insight Timer has some really good sleep stories or meditations. There is music on the app too, but I have a tendency to wake up after the song is over so I have to start the song all over again. It puts me right back to sleep though.” — @dcmbermoon19

Getty image by RyanKing999

Originally published: August 1, 2022
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