How to Sleep Better and Beat Insomnia: 5 Simple Tips

Sometimes I feel pretty groggy and need to get some sleep. Here I am on a ferry boat going from Cebu to Bohol, Philippines. Photo credit: Juvy Martin.
Sometimes I feel pretty groggy and need to get some sleep. Here I am on a ferry boat going from Cebu to Bohol, Philippines. Photo credit: Juvy Martin.

Trouble sleeping? I know just how you feel.

I am an insanely light sleeper. The slightest sounds can wake me up instantly. I have enjoyed sleeping deeply at times, but that's the exception in my case.

These sleep tips can help. They're all natural and have worked for me over a period of decades. When you're looking for that good night rest, one or all of these methods could be just what you're looking for.

Only once have I ever slept through my alarm clock, but that was after working with 4 hours of sleep a night, for over a week. I woke up that one time with my arm draped over the alarm clock and I had no memory of ever having turned it off. I don't recommend working insane hours just to ensure that you'll go to sleep. There are far better ways.

How do I get to sleep when I really, really need to get some shut-eye and merely laying down isn't working on its own?

Here I am with my wife, Juvy. She makes certain I take good care of myself. Copyright Rod Martin, Jr.
Here I am with my wife, Juvy. She makes certain I take good care of myself. Copyright Rod Martin, Jr.

5 Simple Tips for Sleeping Better

1) Noise muffler! I tried ear plugs, earmuffs and even a pillow over my head. Nothing like that worked entirely. They helped, but I needed something more.

I see that these days there are sound canceling headphones available. I wish I'd had those 40 years ago, but having bulky or even slender headphones strapped to my head doesn't exactly sound comfortable, at least in bed. On an airplane, something like the sound canceling headphones may prove vital on international flights.

2) Something like white noise can do the trick. You know that noise on a television set when you've switched to a channel with no signal or when a station has gone off the air? My preference is a slightly noisy fan or air conditioner. I'm not talking squeaky-type noisy; I'm talking a monotone, droning sound. One fan I bought created a hurricane and a righteously homogenous sound. This might not be for you. A smaller fan should do the trick, but not the ultra-quiet kind.

3) Soothing music or nature sounds. There are CDs and tapes with this kind of content—ocean waves, wind in the trees, a babbling brook and similar. I leave this kind of thing on repeat play.

Sometimes when I have big meeting or a vacation trip, I find it more difficult to sleep the night before. Photo credits: Juvy Martin.
Sometimes when I have big meeting or a vacation trip, I find it more difficult to sleep the night before. Photo credits: Juvy Martin.

4) Breathing exercises. I have found that typical sleep breathing is shallow and slow. Mimic this and your body will catch on -- "Hey, it must be time to sleep!" Take a few deep breaths first so you have plenty of oxygen, then do the following:

  • Breath in about halfway (not deeply).
  • Immediately let it out, and let it out comfortably (no need to force it all out).
  • Hold 3-4 seconds.
  • Repeat the above until you fall asleep.

5) Put your mind to work on something fun. Worries can keep you awake forever. So, take your mind off of worrying and place it on planning that dream vacation. Can't afford it? Don't worry about that, either. Hey, it's your dream; money doesn't matter there. If you still feel it does, then dream up the money. Get creative.

By one of my professions, I'm a software engineer. I have many of my own fun programming projects, so in order to go to sleep, I plan my programming strategies. After about 10-20 steps, I lose track and find myself waking up the next morning. I'm sure there are plenty of projects or fantasies which could occupy your mind. Get lost in the details and the dreams will carry you the rest of the way.

Ahh! Sleep at last! Photo credit: Juvy Martin.
Ahh! Sleep at last! Photo credit: Juvy Martin.

If you're wondering how to sleep all night, these might help there, too. But if you experience discomfort after sleeping only a few short hours, you may have something more serious going on.

I have to confess that I've lost my faith in doctors for long-term health maintenance. After all, they're trained indirectly by the pharmaceutical industry. Strong conflict of interest there. In a pinch, they're great for emergencies, but not for health maintenance. I recommend you read more about natural cures, improving your body pH (alkalinity), exercising, drinking lots of water, and drinking lots of water (oh yes, don't forget to drink lots of water).

Hopefully, you'll never again have to ask, "How can I get a good night's sleep?" A good night's rest is essential for good health. Sleep well. Stay healthy!

Able Planet Sound Clarity Active Noise Canceling Headphones (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Able Planet Sound Clarity Active Noise Canceling Headphones (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

I wish they had this 40 years ago. State-of-the-art active noise cancellation, and can operates normal headphones, too. Full-size ear cups.

 
Bliss - Exceptional Nature Sounds for Relaxation, Meditation and Deep Sleep
Bliss - Exceptional Nature Sounds for Relaxation, Meditation and Deep Sleep

Ocean waves, woodland stream and bird song, rainforest and tropical birds, soothing rain, and thunderous storm.

 

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Comments 18 comments

Doc Wordinger profile image

Doc Wordinger 4 years ago from Manchester, UK

This is a really well-written hub with some invaluable advice.

Focusing on breathing is the tip that works best for me personally. I allow my mind to gently concentrate on my breathing: the air moving in and out of my lungs, my chest slowly rising and falling. This directs my focus away from the endless torrent of thoughts that are streaming through my head (the kind that keep you awake) and induces a mild meditative state. It doesn't always work but I know when it has because I feel like I've moved from a slightly agitated state into a much calmer one. From there, sleep usually follows soon after and even if it doesn't, I tend to find myself in a condition where I can just lie peacefully in bed without worrying about when I'll actually fall asleep.

Playing white noise - this is also a very handy solution for anyone kept awake by tinnitus.

Cool hub.


lone77star profile image

lone77star 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Thanks, @Doc Wordinger. I appreciate your feedback. The differences in technique which you shared are valuable and I learned something from you, too. Again, thanks!


KimberlyLake profile image

KimberlyLake 4 years ago from California

I frequently have trouble sleeping. I will try these tips. Voted up and useful


shara63 profile image

shara63 4 years ago from Delhi

gud hub however wud like to add one more very important point that works a lot at least from my experience i can say so...that is before reting to bed Go for a short prayer or practice meditation for a short period ie.5-7 minutes...it works miraculously!


lone77star profile image

lone77star 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

@KimberlyLake, thanks for stopping by. I hope the tips help. Please let me know.


lone77star profile image

lone77star 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

@shara63, excellent advice. Setting the soul at peace is certainly a prerequisite and something I sometimes take for granted.


shara63 profile image

shara63 4 years ago from Delhi

Thankyou lone77star...you admit means you submit (your will) to God & you are free from all worries... God Bless You!


lone77star profile image

lone77star 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Beautiful words, @shara63. All real solutions come from God.

I remember reading an article a couple of decades ago about a rare group of people who need only 1-2 hours of sleep a night, if that. The psychological profile showed that they had zero levels of worry compared to the rest of us. With faith in the Lord, that is possible for all of us.


pagosa86 profile image

pagosa86 4 years ago from Pagosa Springs, Colorado, USA

Good ideas. I also need complete darkness so a good sleep mask solves that problem for me.


lone77star profile image

lone77star 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Thanks, @pagosa86. Good point and good suggestion. I've used a sleep mask before, when I worked graveyard shift (40 years ago). Thankfully, I haven't needed one since then.


MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 4 years ago from Hershey, Pa.

Music doesn't help me at all - if it's music i like then I actively want to listen to it and don't fall asleep, and if it's music I don't care for I don't want to listen to it. My difficulty is, I hate sleeping . . . I mean the 'turning yourself off' aspect of sleeping. I don't fret, I don't worry - I just find it very difficult to simply stop thinking about things.

One thing that is a help is white noise. Not nature sounds, other than a steady rain or waterfall sound, that's ok - but when you can pick-out the rhythm in the looped wave sound or babbling brook sound, etc, then I become attentive to the pattern, and that hinders my falling sleep. What I've come to do is; I tune the radio to a non-station of nothing but steady static, and then I visualize that steady background 'buzzz' into a waterfall tone . . . some in-between station spots have a thin electric sounding 'buzzz', but some have a thick, low kind of 'hum' - those are the ones I can, in my head, turn into a waterfall.


lone77star profile image

lone77star 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

@MickeySr, outstanding! I understand what you mean by the white noise. My wife like to play music at night, but it kept me awake, too.

I too like the white noise type of filler.

I remember reading an article years ago about a rare type of individual who needs 0-2 hours of sleep a night. In fact, I knew such a person in Los Angeles -- an Indian restaurant owner. I loved his chicken curry! He spent his time reading, while is wife and daughter slept. The article said that those with this "difference" typically have a very low "worry" profile. I've been attempting to eliminate the background chatter that is "worry." Maybe I'll have that one figured out by next lifetime....


MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 4 years ago from Hershey, Pa.

I've read that Bob Hope not only needed very little sleep, but that he could instantly 'turn off' and just drop into a deep, restful sleep . . . they say it was from years of travel (on USO tours, etc) . . . he would be on a plane, having a meeting about the next stop, and wrap things up and announce he was going to get some sleep now, and just drop his head and be asleep in an instant. I wish . . ! . . I would to be able to eliminate about 6 hours of sleep time a night and be able to fall asleep instantly. One of the joys of heaven . . ? . . I think it will be no more sleep, no more nights of little deaths.


lone77star profile image

lone77star 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Hi @MickeySr, interesting to hear about Bob Hope. And I hope you're right about Heaven. I think so. Given that we are inherently spirit, we won't be tied down to the constraints of these Homo sapiens bodies.


Buzzbee profile image

Buzzbee 4 years ago from The County of the Winkies in Oz

Great advice for all us insomniacs!


lone77star profile image

lone77star 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Thanks, @Buzzbee. Some of it learned the hard way, when I needed it most. I hope it helps.


KT Banks profile image

KT Banks 4 years ago from Texas

I seem to have some periods of my life where it is harder to reach a good (or deep) level of sleep. Now is one of them. We do have an air filter machine in our room that emits white noise, bet even so, I sleep very lightly. My husband says I will wake up if someone down the street sneezes. I think it comes from a childhood that could sometimes be traumatic.


lone77star profile image

lone77star 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Thanks, @KT Banks. I've been a very light sleeper all of my life.

Traumatic childhood? Perhaps. I had a couple of nasty falls that I don't remember. And I also remember when I was 9 months old being yelled at by my mother for not putting my toys back on the shelf. I remember very clearly not understanding her English; it was still a new language to me.

But I also think trauma can come from prior lives, too.

A few times in my life I've been able to sleep very soundly, but only when I was exhausted. After working 36 hours and after a week and a half with an average of only 4 hours sleep a night, I woke up one morning with my arm draped over the alarm clock, having turned it off in my sleep. I didn't remember having done that. The next thing I did was to add a backup alarm clock set 5-10 minutes after the first and to place it on the opposite side of the room.

I remember reading an article several years ago (20?) that the rare individual who needs only between zero and 2 hours of sleep a night has a very low "worry" profile.

Not thinking of myself (worry) has had some magical effects in my own life. I realized that only recently. Overcoming the worry habit is a tough nut to crack, but I think I'm on to something good.

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