The Weird Tricks Experts Use When They Can't Sleep
No matter if you’re the type of person who can fall asleep anywhere or a borderline insomniac, we all have nights where we just can’t seem to get any shut-eye. We've tried everything from drinking chamomile tea to practicing deep breathing, but sometimes even those supposedly relaxing techniques fail to get us snoozing. So we turned to the experts to find the weird tricks they use—from massaging their eyes to doing some difficult math—to fall asleep fast.
I will take my thumbs and push up on the bone at the top of my eye socket on both sides. There is a little indentation—a notch—where the supraorbital nerve runs. It will feel like a little dull pressure but helps calm me down and sleep. It is also good for relieving headaches.
I tell myself that in five minutes, I have to get up and go out to a meeting. I imagine all the steps—stretching, putting in my contact lenses, getting dressed, putting on my makeup, all of it. Often it sounds so exhausting that I feel glad to relax back into my bed.
Acupuncture is known for helping with sleep problems, but you can't easily find an acupuncturist willing to come over to your house at bedtime! For a quick sleep-inducing fix, try lying on a sleep induction mat for 10 to 20 minutes before you jump into bed. Lying on the mat stimulates acupressure points up and down your back to ease your body into a deep relaxation response.
I have boxes of heated eye masks from a drugstore in Tokyo that relax me and sink me right in for sleep. They are super common in Japan for at-work breaks and for naps. I'm obsessed.
I do reclining belt pose—my favorite restorative yoga pose—to chill out. And lately I have been experimenting with magnesium threonate, a special form of magnesium that crosses the brain barrier and seems to help with sleep.
I count backwards from 300 by threes. It is mathematically so complicated you can’t think of anything else, and it is so boring I am out like a light!
If this has been going on for more than 20 minutes, I get out bed and go to another room. I do something that's quiet and soothing—listen to soft music, or read a magazine or a book for pleasure. This gets my mind off the anxiety of not being able to fall asleep and removes me from the bedroom, which can sometimes be part of the problem.