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How To Fall Asleep When Not Tired

Updated on November 4, 2011

How To Fall Asleep When Not Tired

Getting enough sleep can be a frustrating task, and is often exacerbated by a vicious cycle of stress and exhaustion which broaden the symptoms. The aim of this article is to provide readers both short and long-term solutions.We'll start with some exercises and tips for those with milder forms of insomnia, and work our way to treating chronic cases with broader lifestyle changes.

Before we begin, however, please bear in mind that in some cases insomnia can be triggered by causes that will only be able to be efficiently addressed by a trained professional. Please refer to the the text capsule below and to the right of this paragraph for a few examples! If you're certain we can rule those out, we can start with a few exercises that should work right-out-of-the-box!


When To Consult A Doctor

  • If you feel medication may be the cause of your sleeplessness (even popular treatments for colds and the flu can tamper with your sleeping patterns).
  • Severe depression (bi-polar, PTSD).
  • Hyperthyroidism.
  • Cancer.
  • Kidney Disease.

Things You Can Do Right Now

If you've been tossing and turning and staring bleakly at the ceiling in an effort to hasten unconsciousness, remember that the state of the room itself may by now be a problem. Before we begin looking at how to "trick" or coax the mind into accepting sleep, let's make sure we can set the scene perfectly.

  • Make sure you've beaten dust out of the bed covers if you know you suffer from allergies.
  • Make sure the room is quiet and dark (the brain associates darkness with sleep, and will help trigger it).
  • Avoid food, cigarettes and alcohol before attempting sleep. Digestion and an over-active metabolism can interrupt natural sleeping patterns.

Now -- to our call to action. Here are some tricks and exercises that have worked in the past, that may work for you.

  1. Breathe deeply and instead of trying to clear the mind, try and keep it busy with an exercise (this will help control stress). A common trick is to play the "alphabet game" where you pick a topic and run through the alphabet and name a related item of the topic with every letter.
  2. Try and employ your senses creatively and mentally recreate an idyllic scene, complete with smells, sounds and touch. This will help relax you and usher in sleep as a natural extension of your day-dream.
  3. Relax your body systematically, beginning with your toes and working up. Clench your toes for a count of 10, then relax. The work you way your heel, calf and onwards ho. By the time you reach your head you should feel comfortably numb and thoroughly relaxed.
  4. Melanin is an over-the-counter solution that has been very effective in treating insomnia over recent years. You could also try Benadryl.

Types Of Insomnia

  • Transient Insomnia - Lasts under a week and is common.
  • Acute Insomnia - Greater than a week but less than a month.
  • Chronic Insomnia - Greater than a month.

Getting Enough Sleep Consistently

The real trick to how to fall asleep when not tired is balancing your everyday routine wherever possible.

Getting more exercise is a fantastic way to feel pleasantly sleepy at the end of the day. Provided, the exercise was done at least a few hours before attempting to sleep. Likewise, certain foods can have adverse affects when ingested too close to bedtime. Some examples are soft drinks, chocolate and stimulants such as caffeine.

Some foods can actually make you sleepy. Try integrating more carbs, warm milk, bananas, turkey or honey in your evening meals. While many advocate not eating at all leading up to sleep, going to bed hungry is undoubtedly worse and may even result in a trip to the fridge at 4am.

Developing a sound routine may not be easy at first, but remember to avoid power naps, no matter how sleepy you are because they will work off any outstanding "sleep debt" you will have accrued during the day and keep you up at night.

Managing Stress

By far the greatest contributor to sleepless nights is stress. Some effective ways to combat stress and increase your odds at a good night's sleep include:

  • Physical exercise.
  • Reducing the number of stimulants taken (primarily nicotine, caffeine and alcohol).
  • Relaxation techniques such as help-hypnosis or yoga.

If you remain unsuccessful in calming the storm of mental activity that can keep you awake, do not hesitate to contact a doctor, who will undoubtedly be in a better position than I am in telling you what to do! There are a plethora of over and under the counter solutions that can greatly aid you in getting sleep, right away.



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    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 6 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Very good advice and a joy to read. Thank you!

    • drspaniel profile image

      drspaniel 6 years ago from Somewhere, where the sun shines once a year...

      A lot of very useful information here thank you! I think that one of the best ways to fall asleep when not tired, is to have a nice warm drink of milk... How relaxing.

    • carcro profile image

      Paul Cronin 6 years ago from Winnipeg

      Great advise for those who need it. Thanks for the info!

    • thooghun profile image

      James D. Preston 6 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Hi billa! What a witty comment,a compliment and a joke all rolled in one! As always, thanks for your time!

    • billabongbob profile image

      billabongbob 6 years ago from South Wales, UK

      I'm so sleep deprived that it's just not funny :(. I've had insomnia for as long as I can remember, even as a small child I remember laying awake at night for hours on end. I've tried every trick in the book, and then some lol. Even when I do manage to sleep for a few hours, it's never enough to make up the deficit and I remain sleep deprived, constantly. Its something that I've learned to live with, and will probably have all my life. Ah well, never mind, it could be worse,I could be asleep right now and of missed this great hub lol ;). Life goes on :D