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I'm working a internship this summer where I need to be up by 6:30 and don't get home until 8pm. I'm having trouble falling asleep at night because I'm naturally more of a night person. Does anyone have tips for falling asleep faster?

Challenges: I have 2-3 hours of free time every night to get things done. Some of that time is spent with friends or on the computer working on projects. Avoiding light and screens is not a realistic possibility, until bed time.

Often I go to bed at 11 and stay awake until 12 just thinking. I'm averaging 6 hours of sleep and I'm tired during the day, but I can't seem to fall asleep.

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5 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Your current scheme is no good. Despite what you say about having to stay up late, try going to bed before your night alertness kicks in, because then it's often too late to fall asleep given that you are a night person. Then go up earlier, perhaps 5:30 AM, to finish the things you should've done the previous evening.

And to facilitate falling asleep, avoid doing mentally challenging tasks at least one hour before bed time. Turn down the lights, read a magazine, drink a cup of tea. When this becomes a habit, your body will understand it's time for sleep.

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Great answer i will follow this you just remind me the all those forgotten words the similar i had listen earlier –  Narendra Modi - PM of INDIA Aug 11 '13 at 20:04
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To quote myself: How to fall asleep

  1. Sleep in a cool room (slightly leaning to cold!)
  2. Take a warm shower before sleep
  3. Play some calming music (classical)
  4. Pull the blanket only until your knees (= upper body without any cover)
  5. Wear very warm socks (wool socks)
  6. Do something calming just before sleep (read a book for 30 mins in bed)
  7. Eat a little bit of sugar-y food before sleep (carbs make you tired)
  8. Try not to worry about the fact that you can't sleep
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good good very good but whats behind wear very warm socks –  Narendra Modi - PM of INDIA Aug 11 '13 at 20:05
    
I believe the effect is that of sleeping near a campfire instead of open air. A primal reaction to warmth :) Of course, it's not recommended in the hot summer days, unless the room is kept cool with aircon. –  Juha Untinen Aug 12 '13 at 7:23
    
Good tips, but I would advise against reading in bed, because you should strictly associate the bed with sleeping and not other activities like watching TV etc. Your body will know it's time for sleep by merely being in bed. –  Gruber Aug 12 '13 at 21:11
    
to 7: in my case i cant sleep after i ate. my digestive system is working, so my body tries to keep me awake... –  Stephan Schielke Aug 13 '13 at 6:57
    
to 7: don't eat sugar. If you do this, eat a smallish cold potato instead. Think of it as sleep medicine instead of something yummy for your tummy. –  w00t Aug 14 '13 at 11:50
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I experimented with polyphasic sleep a few years ago and from that I have retained the ability to fall asleep quickly pretty much anywhere.

My best trick is to pretend to be in REM sleep:

  1. Find a comfortable position to sleep in, close your eyes and squint slightly while looking upwards, basically trying to look at the bridge of your nose. This should not hurt at all.

  2. Forbid all thoughts of words and music.

  3. Look for patterns in the random noise of your eyelids, try to "follow" it. Once you start seeing complete images you're under way to dreamland. It's ok to suddenly realize that you're doing it and thus waking yourself up a little. Try again.

Just relax, think about nothing and watch the pretty pictures. Don't get upset if it takes a while - just keep going. Using this technique I normally fall asleep in 2-7 minutes.

When you're anxious about something, it's really hard to stop thinking about it and it would be better to write it down, thinking it through before sleeping.

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Crazy idea. I can't wait to try it out tonight. THanks –  IdeoREX Aug 14 '13 at 16:43
    
@IdeoREX, did it work? –  w00t Sep 4 '13 at 5:05
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This answer appears to have revolutionized my ability to fall asleep. Point 1 and 3 here really help in removing the focus from all kinds of thoughts that would normally cause me to lay awake for hours after going to bed. –  user3224 Feb 6 at 19:15
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Optimize your Sleeping Time

  • Sleep Cycles: Respect your sleep cycles and Find out the best times for your to go to sleep and wake up.
  • Intelligent Clocks: Consider using an alarm clock that respects your sleep stages. Some exist as traditional desk/nightstand clocks using sensors, but you can also install apps on a smartphone using either sensors or the phone's accelerometer.
  • Naps: If your cycles really don't agree with your schedule and are impractical, you'll end up being tired. So consider taking naps during the day. They may be a better match for you, and ensure you remain productive throughout the day and experience less fatigue.
  • Get Up Early: Considering getting up earlier to work on projects, instead of going to bed later.

Clear Your Mind

  • Physical Exercise: Do some sports / exercises before bed, though make sure it's not the kind that will get your adrenaline pumping if you do this just before bed time. For instance, jogging will do just fine. It will tire you up physically, and will clear your mind so you won't think so much when you go to bed. For me, a good run and a shower helps a lot.
  • Calm Read: Read some (non-thrilling) fiction before going to bed. Keep non-fiction and technical stuff for the day.

Adapt Your Screens to Dailight Brightness

If you can't get away from the computer a few hours before bed, try at least to minimize the impact it has on your system. For instance, try to:

  • Breaks: Just as you do during the day, remember to take frequent breaks. They'll keep you alert and efficient while you work, and prevent you from getting too stressed.
  • Position: your sitting position should be healthy, non-straining, and comfortable (and even a bit more comfortable that during the day, to help you to relax more),
  • Display Settings:
    • Brightnesss: Reduce your screen brightness (and tweak the contrast accordingly),
    • f.lux: Install it. Just do it. *

Addtional Reading

*Seriously, just do it. It's weird at first, but after a few days you realize how unwelcoming your screen is when you turn it off. And do read their research section!

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Agree with this one mainly. A lot of my difficulties falling asleep come from reading exciting things before bed, or exciting games and such. Your brain is designed not to sleep when panicked. –  Muz Aug 15 '13 at 9:00
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As a last resort, you could have a stash of sleep aids (sedatives). You can get them in the vitamins section of walmart or target, and they knock you out pretty fast. I resort to them if I need to get to sleep and I know I won't be able to for hours. I would use this option only as a backup to one of the other answers already provided.

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