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10 Ways to Get Rid of Insomnia

Updated on October 3, 2012


It can be a lifelong partner or strike every once in a while with cruel precision. Some of us chase it away with relative ease, finding a cure at the bottom of a warm glass of milk, while others have to fight tooth and nail to get a few hours of sleep every night. But whether inability to sleep is a constant companion or an unexpected visitor, most of us wish it would leave us alone.

As someone who had a sleep disorder for the past 14 years, I know exactly what it's like to feel very exhausted from doing very little. Insomnia is not only a problem, it's also a habit. You stay up past your bedtime once, twice, and by the end of the month, you can't remember when you didn't have dark circles under your eyes.

For some people–like writers and artists–insomnia is an occupational hazard. For the rest of us, it's a sign of a problem or stress. If you stay up every night to engage in a creative activity of some sort, you'll probably be doing that for the rest of your life. But if the only reason you stay up is to watch TV, surf the web, or walk restlessly around your flat, it's probably time for a change.

So, it seems you can't sleep

Take a pill, as a good doctor would say, or a shot of vodka, as a bad doctor might (you never know, until you try). Here is a list of 10 unconventional insomnia remedies that I found useful or especially popular among the sleepless web surfers.

Caution: some of these may put you to sleep.

1. Wear yourself out

Taking things easy can be great. Taking things too easy can leave you with more energy than your body needs at the end of the day. If you notice a decrease in your daily and overall physical activity, weight gain, and unusual alertness during nighttime, your sleep problems may be the result of your slow days.

If you're taking a break from work/school and find yourself with too much time on your hands, make sure to burn enough energy daily to wear yourself out before sleep. Set aside some time every day to do something energetic, like swimming, jogging, doing daily chores or shopping on your own two feet instead of taking a car. Get lots of fresh air and take long walks in the evening or ride a bicycle home.

2. Wear your brain out

Another way to wear yourself out before bed is mentally. Try learning or memorizing something right before going to sleep, just when your body is starting to relax. Falling asleep this way comes with two major benefits.

First of all, you'll be using your nightly vigilance to learn something you're interested in, like foreign words or historic events you wanted to brush up on. Another major perk is that cramming right before sleep really drives things home. Memorizing things is strangely easier with your head resting gently on a pillow rather than your friend's shoulder in an overlit classroom. I can't remember how many times I fell asleep in front of my computer in the middle of Rosetta Stone exercise (which doesn't put me to sleep during daytime, by the way).

3. Sleep in fixed hours

Self-discipline is everything, as some of my old mentors would say. More than anything it applies to forming healthy habits, such as the ones regarding your sleep.

Work out a sleep schedule you want to follow and stick to it, waking up and going to bed at the same time. A great tool for that is Use this website to figure out how many hours you have to sleep in order to feel good, and how many you can skip without feeling exhausted. Sleepytime operates under the impression that waking up in the middle of a sleep cycle leaves you feeling groggy and exhausted, but waking up in between cycles keeps you fresh and alert. So, if you want to get enough sleep and wake up feeling good, consult to do the calculations before setting your alarm.

4. Have a nightly ritual

Preparing for bed is a ritual in its own, but you can always take it up a notch if you want. Do the same things before retreating to bed every night and soon your body will start associating them with sleep. Relaxation and warm shower can be a part of your nightly routine.

Another way to stimulate your subconscious through association is by adding scents to your little sleep ritual. Try using the same soap or burning special incense every night before turning in. Scents have a powerful connection to memory and aromatherapy will help you to relax.

5. Get bored

That's right, you heard me. Instead of spending the night browsing for items on Etsy or getting engrossed in a powerful detective thriller, read something dull and boring, like the manual for your new plasma TV. Or, if your will is stronger than mine, Moby Dick. The trick is to keep reading past the point of mere boredom until you sink into oblivion.

In other words, whatever makes you yawn, makes you sleep.

6. Take caffeine and nicotine out of the diet

These two not only can provoke insomnia, but also add to your anxiety.

7. Watch how alcohol affects you

When you suffer form a sleep disorder, you may be advised to decrease the intake of alcohol. For a non-drinker, however, even a small glass of wine can work as well as a magic potion that instantly puts you to sleep. Monitor your sleeping habits and how your daily activity affects them. It's possible that drinking late at night results in your inability to enjoy sleep.

8. Get up and do something

If you just can't seem to fall asleep, don't toss and turn or stare listlessly at the ceiling. Instead get up and do something relaxing (but not stimulating like browsing the web) until you start feeling sleepy.

9. Wake up at the usual hours (even if you didn't get enough sleep)

It may be difficult at first, but maintaining a healthy sleep-wake cycle is more important in the long run, as it helps to form the habit. So even if you're missing some precious hours of sleep, make an effort to get up at the usual time to stay in sync with the rhythm your body is used to.

10. Get a sleep journal

You had a horrible night of sleep but can't decide what caused it? Get a sleep diary to keep track of what you do and eat before calling it a night and how that affects your ability to rest. Perhaps finishing that burrito two hours before sleep was not a sound idea after all. Next time, when in doubt, consult your sleep journal.

Summing up

So, those were the 10 Ways to Get Rid of Insomnia. Some of them old and tested, others new and unconventional. Try one, and maybe you'll save yourself the pain of having to hide those dark circles with even darker shades. You don't want your boss to think you're having too much fun, do you?

Thank God for Fridays.


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    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Insomnia and I do battle every once in a while, mostly during the winter. Great ideas here. Voted up and sharing.

    • Alisa Arishina profile image

      Alisa Arishina 4 years ago

      Thanks a lot, TToombs08!

    • craiglyn profile image

      Lynda 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Very interesting hub. I have always been a good sleeper with the exception of those months following the death of my husband. Today I seem to have fit back into my normal pattern. Two of your points resonated most with me - I have a time frame in which I go to bed - and I pretty repeat the same process every night. Get into my jammies at a certain time, after a bath most nights, turn down the bed and then go back to the great room to either watch a bit of TV - or read. Thanks for this article with all of its great suggestions.

    • Alisa Arishina profile image

      Alisa Arishina 4 years ago


      Very sorry to hear about your husband. I'm glad your sleep is getting better though. Stress can make it difficult for us to sleep, even when it seems we have no strength left whatsoever. I hope your nightly ritual soothes you and helps you calm your mind.

      I've very glad you liked my article!

    • visionandfocus profile image

      visionandfocus 4 years ago from North York, Canada

      Insomnia is such a pervasive problem I wrote several hubs about it. I agree with all your points and I LOVE your pics, esp. the sheep ones! Thanks for sharing!

    • Alisa Arishina profile image

      Alisa Arishina 4 years ago


      Thanks a lot for your warm words, I'm glad you liked my pics. I'm starting to realize many people had written articles about insomnia. Way to come original, eh?

    • Steve West profile image

      Steve West 4 years ago from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

      Excellent information. I feel the effects of insomnia on occasion as well. Great hub. Up, useful, and interesting.

    • cathysue5924 profile image

      cathysue5924 4 years ago from USA

      Great information, thanks for all the advice, I'll sure try some of them out. Take care.

    • janshares profile image

      Janis Leslie Evans 4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Hi Alisa,

      Congrats on you're nomination for this hub. It's a well-written, well-organized and useful hub. I love the pics, so visually appealing. You have my vote up and awesome, and for Rising Star. I knew you would do well from your seeing your first hub on teas. Good luck!

    • myawn profile image

      myawn 4 years ago from Florida

      Great advise I have been working late at night and can't these may help. Nice hub!

    • profile image

      PWalker281 4 years ago

      Excellent advice all around for people, like me, who suffer occasional insomnia.

      I totally agree with reading something boring at night. I have a habit of reading face-paced page turners at night, and it takes me a while to settle down so I can fall asleep.

      I have also found that the mattress you sleep on can help or hinder sleep. I've recently been sleeping on a thin sofa bed mattress and had an awful time getting to sleep, in addition to various aches and pains in my shoulders, hips, and legs when I get up in the morning. Then I put one of those memory foam mattress toppers on it and am now sleeping like a baby, thankfully!

      Your graphics are lovely! Voted up and shared.

    • Alisa Arishina profile image

      Alisa Arishina 4 years ago

      Thank you guys, I appreciate your votes.

    • Vitorfior profile image

      Vitorfior 4 years ago

      Very useful tips! Thanks for the article!

    • angel4967 profile image

      Cindy Pierre 4 years ago from Nevada

      Yep doctors threw pills at me about a year ago and I think I have built up a tolerance to them now. Great info, I might have to try the one or two I haven't yet.

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 4 years ago from California

      Only two therapies work: making oneself drowsy and/or shutting down the mind. Both can be difficult to do. I know - I've tried, and still I lie awake for hours and hours. Anyway, Seconal works great but it's dangerous. So is Ambien. Later!

    • Beata Stasak profile image

      Beata Stasak 4 years ago from Western Australia

      Great informative article, thank you for sharing and congratulation on your nomination, well deserved:)

    • Alisa Arishina profile image

      Alisa Arishina 4 years ago

      Dear commenters and followers!

      I am moving my account to

      You can follow me there if you enjoyed my hubs.

      Thanks a lot for your support!


    • bridalletter profile image

      Brenda Kyle 4 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      Great tips. I agree on the the fact that it seems to be a job hazard for writers.

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      I've had pretty much horrible, lifelong insomnia! I've recently started using some meditation sleep podcast thing and it really helps!

    • Keith Ham profile image

      Keith Ham 4 years ago from Niagara Falls, Ontario

      I have severe insomnia and have had to take medication for it several times. I can be worn out and do everything you've said here but I simply won't sleep. Your article could defiantly help people, I think, suffering from general insomnia or who are just troubled enough to not get any sleep. Good article and I'll vote it up.

    • Alisa Arishina profile image

      Alisa Arishina 3 years ago

      I'm really happy! I've had the same problem for years, and meditative relaxation is one of those things that strangely work.

    • Beata Stasak profile image

      Beata Stasak 3 years ago from Western Australia

      Dreaming works for me...imagining something really beautiful and I am there soon enough in the land of sleep, I think my big imagination helps me for sure there:)....

    • just helen profile image

      just helen 3 years ago from Dartmoor UK

      I've suffered for 35 years! It's a complete nightmare. It's a curse! It's what hell is like! I wouldn't wish it on anyone!

      I too have written a hub with tips on overcoming Insomnia.

      The more people like us who write on the subject, the better. If we can help people then we've done some good.

      Thank you for an interesting hub Alisa...

    • profile image

      kathy 21 months ago

      Thank you for your help! I know so many people, including me, who have suffered from insomnia. It´s great to finally come across some useful tips.

      I tried listening to soothing sounds or music to help me fall asleep. Sometimes it also really worked. Here´s an example of what I used to listen to:

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