The art of falling asleep is just that—an art. For the non-nappers and restless sleepers among us, a good night’s sleep seems about as attainable as a trip to Narnia. Settling in, getting the correct balance of darkness, being comfortable, and achieving optimal caffeine intake is a delicate balance that only the most sound sleepers seem to have mastered.
Not to worry, though: The sleep-savvy community on Reddit has shared some helpful tips to achieving that sought-after snooze. We’ve mined the site for everything from the obvious to the obscure to the totally bizarre tips that have helped these users successfully drift off to dreamland. Hey, don’t knock them until you’ve tried them.
Try a mental game.
Kind of like counting sheep, user ChrissiTea recommends taking your mind off of not being able to go to sleep by occupying your brain space with a mental exercise. Some ideas are to count down backwards from 100 or to pick a word and create new ones by changing one letter at a time. For a real challenge, try picking a category and then coming up with a relevant word to fit that category from every letter of the alphabet.
Count your breaths.
Reddit user PunTasTick swears by a trick learned from the TV show, The Mentalist, that involves counting each of your breaths. For every inhale, count “1” in your head, and count “2” for every exhale and repeat. “I do it all the time when it’s a night that I realize I’m worried about something and I can’t sleep. I think by giving your brain an easy mundane task, it can stop thinking so hard about all of the other things going on” says the user.
Try ASMR videos.
User doublejinxed says ASMR (which stands for autonomous sensory meridian response) YouTube videos help immensely. “I watch them most nights before bed, and it’s both enjoyable and makes me sleepy. Gentle whispering is my favorite.”
Nail your nap playlist.
User Hrossafluga recommends an “extreme chilled vibes playlist” called Focus Pocus on Spotify.
Try coffee napping.
Alhough it sounds wildly counterintuitive, there were threads upon threads about “coffee napping,” which is essentially chugging a cup of coffee, and then taking a 20-minute nap. “When you wake up, you feel amazing,” says user syxthsense. “The science behind it is that adenosine gets rinsed out of the brain as we sleep, and then the coffee can outcompete it for the receptors that normally let us know we are getting tired. Because of this, the coffee lasts far longer, and has more of a wakefulness-promoting effect, rather than a stimulating effect.”
Nap somewhere other than your bedroom. SirEDCaLot recommends changing the situation—don’t nap in the same place or manner as you do when it’s time for core sleep. “Do it somewhere else—on the couch, reclining in a chair, etc. If you do this while you’re feeling tired, it’s much more likely that you’ll fall asleep quickly, get 10 to 30 minutes of snooze time, and then wake up feeling refreshed (or at least feel refreshed after you walk around a bit).”
Try having your legs up a wall.
User ushotmessexpress says that in addition to meditation, lying on your bed with your feet and legs flush up against the wall helps you drift off to dreamland. “If your bed isn’t against the wall, then lying on the floor works as well,” ushotmessexpress says. “Just staying like that for five minutes should show improvement in calming down your brain. If you sleep with your phone in your room, turn it on ‘do not disturb,’ and put it across the room with the screen down.”
Hypnosis might work, too.
User shaykai posted a sleep hypnosis session that’s just under an hour. “It puts most people asleep before the recording finishes,” shaykai says.
There’s an app for that.
User throwaway27514 suggests apps available for Android and iOS that monitor your sleep and wake you up at the “right” time. The Android one is called “Sleep Like Android.”
Make rest—not necessarily sleep—the goal.
Notes user Qlaras, “I’ve done a 15 to 20 minute nap with the goal of lying down so that the heart doesn’t have to work to pump blood anywhere. Then, I close my eyes to give them a rest, and simply relax.” If possible, Qlaras does this in the sun, as a change of pace from sitting in an office all day.
Avoid tossing and turning while napping.
In order to be economical about your drifting time, user MizterUltimaman says to avoiding tossing and turning. “Tossing and turning to get into a ‘comfy’ position requires muscle activation to move the body, which makes a person more physically alert, and keeps the person from really being able to sleep,” MizterUltimaman says. “And it’s not like that ‘comfy’ position stays comfy. Five minutes later, an imperfection in the position will be realized. So just not using muscles to move will make the body sleepier.”
Do you have any favorite crazy sleep remedies that work? Let us know!
This story was originally published October, 2017. It was updated to include new tips March, 2018.