It’s been a long day of running around catching zubats and zoruas. (Is Pokemon Go still a thing?) You crawl into bed, ready to catch a different type of z.
← that type.
15 minutes pass. You’re still wide awake, consumed by thoughts.
If I fall asleep in ten minutes, I’ll get six hours. That should be enough.
Oh wait, I have to remember to pack my charger when I wake up. Don’t forget the charger. Charger charger charger.
Ugh. Now I’m only going to get five and a half hours max. I’m going to be so exhausted tomorrow.
If this scenario sounds familiar to you, you are not alone. I’ve been there too, and have tried a myriad of techniques in an effort to shut off my brain.
Drink herbal tea, check. Take a hot bath, check. Avoid food before bed, check. I’ve tried it all. However, of everything I’ve tried, the four methods below have proven to work best for me.
You don’t have to do all of them to succeed— doing just one of the four usually does the trick for me— so find what works best for you, and implement it into your routine.
I usually take 15-30 minutes to read before bed. This kills two birds with one stone; it makes reading a daily habit while also helping me fall asleep. I’ve found that it’s much harder for me to fall asleep on nights that I go to bed immediately after shutting off my computer than on nights that I take some time to read. Reading helps shift my brain into sleep mode so that when it’s time to shut the lights off, I fall asleep much more quickly.
The idea that exercise helps induce sleep is widely recognized, and there’s a reason why. I always have an easier time falling asleep on days that I move my body than on days that I don’t do anything, and I almost always need a nap after long training runs. Nothing is better than falling into a deep, peaceful sleep after a vigorous workout. So try to do a little something every day—whether it’s a brisk walk, a HIIT workout, or Pokemon Go—just to expend some energy so that your body craves rest that much more.
- Meditation apps
This is my go-to when I’m really struggling. Although I only do this method every once in a while because I don’t want to become reliant on apps to fall asleep, it never fails me. There are multiple meditation podcasts and apps, but my app of choice is Insight Timer. It lets you choose from hundreds of guided meditation recordings that range in length, style, language, and more. They even have a playlist category called “Sleep.” I simply press play, close my eyes, and let the guided meditation take me out.
- White noise
This one is especially helpful when there are external sounds (sirens, roommates, neighbors, etc.) that are preventing me from falling asleep. A free, easy way to get white noise is by using Spotify’s playlists. I just pick one, turn up the volume as needed, and the white noise drowns everything else out.
Sweet dreams, my friends.