5 Tips For Going To Sleep Quickly

Wow, Day 16 already! How time flies when you’re having fun.

As the old saying goes – “Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like an apple”.

Given that lately, I go to sleep 6 times more often than most people, I figured I’d share some of the ways I get to sleep.

Yes, apart from being dead tired. That helps. But I’m not always tired. Though if I don’t sleep I get knocked for six.

Use one or a combination of these when you’re struggling to go to sleep.

Tip #1 Darkness Be My Friend

It’s very important to have the room as dark as possible. Either close the blinds and block all the light coming through cracks or put something over your eyes. Like a thick sock. Or a towel. Or steal your wife’s pillow (I recommend only trying this when she’s not sleeping!).

Since light in your eyes is one of the best ways of waking up quickly, it stands to reason that the absense of light will assist you falling asleep quickly.

Tip #2 Tense and Release

This is a method I saw on a documentary about sleep habits.

Basically, you tense every muscle in your body progressively from your feet to your face. Hold each muscle contraction for a few seconds. When you release the contraction your muscle should be more relaxed than before the contraction.

I’ve noticed the best results are from relaxing my neck, shoulders and jaw. That’s where I tend to hold a lot of tension, but it may be different for you. Just try it and see what works.

Tip #3 How Was Your Day?

This is a new one I got from Leo Babauta at Zen Habits.

Basically, you walk through your day like you’re watching a home movie. Try to notice every detail and fully immerse yourself in the experience.

The key is it can’t be “a typical day”. It needs to be the actual day you just had. That way your brain is just recalling events that happened, rather than using brainpower to create a typical day on the fly.

This technique was a little trickier for me to get my head around because I don’t exactly have “a day”.

I found it works just as well if you recall recent experiences. Just random things that have happened. Conversations are not so good for me because I keep thinking of things I should have said. Sport is out of the question because it puts me in the zone and my heart rate goes up. Things at a walking pace work best.

Tip #4 That’s Why We Pray

If you have any standard prayers you say, now’s a good time to trot them out. I’m just hoping God doesn’t care that as I fall asleep I forget where I’m up to in a complex prayer like the Our Father.

There’s no point beating yourself up over it. Just keep going through it.

I find poems that you know by heart work well here too. Just don’t do something with vivid action imagery like Charge of the Light Brigade or The Man From Snowy River lol!

Tip #5 Be Still

A lot of the time, when we can’t get to sleep, it’s because we’re fidgeting. You know when you just can’t get comfortable?

I read somewhere years ago that it could well be a cause-effect thing. So your moving is causing you to not be comfortable, which causes you to move, etc.

As long as you’re not in any real pain, just force yourself to stop moving. Fight the urge to “get comfortable”. Then try to distract your mind with one of the other tips.

Bonus Tip: Don’t Do Drugs Before Bed

I’m not talking about doing illicit drugs – that you should never do that sort of drug goes without saying. I’ve never taken an illicit substance and my brain thanks me every day for that.

No, I’m talking about those things you don’t think of as drugs, but really are. Alcohol and caffeine especially. You physically can’t get a decent sleep while those are in your system.

If you’ve had a few to drink, stay awake, drink lots of water, til you’re sober. NEVER go to bed drunk or even tipsy. The time you lose while getting the alcohol out of your system, you’ll make up for in quality sleep.

Same thing with caffeine. If you are out for coffee til late, just stay up longer, drinking water to dilute the effects of the caffeine, until your heart calms down.

I’ve got friends who can fall asleep after having a double shot espresso. To them I say, good on you, but you’re not going to get to quality sleep until the caffeine is gone, leading to you sleeping longer than you need or general tiredness & lethargy the next day.

A large, greasy or carb laden meal before bed is also a killer for restful sleep. You might feel super drowsy, but fight it until you have a bit of time to digest it and your body will thank you.

I hope those tips help you get to sleep quicker.

If you have any techniques you use to good effect, I’d love to hear about them. Just describe it in the comments below.


  1. I find sitting on the couch for longer than two episodes of a series generally does it! LoL May also help that I have a spunky guy to fall asleep on…

  2. I found that I don’t sleep well if I’ve had artificial food colourings. One thing that helps me every night is lavender oil. I use it in hand/face cream, but you can put a drop on a tissue and wipe it lightly over your pillow/sheets. Don’t light an oil burner!

    • The smell of lavendar gives me psychological pain. Ever since I put my hand in a lavendar bush when I was 7 to get a tennis ball we were playing with. I grabbed a paper wasp nest instead. I was stung on the arm so many times my arm went yellow from the elbow out. So I don’t really do well with Lavendar 🙂

    • But the artificial colours thing is fascinating. It lends credence to the stories about red cordial! I wonder, are you affected by certain colours more than others?

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