Sleep and I have a love-hate relationship, in that I love sleep, and sleep hates me. Sometimes my brain just refuses to shut off, no matter how tired my body is, and so I draft blog posts at 1:23am that include a list of tactics for helping one fall asleep:
- Piano music on Pandora. This is one I learned from my little cousin, who is a ball of energy, but needs sleep just like the rest of us. She listens to this station every night as she falls asleep. Now this isn’t a particularly useful tactic if you don’t have a premium account since ads will wake you right up, but it can be modified so that you get the meditative effects by combining this with option two which is
- Tire yourself out doing simple but mildly productive tasks. Some nights when I can’t sleep I throw my hands up in the air and get out of bed and start cleaning the kitchen. I try not to do anything too noisy, so as to not wake the other occupants of whatever sleep space I am inhabiting, but I’ll often tidy up by drying dishes left in the dish rack, or using minimum amount of water (for both environmental and noise reasons) to wash plates, dull cutlery (no one wants to go to the emergency room at 2:00am because they cut off a bit of finger washing a steak knife) and pots, etc. When I lived in a dorm without a kitchen to clean I would tidy my room, or go and brush my teeth. While doing all these I will often listen to relaxing music such as above. Bonus points if you’re productive activity is drafting a blog post.
- If tiring yourself out productively doesn’t work, I recommend Sudoku puzzles, because nothing tires out my brain at night like logic puzzles. Crosswords will sometimes work, but sometimes I’ll get caught in the trap of looking something up and getting caught in a Wikipedia spiral. Word search is also an acceptable task. In whichever case, I recommend trying to find yourself a paper book to do these in, because looking at screens is bad for you.
- That said, there is another option, to be used with caution, that is my mum’s method, namely putting on some random TV show or movie that you’ve seen a million times and don’t actually bother watching, just closing your eyes and letting the 90s slang sing you to sleep. (I’m looking at you Clueless). The problem with this twofold: firstly, looking at screens right before bed is bad for you, and secondly, you might get too engaged in the show/movie and end up actually watching it. The second has always been a problem for me, and the first is even worse on my end because of the multiple concussions I suffered from towards the end of my sophomore year of college.
- Similar to option four, but without the detriment of having to look at a screen, is the option of listening to a familiar audiobook. I recommend that it be an audiobook for something that you have already read for two reasons. The first is that if you already know what is going to happen you won’t feel compelled to stay up to find out what happens next. The second is that if you fall asleep but don’t know exactly where you drifted off it doesn’t matter because you know how the story ends, and you don’t need to be constantly guessing whether you feel asleep twenty minutes in or thirty minutes in. If you are like me and don’t want to pay for audiobooks and yet deeply disapprove of pirating material, I recommend investigating whether or not your local library is part of OverDrive, which is a website that lets you borrow eBooks and audiobooks from your local library. As a bonus for those of you who also live in Massachusetts, if you go in to Boston and are able to provide evidence of your Massachusetts residency (which I know is difficult for a multitude of people for a multitude of reasons, but if you can) you’ll be able to get a BPL card, and I know for a fact that they partner with OverDrive, so it should work for you, even if you don’t physically enter any branches of the library again before your card expires.
- Turn on a light and read until you fall asleep on top of the book. I recommend a hardcover because they are less likely to tear if you fall asleep on them.
TL;DR quiet music and/or books.
Now, if you will excuse me, it’s 2:15am, I’ve been listening to option one and it’s gotten me fairly drowsy, so I am about to go enact option five in combination with action three.
Note: Despite some minor editing because typos, this really was written in the wee hours of May 21st, 2018.