Design

A Funny Way to Fall Asleep

how-fall-asleep

For the past five years, I’ve had bouts of insomnia. Once I lie down in bed, so many thoughts start running through my head that sleep doesn’t have a chance. I’ve tried breathing techniques and guided meditations (and a couple glasses of wine sometimes does the trick), but nothing is guaranteed to work during those frustrating phases.

Then someone told me about the podcast Sleep With Me, where a guy actually sets out to bore people to sleep with his slow-paced, meandering stories. Have you heard of it? I laughed at first, but was intrigued. Drew Ackerman, who has a day job at a Bay Area library, records three podcasts a week. He’ll discuss whatever pops into his head (Is skim milk just regular milk mixed with water? for example), as well as bigger topics like the latest Game of Thrones episode or his recent trip to Trader Joe’s. Ackerman describes his show as a “lulling, soothing, dull podcast,” which has now found itself in the top 50 at iTunes.

“In fifth grade, I was scared of going to school and would overthink it at night,” he told me. “I’ll never forget being swept away and distracted by the radio show Dr. Demento. That’s a key element of my podcast: Let me just take your mind off what you’re thinking about — I’m going tell you a story, and be as friendly as I can, and a little bit goofy — to distract you long enough for the natural process, the magical process, of drifting off to sleep to take over.”

And that is exactly what his podcast did for me. With my head on my pillow and Ackerman’s deep voice in my headphones, I found myself laughing a few times as it got going, but soon all thoughts were cleared from my mind. I wasn’t worrying about work, or family, or that random thing I said at a party; there was just the drone of his voice — and then it was morning.

Would you ever try this podcast? Do you have any other tricks for falling asleep?

P.S. 8 awesome podcasts, and a five-second way to relax.

(Photo by Alyssa Jiosa.)

  1. Mal says...

    This podcast really works like a charm! I seriously recommend it to anyone who has difficulty falling asleep. I find this especially useful when I wake up at 2am. This puts me right back to sleep.

  2. Seriously, this is magic. I started listening to this podcast on a long red eye flight. It put me to sleep in less than 10 minutes! Though I did have weird dreams, and it was the episode where he does a “walking tour” of the Lost map (not such a good idea on a flight), my life has changed. I have serious sleep issues and falling to sleep is just one of the frustrating things I deal with at night. Now I think the sound of his voice is just a trigger for me to go to sleep. Thank you so much for turning us on to this podcast!!

  3. Shannon says...

    I have this technique I came up with on my own. It’s difficult to describe: slacken my jaw to the point it falls slightly forward and then calmly breathe deeply. The two things must happen together. If your jaw isnt loose, then the breathing is too “active”. If your breath is too shallow, you can’t calm down enough. Somehow it works and I’m asleep in less than 5 minutes. :)

  4. Samantha says...

    I picked up a terrible habit of needing noise to fall asleep while I was a child. As an only child, my parents would take me with them to friends houses for dinner and as I was the only child there, I would just wander over to a couch or comfy chair and fall asleep while the adults talked and finished their meals.

    As I got older, I got into the habit of turning on ‘friends’ on my laptop and falling asleep to that. When my (now husband) and I moved in together, I had to figure out a different solution! I downloaded the Harry Potter series audiobooks (narrated by the wonderful Stephen Fry) and I haven’t looked back since! I’ve probably listened to them every night for the last 4 years.

    I’ve tried a few other podcasts/audiobooks over the years, but none have worked the way the Potter series has. I think I’ll give this one a try, though!

  5. Courtney says...

    Been listening to Sleep With Me since getting pregnant with my second and just couldn’t sleep anymore. I don’t know what it is about him, but I am out before my sleep timer hits 15 minutes. :)

  6. Summer says...

    I know that TVs are frowned upon in the bedroom, because (insert opinion here, but usually smugness typically ranks pretty high), but I always leave it on to fall asleep for this exact reason. I put it on something I’ve seen a million times (though also any tv show from the 70s works), and boom: asleep.

  7. Kate says...

    I fall asleep listening to one of 4 of my favorite “This American Life” episodes. I know what’s going to happen, so am not compelled to stay up and see how it ends!

  8. Momzi says...

    I fell asleep to Dr Demento as well. I love his voice. And just thinking about it … zzzzzz

  9. india says...

    Thank you thank you thank you!!! I finally listened to this last night. I was still awake at 3.30am and thought “well nothing else is working why not try the podcast”. I think I fell asleep in about 10minutes!! I will definitely be listening again tonight. Thanks so much :)

  10. Tracy says...

    Love this recommendation. And I must offer you one of my own: The SPOONK mat. It is an Acupressure mat that really works! Perfect for when your mind is racing before bed. I purchased for my daughter but works so well, I now use it myself. Under $50 on Amazon.

  11. My insomnia doesn’t prevent me from falling asleep. No, it wakes me up at 2 am with a range of anxieties. No problem ever gets solved at 2 am, by the way, but, wow, can I fret at that hour. I solve for the problem by getting enough regular exercise to be gently tired, banishing TV, phone, and iPad in the hour before bed, and then popping 1 benedryl when I get into bed with my book. Works like a charm!

  12. I definitely need to check out that podcast. I have the worst insomnia. My husband reading to me at night sure does the trick of knocking me right out. Funny to find out it is a thing…

  13. Rebekah says...

    This was me!
    I also listened to that podcast ereligiously but sometimes that wouldn’t even work.

    but what DID work was cutting out artificial dyes and sugar before bed.
    We used to eat popcorn & m&ms before bed and when I started doing dye free m&ms or no m&ms I could sleep again !

  14. kate says...

    What I’ve done for several years is this: you lie there, turn your mind off and stop thinking of everything else, and slowly ‘put yourself to sleep’ starting with your toes. Think of your toes, getting heavy and falling asleep, then move up to the rest of your feet, your heels, your ankles, calves… After you practice this a while you’ll be able to fall asleep instantly just by thinking of your toes getting heavy. This works even if you’re caffeinated and are thinking “Oh I’ll never fall asleep!”

  15. I realise this has been mentioned by a few people but I know that ASMR videos are often used by people to fall asleep. My boyfriend says that he feels like a pins and needles feeling in his head with these, though I don’t personally get affected. Could be worth a try?

    I think that the podcast probably works in a similar way, good luck!

  16. I use this podcast to help me sleep on long haul flights. It’s like magic!

  17. Hannah says...

    Lately I have been obsessed with ASMR videos on YouTube. They are usually long videos but the first 5 minutes usually gets me really relaxed and drifting off. You have to wear headphones to watch these though. They are great because if you’re like me, you get that tingly sensation in your head when the people on the videos speak softly.

  18. Rach in Oz says...

    This podcast didn’t work for me because I found the meandering style, repetition of phrases, etc – in other words, the bits designed to put you to sleep – really irritating. Part of my brain hung on tight and wouldn’t relax because it was trying to compute the rambling!
    I think that for me it’s important to be at least a bit engaged in the subject matter; then I do drift off. Joanna Lumley’s memoir in audio book format worked well because I love her voice. See also: the BBC’s Desert Island Discs podcast and the Meditation Oasis podcast.

  19. Alyssa says...

    That is really funny. What a great name for it, too! I am a teacher and a mom so I’m up worrying about children a lot. I went to a Brain Gym workshop a couple of months ago and the instructor said to lie on your back with arms and ankles crossed (I think of it as a mummy pose) and then press your tongue up into the roof of your mouth. It calms the part of the brain that processes these kinds of thoughts and it works!

  20. That podcast sounds hilarious, but I kind of want to use it since I have trouble sleeping sometimes too!

  21. Maria says...

    I can do this with many different podcasts. For me, the trick is to turn it down so that i can hear it, but not so loud that it keeps me awake. Sometimes it won’t work if it’s too interesting. When I was a kid I would fall asleep with the tv on. I find the podcast thing is similar. If it’s one that I actually care about listening to I’ll use the sleep timer and set it to turn off at the end of the episode. My husband does this too. Only problem for him is that he listens to comedy podcasts so will need to change it if it’s too funny otherwise he can’t sleep and wakes me with his laughing.

  22. Shira says...

    I’ve always preferred to fall asleep with the television on for this same reason – I find that the noise distracts me from my thoughts.

  23. The CHAR D’ORSAY SANDAL is too die for!

    Thanks for the link and have a wonderful time at the beach!

  24. I can totally understand you. I have some serious insomnia problems myself. The thoughts simply are too loud.
    I think, I’m going to try this, seriously: if it works for you and thousands of other people, why shoudn’t it help me?
    Thank for this really strange but somewhat cool clue!

  25. Such an original and interesting post I loved reading it!!x
    FashionPhilosophyy.blogspot.com

  26. I would TOTALLY try this. Most of the time I can easily get to sleep because my husband isn’t tired so he’ll yak on and on IN DETAIL about his job in IT and zzzzzzzz

  27. I’ve had serious anxiety my whole life (I’m 42). What worked for me? I work out like a maniac first thing in the morning and at 10 pm (sometimes 9), I can’t get into bed fast enough.

  28. Ivy says...

    I’m a hypnotist and I have sleep issues – have since childhood I can remember being about 5 and wandering around our apartment while my parents slept.
    This will sound goofy, but I finally learned to just PRETEND I’m asleep, breathing deep and eventually the darkness/colors of the darkness start to look like a tunnel or vortex , and I know if I “dive in” , I’ll be asleep soon…works every time…just keep breathing deep and relaxing your body every time you exhale… Eventually after pretending to be sleeping, you can be.

  29. Nina says...

    Ha, I thought it was going to sleep with your face smashed into a pillow like the picture. I, too, have a hard time getting to sleep. I have found that keeping a journal and doing a stream of conciousness journaling (as described by The Artist’s Way by Julie Cameron) it really helps. Plus I started taking this supplement – Thrive – http://www.netc23.le-vel.com and it totally helps too. It has kelp in it, which I think is the ingredient that is helping me. But I also have a whole slew of other things I do – same routine before I go to sleep, no caffeine late (actually haven’t had any since I started Thrive), sound machine…I switched sides of the bed this week and two nights of no sleep (aggravated by an exploding toilet) was a killer…switched back last night and got great sleep. oh and black out curtains, like Jo has recommended have also helped tremendously! :)

  30. Cassie says...

    I work 3rd shift and Sleep With Me is the only thing that for sure helps me fall asleep to nap before I head into the hospital at 7p or 11p for a shift. My husband told me about the podcast last year and i rolled my eyes at him until I listened and found myself being woken up by my nap alarm for the first time in my last three years of working overnights. Really awesome.

    • Johanna says...

      I’m happy to hear a review from a fellow night shifter! I work 7p-7a and hardest time falling asleep for a nap this afternoon before my Monday. I just added this to my Podcast Addict and will be giving it a shot on my next “Monday” on Saturday night.

  31. lauren says...

    Oh man- I found sleep with me as I went through some tumultuous times this year. It has saved me so much sleep! It’s funny indeed, but so so helpful.

  32. Megan says...

    I LOVE THIS PODCAST! I started using it on business trips when I was in different timezone, or on red-eye flights but now I use it whenever I really need to clear my mind and fall asleep. Ive told anyone who will listen about it, it is the best best best thing. Ive never made it to the end of an episode. So glad I’m not alone :)

  33. DeniG says...

    Years ago, Lingo (the game show) was on at 11pm and I watched and played along before bed. When I hit a brick wall of insomnia, I went back to watching it out of boredom, and noticed that I actually fell asleep doing so. It’s not on tv anymore so YouTube to the rescue. I listen to that same episode every night on my phone or iPad–it’s slightly interesting enough to keep my mind occupied, but dull enough to easily drift off to. It only takes a minute or two most nights now and I’m out. I’ve been doing it for years and it still works–part of my bedtime routine now.

  34. i am soooo happy to have found this! can’t wait to try

    hammyta.wordpress.com

  35. I totally want to try this. I’ve had crazy insomnia after having my first baby. Normally I’d laugh at this sort of thing, but I’m desperate, ha! xo

  36. This sounds amazing!! I’ve only recently begun to struggle with falling asleep at night, so this couldn’t have come at a better time! Wondering if I’ll wind up being distracted by his funny stories and intriguing questions though :)

    Best,
    http://www.femininefeminists.me

  37. That is hilarious, I’ll have to look into this, because there are definitely times where I can’t get to sleep, and when that happens, I have my fiance read to me in Latin — weird, I know, but it works!

    — Dara // http://www.peoniesandhoneybees.com

  38. Jamie Howe says...

    I always fall asleep to podcasts…I think I would try Sleep with Me b/c more often than not I end up missing podcasts I want to listen to b/c I fall asleep and have to re-download them again during waking hours. I also sleep next to a snorer so sometimes if he’s really sawing logs I will pop in headphones and listen to a podcast to drown him out.

  39. This is so brilliant and funny! I don’t know if I have insomnia per se, but I do struggle with falling asleep from time to time. This is such an interesting concept. I’ll have to take a look! Or rather a listen! :)

    xo Helen @ http://www.KaleidoscopeSpinning.com

  40. I thought of this post last night at 4 am as I tossed and turned. I gave it a try. It took a long time, but I finally did start to drift off. Something about his rambling stories and the way he constantly goes off on tangents is very soothing. It’s like he’s giving your brain permission to shut off. Thanks for the rec!

  41. I would try it for the fun of it ;)

  42. Love this podcast for falling asleep! I also enjoy listening to the Myths and Legends podcast while falling asleep. It’s like getting a grown up take on a fairy tale. He dives into topics like Central American folklore, King Arthur, and ancient Greek mythology. He’s also kind of sassy and his side commentary is hilarious.

  43. MrsB says...

    I listen to him sometimes. I also listen to Ted Talks. They are not boring. But measured speaking will always knock me out. Thank goodness for podcasts.

  44. Jolene Shaw says...

    Oh my goodness, I thought I was the only one that agonises over random/stupid/awkward things I have said in some or other social setting. I have a special archive of those just waiting for bedtime:/

  45. Now that’s a proactive spin at boring others to sleep! I think this is a great idea – I’m surprised that there’s an actual show built on the premise, but I’m not surprised that it works. Most insomniacs do battle with an overflow of thoughts and podcasts like this would do well to distract and calm them. I’ll make sure to check it out the next time I get an episode!

  46. This is such a nice idea! I’m someone who has suffered from insomnia since I was a kid. Some nights the only way I can fall asleep is if my husband tells me a “bedtime story” of a similar kind. :)

  47. Teresa says...

    This podcast is the best when you just can’t make the voice in your head shut the EFF up!! I’ve recommended it many times.

  48. LOL I listen to this too and I never make it long enough to know what the episode was about. He knocks me out. Something about his voice and the tangential nature of it all. Love it. :)

  49. YES! I started listening to it about a month ago. On nights where I shouldn’t let a few beers lull me to sleep it is perfect. So glad you’re sharing him with your audience.

  50. Kirby says...

    I suffered from horrible postpartum insomnia with my first child, and again in pregnancy with my second. I did this online self-guided course over a 5 week span and I’m telling you, the insomnia has never returned! It truly worked wonders–and it was cheap! You do one short reading a day and fill out a sleep log which you email to the doctor each week, and he emails you back personalized recommendations. Highly highly recommend!! http://www.cbtforinsomnia.com

  51. This is brilliant, and totally funny. I love that somewhere is out there doing this.

    Ever since my freshman year of college, when my dorm was right across from frat row and my roommate gave me the whole series of Harry Potter books on audio, I’ve listened to those on and off to get to sleep. The narrator, Jim Dale, has a deep, comforting British voice that lulls me but the content is interesting enough to listen to for a while until I do nod off.

    Rod Stryker also has a yoga nidra practice that I listened to for a while, and the breathing patterns are still ones I use to get to sleep even though I go months between listening.

    • Julia says...

      I thought I was the only one who did this with Harry Potter! I completely agree–his voice is SO soothing and the book gives me something to listen to so my mind doesn’t run in circles.

  52. Amanda says...

    When my mind races at bedtime I have found “singing” a song, any song in my head does the trick. As a social worker it is common for work to sneak into my thoughts before bed. This helps technique helps me put those thoughts aside so I can get much needed rest.

  53. I have a friend who suffers from insomnia and he’s had success with Sleep with Me too! I have my moments where I can’t sleep, so I’ll have to give it a try sometime. So far it has a good track record :)

  54. Penny says...

    My routine is as follows; no cafeine after midday, peppermint tea before bed. No screens in the bedroom, read a dull book. Lights off then; 4,7,8 – breathe in for 4 seconds, breathe out for 4, breathe in for 7, out for 7, in for 8, out for 8. Repeat cycle until zzzzzzzzzz works every time!

  55. Heather says...

    Ever since I was little, I have fallen asleep to stories. Books on tape when I was younger, then podcasts or audiobooks. But I found that all of my favorite books or podcasts were keeping me up since I was so curious about what the topic was. Now I listen to 30 Rock. It’s perfect since I know what’s happening without looking at a bright screen and, more importantly, I know what’s going to happen so I don’t have to keep myself up. Plus it is funny enough that I’m not thinking of that stupid thing I never should have said to that person three years ago. I’ve “watched” the whole season like this so many times. I would prefer no screens in my bedroom, but it’s such a sure fire way that I can’t help it.

  56. I’m very similar to you in that insomnia comes and goes – mostly when big things are happening (wedding planning, changing jobs, work stress). I had a college professor who told us that anything repetitive helped your brain waves get into the right rhythm for sleep. A few years ago when we bought a house with a lot of Windows instead of counting sheep, I counted Windows. Often I wouldn’t make it all the way around the house, and I still can’t tell you how many windows we have after doing this many nights.

    The other thing I do is count down from 1175. There’s something about the rhythm of saying in my head “eleven seventy five”, “eleven seventy four”, etc that turns my brain off and sets the rhythm. I’ve never made it to 1100. No idea where I came up with that method.

  57. Alex says...

    I love this. If I am ever about to go crazy from worry thoughts- I get on the big tractor we own and start the 4 hour process of mowing our lawn… The noise and soothing vibration like a baby-bouncer drowns out my worries – at least enough for me to be human again. Plus there is a cup holder for your beer.

  58. CindyLou says...

    Ha, this reminds me of a boyfriend I had. When I had insomnia he could lull me to sleep with meandering stories about his childhood friends. He had a slow Southern manner of speaking, and it worked every time.

    • Charli says...

      Haha. I have my husband tell me stories about Turkish history or different kinds of ships or battles of various wars (he was a history major). Bores me right to sleep every time.

  59. Jane says...

    I always use my ‘sound asleep’ pillow. It has a cord that leads from the pillow to your iPod/phone etc on the beside cabinet (although I’m sure there are blue tooth versions available). It has speakers inside it so you don’t end up with the headphone cord wrapped around your neck. I set an audio book going on my iPod, set a time – usually 20 minutes – for it to stop playing, and just listen to something. Most days, I cannot recall hearing more than about ten words as it sends me straight to sleep. My husband cannot hear anything as the speaker is right next to my ear. Hope you find something that works!

  60. Jennifer says...

    Have you tried melatonin?

  61. What a funny (but apparently great) idea! I would never think of listening to a podcast to sleep as usually I try to pay as close attention as possible. I’m lucky and rarely have trouble falling asleep, unless I drink coffee too late, but when my bf is out of town the silence in bed kind of creeps me out. I would absolutely try this out for that!

  62. SD says...

    NPR does the trick for me, especially in the middle of the night. British voices sharing news of far away places takes my mind of my to-do list and puts me right back to sleep.

  63. Michelle says...

    I have yet to make it through an entire Sleep With Me episode. By the morning, I don’t remember anything from the previous night’s musings, so I always return to the same exact episode. It’s similar to those times when you’re distracted and keep reading the same line in a book/article over and over again, except in a good way. :)

  64. Emily says...

    This is genius! I’ll be downloading it today. I also suffer stretches of insomnia and I always want to be “told a story” but who tells adults a bedtime story?

  65. If I’m having a hard time getting my brain to stop, I play Bejeweled on my phone. Caution: Don’t hold your phone above your head while playing, or you could wake yourself up when your arms slack and the phone falls on your face. Not that I would know anything about that.

  66. Alison says...

    When I have trouble falling asleep I visualize how other people I know are sleeping. For example, my sister sleeps on the left side of the bed and her bed faces this wall and her room is oriented in that cardinal direction…a few people in and I drift right off. So random but it totally works!

  67. Kate says...

    SleepPhones are the best for podcasting to sleep. They act as headphones and an eye mask. Game changing. http://www.sleepphones.com/

  68. Hi, I’m a herbalist, usually I use a herb called Skullcap with Passion flower for over-thinking. One cup of tea made with a 50/50 blend. A teaspoon to a mug of water and infused for 10mind and drunk in the hour before bed. I also get people to write out everything that’s on their mind in a journal so they know they won’t forger anything, it’s all written down. Would love to know if you try it and whether it works for you.

  69. Sophie says...

    My sister (a psychologist) told me to count when I’m really stressed and can’t fall asleep. Even better: count backwards from 1000. Evidently it’s really hard to worry and do numbers at the same time. Something else that helps: doing crossword puzzles. Especially the hard ones.

  70. Margit Van Schaick says...

    During several episodes of treatment in hospital, which made it very difficult to fall asleep, I discovered a way to kind of “self-hypnotize” myself to fall asleep quickly and easily. I shut my eyes after tucking my covers(at home, I use a featherbed duvet) around my neck and shoulders. I concentrate on looking at my eyelids, as if I would eventually be able to see through them. What I actually see appear to be many, many sparkling stars. Just focus on them! I fall asleep, without fail, in a few seconds. No kidding. What a relief, especially since sleep and rest are so important in getting, or staying, well. Now that I’m home, all I need to do is tuck my duvet under my ears and around my shoulders and I’m immediately asleep.

    • Julia says...

      I’m going to try this, thanks for sharing!

      I’m so glad to hear you’re feeling better. ❤

  71. Hillary says...

    I have always had a hard time falling asleep, even when I was a little kid. Now adding anxiety on top of that, is is even worse! I found that repeating a yoga sequence in my head–complete with the “inhale” and “exhale” cues to each pose and visualizing my body doing it–knocks me right out!

  72. This sounds like exactly what I need! I’ve struggled getting to sleep for as long as I can remember. I usually pop the TV on and listen to that with my eyes closed until I drift off, or read on my kindle

    Steph – http://www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

  73. Rebecca says...

    I find this works with almost any podcast or audio book. I sometimes just need something to listen to besides my own brain so I can fall asleep!

  74. I’ve been listening to the Sleep with me Podcast since he began and I’m totally addicted! I use These http://www.sleepphones.com almost every night. Lately I’ve been toggling between Sleep with me and Meditation Oasis podcast (Relax into Sleep – Guided Meditation).

    Sleep is serious business! It’s funny how I have this whole sleep routine and my husband could literally sleep standing up! Good sleepers seriously have no clue how good they have it.

    Xo Lendy
    http://www.twoplusluna.com

  75. Brittany says...

    I will start to watch an episode of Bob Ross. His voice and the sounds of his painting lull me to sleep.

  76. Sarah says...

    This is legit my favourite thing to listen to before bed – so glad to see you post about it! I listen to it every night and sometimes he’s so incredibly funny that I wake up a little to giggle and then drift back off. It’s become the most comforting nighttime routine to hear him say “ladies and gentleman, boys and girls and friends beyond the binary…” :) <3

  77. Vilde says...

    I have BEEN this podcast for my sometimes-anxious kid. Seriously, just droning on endlessly about… whatever. The trouble is when he requests the same story the next night. Errr, what was it I said?

  78. Amy says...

    I know you are already into running, but I’ll share anyways- ensuring I get exercise during the week helps my mind stay clearer and fall asleep better. Last week I missed both of the runs I had planned and by the end of a busy work week my head was swimming and I felt too buzzed to fall asleep.
    But I’ve also never had full blown insomnia… That would be tough!

  79. Carrie says...

    A couple drops of lavender oil on my wrists does it. I’ve used it every night for years, I sleep like a baby!

    • Sarah says...

      Me too! I apply it on my temples and it instantly relaxes me!

  80. anna says...

    I had increasingly bad insomnia for a few years until I realized I was in peri-menopause. I started using (with a doctor’s guidance) a topical progesterone cream at night. Now I fall asleep effortlessly and wake up refreshed! I guess low progesterone is a common cause of insomnia… I just wish I’d known about it sooner!

  81. Ashley Em says...

    I SWEAR by my sleep machine!! It makes a noise like a big box fan to drown out outside noise. While it’s apparently great for babies, I got one when I had three roommates and a lot of noise at night… and now, I still use it and love it. In fact, my former roommate (and an ex boyfriend) both bought them too, they’re so great. It’s like that goes on, and my brain goes off. Magic. https://www.marpac.com/electro-mechanical-category/product/34-dohm-ss.html

    • Carrie says...

      My sister has used one for all her babies, they seem to do the trick.

      I think one of my nephews has gotten used to his though, I was rocking him to sleep recently and I don’t know..maybe 10 minutes later I come to and realize I was the one who fell asleep and he was wide awake just watching me :)

  82. Pamela says...

    I use a cup of jo tip given for staying calm if your nervous (I think maybe if you are scared of flying), but it works great for distracting my mind at bedtime. Go through the alphabet and think of a person’s name for each letter. Its distracting enough but not engaging enough to keep me up!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh yes!! i do that on elevators! :)

  83. Carrie says...

    I usually try to picture myself in a kayak and focus on the action of paddling. Paddle on the left side, paddle on the right side, keep repeating. Try to really feel like you’re there and imagine the water being pushed. As long as I can keep my wandering mind focused on paddling, I’ll go right to sleep. Another thing that works is trying to focus on remembering the lyrics of a song. I usually go with Elton’s John’s “Your Song.” Start from the beginning, “It’s a little bit funny, this feeling inside…” Right to sleep.

  84. This sound so good!

    I find that whenever I do yoga, that night, I sleep better. And also, a specific calming, natural, herbal tea that my mom recommended to me, before bed, works like a charm…

    Alina
    http://www.eclecticalu.blogspot.com

  85. Megan S. says...

    I am going to try this tonight! I am 7+ months pregnant and getting back to sleep after waking up is a challenge. Thanks for the tip!

  86. Amy says...

    I don’t usually have actual insomnia, but it does regularly take me a long time to fall asleep. My dad’s tip, which sometimes works, was to flex every muscle, starting at the toes. Wiggle all the toes, and relax them. Flex the arches, and relax them. Rotate your ankles; relax…all the way up. By the end I usually feel like I’m sinking into my bed and a little more ready to sleep. I don’t like listening to voices (audio books, podcasts, etc) so I doubt I would try the tip in the article but I love how Charlotte (in the comments) has been telling herself the same stories since childhood!

    Otherwise a game or three of Boggle on my phone is very repetitive and can sometimes make me sleepy too.

    • Megan Cahn says...

      My mom does the same thing!

  87. Anne says...

    Thumps up to Bob Ross :-) as well as to watching West Wing episodes (I love the show – but I’ve seen it a thousand times so somehow it’s like good old friend…)

  88. Laura says...

    ASMR videos are the answer, they are incredibly relaxing and specifically designed to help you drift off!

    • Kelsey says...

      Yes!

    • Stacie says...

      I second the ASMR videos. I didn’t know it was a thing, and when I stumbled on it through YouTube and realized I wasn’t the only weirdo who experienced it, it was a revelation! Imagine the deep relaxation and pleasure you feel when, for example, someone plays with your hair, or the mind-numbing sounds of someone writing in a notebook with a pencil. “ASMRtists” synthesize these situations and I’ve found it to be THE way for me to fight insomnia, stress, anxiety, etc. It’s more effective than medication for me. Give it a chance and if you’re weirded out, try another channel or two.

    • AnnAnn says...

      Totally agree! I love ‘ASMR with Wanda & Paula.’ I have a hard time listening to “Sleep with me,” but these ladies are FANTASTIC!

    • K says...

      totally agree on the ASMR videos. All over YouTube, soft, relaxing voices, and you can choose from a variety of random topics/ role-plays/ whatever. I use it every night.

    • Nicky says...

      I was hoping someone would mention ASMR videos, they are great especially if you have ASMR, which I do.

  89. I do math. Multiplication and division. Booring.

    • Megan Cahn says...

      That would definitely put me to sleep ;)

  90. If I anticipate having trouble falling asleep, I’ll
    1. do a workout so I feel more tired
    2. dim the bathroom lights for my night-time routine
    3. take a melatonin, and
    4. do a meditation from this free app: https://app.stopbreathethink.org/.

    I also use a molded sleep mask sometimes (like this https://www.amazon.com/Rated-Patented-Sleep-Mask-Satisfaction/dp/B00M9BC1M8) and a white noise machine/app or box fan. It’s a high maintenance sleep routine but I’m also well-rested nearly every day!

  91. Carmen B. says...

    Thanks for posting about this. I’m a horrible sleeper.
    For some reason all my anxieties and worries show up when I want to get some sleep. I end up getting up multiple times and not sleeping well or enough. I’m always looking for new things to try.

    I didn’t have much luck with the breathing and guided meditations.
    Lately I’ve been taking 3mg of Melatonin an hour or two before I go to bed and that has been working. Yay!
    Otherwise, 1 or 2 glasses of wine will do it.

  92. I can never fall asleep to music or someone talking, i’m too curious so I’ll naturally pay attention. It’s an interesting concept, though!

  93. Wendela says...

    Love this. I listen to audiobooks to fall asleep for the same reason–lots of slightly dull books available from the library through an iPhone app–and it works great most of the time. Occasionally I misjudge and get something too exciting or suspenseful but otherwise it’s a great way to handle insomnia. Highly recommended!

  94. Sarah says...

    I read somewhat recently that if you have trouble falling asleep to try to name an animal for every letter of the alphabet. I use it all the time now, and I’ve never made it to Z. But after awhile I got too good and had to branch out. I’ve done names of people, fruits/vegetables, etc. Just mindless lists that distract your brain enough to nod off.

    • Megan Cahn says...

      I am definitely going to try this!

  95. So sorry you had problems with sleeping. Fortunately I sleep so deep that I even don’t hear the noise my husband makes during he sleeps :) But if I ever would have problems with sleeping I would try out this boring stories!
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena
    http://www.dressedwithsoul.com

  96. Here’s my trick. I create a bed time ritual that triggers my mind and body into falling asleep. A routine is MOST important. First, I take a bath every night because this is supposed to lower your base body temperature, thus preparing your body for sleep. If your body temperature is too high, then it’s harder to fall asleep. Second, I make myself a glass of chocolate milk. Third, I turn on my favorite tv show. Fourth, if this doesn’t work, I pull out my kindle, set the screen to super dim, and start reading until my eyes get tired. Works like a charm. Oh yea, and try to put away your phone!!

    • I agree completely about a routine but I don’t have a good one yet. I’m going to try your routine tonight – down to the chocolate milk!

  97. Emily says...

    Target-brand Zzquil and Terry Gross’s Fresh Air podcasts. I have to make sure they don’t review a musician’s new album, because the music interrupts her lovely soothing voice. I love to listen to her while I’m awake, as well, but during a long stretch of “too many anxious thoughts to sleep,” she’s kept me from staying awake all night worrying.

  98. Jon says...

    Bob Ross being posted on YouTube changed my life. So soothing, so calming, the combination of Bob’s whisper-soft voice, and brush sounds…

    “There are no mistakes, just happy accidents.”

    • Yes! And he’s on Netflix now!

    • I was just telling my husband that bob Ross’ voice was a gift! “Let’s just put a happy little…” ZzZzZz.

  99. Jessie says...

    At least on flights, listening to BBC World News is helpful. Soothing radio voices talking about world news puts me right to sleep. Actually, just about any mellow British voice works for me.

  100. A says...

    I bet listening to this through the Dreampad http://www.dreampadsleep.com would be amazing, then no one else has to hear. I like their music, but i could see alternatives being helpful.

  101. Mallory says...

    I fall asleep every night listening to the Fresh Air podcast. Not that it’s boring, but Terry Gross’s voice is so soothing! I look forward to it because the content is always interesting but sure enough I pass out in 15 minutes. If I was really into the episode (sometimes based on title alone since I may have fallen asleep 5 min in) I’ll finish it on my way to work the next morning.

  102. Beth says...

    My sister taught me a trick to falling asleep when I was little -she has trouble sleeping now, so I have to ask her if she remembers it. But the trick is that in your head you talk yourself through the next day in painstaking -and boring- detail. “I’m going to wake up on me own ten minutes before my alarm goes off. Then when the alarm goes off, I’ll feel great and put my left foot on the floor followed by right….then I’ll walk to the bathroom and brush my teeth…” Etc. I rarely make it past taking a shower before I’m asleep.

  103. Ahh, that is funny…For the past year, I have struggled with insomnia and it is so frustrating as I really need a solid 8 hours of sleep to function during the day. Sometimes before going to bed, a nasty nagging voice pops up in my head saying “you are not going to sleep tonight” and of course, then the struggle begins or rather if I let my mind decide it will be a struggle, then it becomes one. What has worked for me is to fully accept that I might not sleep and being totally ok with it. The moment I see it as a battle and force my mind to quiet down to fall asleep, I fail. Now when I go to bed, I just let my mind wander and relax into it instead of trying to control it…Don’t know if it makes sense…

  104. Have you heard of ASMR? It’s kind of the same concept — people talking about nothing and anything in a really slow, soothing way. I thought it was totally weird at first, but I tried out one of the videos on YouTube on a business trip (I have such a hard time falling asleep in new places!) and it was so relaxing! My husband thinks I’m bananas for listening to the videos, but I swear they work!

  105. Definitely a unique idea. I love it!

  106. Melanie says...

    Great idea. I’ll have to let my husband know – he usually just puts the West Wing (which he’s watched a cojillion times) on Netflix on his phone and falls asleep to that. My own trick is to think ‘flakey thoughts’ as I call them. I plan out outfits for the next week or two or redecorate a gallery wall or room in my head or plan out my garden. They’re easy thoughts and don’t tend to get into anything tricky or serious and before you know it – asleep!

    • Britt says...

      Me too! I rearrange my furniture in my head

    • heather says...

      We’ve been trying this with our 3YO! He has so much trouble falling asleep and recently I’ve been working with him to visualize things moving (usually, a crane truck lifting a beam, setting it down, going back down to get the next beam, back up). Next step: getting him to do these visualizations on his own without parental guidance…

  107. t says...

    My wife falls asleep to streaming videos of forensic files for the same reason. The narrator is very monotone and it is interesting enough that her mind doesn’t wander but dull and quiet enough to let her fall to sleep. Of course I must sleep with a pillow over my head so I don’t think about murder. I will have to share this tip with her – a change of topics is very welcome IMO.

    • Lauren E. says...

      This comment had me laughing out loud. My fiance has a similar weirdo habit (watching documentaries about prisons, autopsies, WWII, etc) and then he invested in some blue tooth headphones so that I can fall asleep peacefully dreaming of chocolate cake and shopping at Chanel. :)

    • Allison says...

      I do the same thing! Ha. Something about the narrator’s voice (and the fact that I think I’ve seen every single episode, so there’s no need to stay awake to see the outcome of the case), puts me to sleep every time.

    • Lia says...

      Me too! I tend to watch Lockup. Humans are odd. lol

  108. Charlotte K says...

    For many, many years I have lulled myself to sleep by telling myself stories in my head. I have had the same set of general stories for years–I mean since childhood–about 5 or 6 of them, that probably started out long ago from TV show plots or books I read. I embellish them and the stories have changed over the years, characters come and go, plots, settings. For a very long time I thought I was the only person who does this, but I have since found many people do it. Unless I have something really difficult going on in my life, this internal narrative always puts me to sleep within 10 minutes. And I am very fond of these funny old tales at this point.