Sleeping, it's sooo boring
June 25, 2014 12:44 PM   Subscribe

What tricks or tips do you have to make yourself go to bed? Even when I'm tired, I balance sleeping (man, sleeping is boring!) with doing something, whether it's Internetting, tidying the house, reading, etc. [I'm not a great sleeper, I probably get uninterrupted sleep once a week, which has been the case my entire life]
posted by sandmanwv to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Cultivate an environment for amazing dreaming? The awesomely vivid (mostly good) dreams I have with my melatonin supplement provide a pretty compelling reason to close my book/laptop/whatever and go to sleep.
posted by magdalemon at 12:46 PM on June 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Exercise until you're tired.
posted by oceanjesse at 12:49 PM on June 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

You may want a sleep study, if you have issues with sleeping. You may have brain calming issues, or sleep apnea or who knows?

Here's my little bedtime routine (and it needs to be a routine.) At 10:00 PM we head into the master bedroom for "Pride Time" Husbunny, me and the little kitties all get in the big bed for snuggles and pets and kitty Doritos.

We watch TV for about 45 minutes to an hour in a dark room. We watch something kind of stupid, VH1s I love the 2000s or Worlds Blankiest Blank. No plot, no angst, just fluff.

Petting the cats lowers blood pressure and makes you happy. Makes them happy too. Then, when my eyelids start fluttering, we turn off the TV, turn off the lights, and it's sleepy time. Husbunny goes into his room, to do his CPAP, and I have the bed to myself, mostly so, depending on what the cats feel like doing.

I find that I sleep SO MUCH BETTER without another human in the bed with me. Husbunny enjoys not having to listen to me snore.

Sometimes, if I know I'm a bit anxious, I take half a Trazadone. It's a common little anti-anxiety drug that has soporific side-effects. Zzzzzquil is another thing and you can get it over the counter, it's basically Benedryl.

If your problem is racing thoughts, B-Complex vitamins may help with this. Or melatonin.

I find that dark and quiet are things that I MUST have, and if I wake in the middle of the night I don't turn on anything that emits light.

It's said that our natural sleeping patterns as humans were a few hours asleep, an hour or so awake, for contemplation and prayer, and then sleep until sunrise. Artificial light kind of screwed us up.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:54 PM on June 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Set an alarm and force yourself to go to bed immediately when it goes off. Try it for a week.

At bedtime, you could turn off the lights, close your eyes, and listen to some sort of guided relaxation or meditation recording. Then you're not sleeping, you're doing something... that will probably help you drift off to sleep.

And (other than the recordings) I suggest a media diet for the hour before bed -- no TV, Internet, even reading (I know this is the traditional way of drifting off, but I end up staying up late wanting to finish the book). Convincing yourself to go to bed is easier if there's nothing mindless to do.
posted by chickenmagazine at 1:04 PM on June 25, 2014

melatonin. melatonin. melatonin.
posted by royalsong at 1:12 PM on June 25, 2014 [3 favorites]

Trazodone an hour before bedtime. Also, baths are nice.
posted by joan_holloway at 1:16 PM on June 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

I hate sleep, so I listen to audio books every night when I get in bed. It means I can read while I am going to sleep with my eyea closed. I go through probably a book every two weeks.
posted by Spurious at 1:22 PM on June 25, 2014 [5 favorites]

A shower or a walk in the cool air, and lavender balm on my shoulders and elbows.

Also this Chamomile Lavender tea is amazing. I pass out after a few sips.

Make it a ritual. No TV an hour before bed.
posted by mochapickle at 1:24 PM on June 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

I also find sleep boring--I would much rather be awake and doing all the things. However after chronically complaining to my partner about being tired, he now bugs me about going to bed (in a cute, inoffensive way). Once I am in bed, I set my wake-up light to give me a 10-15 minute sunset, and read something printed on actual paper (no tablet! no glowing kindle!) until my eyes are heavy or the light goes dark, whichever comes first.
posted by esoterrica at 1:30 PM on June 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

I can't take most sleeping pills, but the ones which contain doxylamine succinate are a blessing from heaven.

I've only ever taken half a pill, which has gentle but very real effects on me. Takes half an hour to kick in, and doesn't make me feel drugged or weird, just suddenly makes going to bed seem like a good idea. I have pushed past this feeling a couple times, to experiment. If I don't obey the pill and go to bed, I have no problem staying awake for as long as I'd like, or thinking clearly. I'd just really rather be sleeping.

I have found that when I take this pill, wait half an hour, then go to bed, I fall the fuck to sleep! Like immediately. Then I stay asleep for 7-8 hours and usually have some awesome dreams. If something wakes me up in the night, it's super easy to go right back to sleep. And it's not hard to wake up in the morning, either naturally or with an alarm.

YMMV but for me this has been a godsend.
posted by jessicapierce at 1:38 PM on June 25, 2014

Best answer: You want to limit screen time (computer, tablet, TV) for at least an hour before bed. The light emitted by the screen tricks your brain into staying awake longer.
posted by goggie at 2:00 PM on June 25, 2014 [6 favorites]

For internetting before bed, the latest version of f.lux has gotten pretty aggressive about enforcing bedtime with its color shifting, and it has definitely gotten me to get off my laptop and go the fuck to sleep. I use f.lux more for eyestrain reasons than for sleep hygiene, but it is supposed to help with making it easier to sleep by shifting your computer/laptop's display to warmer colors rather than the bright blue that mimics daylight and makes your brain think it's still daytime.
posted by yasaman at 2:04 PM on June 25, 2014 [4 favorites]

I also have trouble tearing myself away from interesting things to go to sleep, but I remind myself how awesome it is to be well-rested v. how much it sucks to be sleep-deprived. Then I reluctantly go to bed, because I am like a thousand times happier when I get at least 8 hours of sleep.

Lights off, no screens, no music. Bed is ONLY FOR SLEEPING. Not reading, looking at your phone, not listening to music, not watching TV, etc. Once you're in bed, you have one job to do, and that's to fall asleep. I put my phone in airplane mode when I get in bed, so that any emails or texts don't bother me.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 2:16 PM on June 25, 2014

I sleep while playing a white noise mp3 on my earbuds. If I'm feeling resistant to sleep, I tell myself I'll play a new electro pop/minimalist song I just discovered for a bit before switching and then I find myself looking forward to it.
posted by kinoeye at 2:34 PM on June 25, 2014

Best answer: So this is a Thing that has received a bit of notice lately:
‘Sleep Procrastination’ Is Real, and You Probably Do It
Face It, You’re a Bedtime Procrastinator
What Keeps You Up at Night
This Is Why You Stay Awake All Night When You Know You Need To Sleep

My husband and I both do this a lot, and we feed off each other's procrastination. And it's apparently really, really terrible to do. We have started to combat it by setting an alarm to tell us to move to the bedroom and turn off our devices, by taking melatonin on nights we have a harder time winding our minds down, and by being okay going to bed while the other one stays up - to use that peer pressure to go to bed instead of to stay up. It's not easy, but we are working on it.
posted by rhapsodie at 3:35 PM on June 25, 2014 [9 favorites]

posted by Jacqueline at 4:07 PM on June 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Are there tasks you could automate, so they'll be done when you wake up? That way the hours you spent sleeping won't feel so wasted. It'll be like you're a sci-fi character, entering cryo-sleep to achieve your goals!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:55 PM on June 25, 2014

I look for spoken word audio that I will look forward to listening to, realizing that I'm likely to hear 10 minutes of a program before I go to sleep. Selected Shorts, This American Life, The Moth, Unfictional, A Prairie Home Companion work for me. So do old time radio programs and BBC radio drama. (English accents are so soothing!) Tara Brach's meditation podcasts.

(I love Night Vale but the weather reports are louder than the rest of the program and they wake me up ...)

If it's something I really like, I might listen to the whole thing but I rarely stay awake through the second one. Plus, you can always listen while cleaning house, on the treadmill, your commute...
posted by marguerite at 6:35 PM on June 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have some things I usually only do in bed, so that I look forward to getting into bed so I can do them. I'm a fan of logic problems/puzzles and I find that doing a samurai sudoku or complicated logic problem or crossword puzzles is very good because it distracts my brain (interrupting the ceaseless chatter about the day, what's happening tomorrow, etc). But there's also no plot or story to get involved in and there's a certain amount of focused repetition which becomes tiring after a while. I usually start feeling veeeery sleepy after 15-20 minutes, put the puzzle down and turn off the light. Bam.
posted by Athanassiel at 7:09 PM on June 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

Well, there was this previous thread from the other day, specifically about what to think of while trying to sleep.

Are you fairly drowsy when you get in bed, or wide awake? I've found I'll drift off while watching TV late, so that might not necessarily hurt. Although when I get up to turn off the light and get in bed, I have trouble going to real sleep. Sometimes I've found actually keeping my eyes half-open helps; I guess my mind doesn't race as much. Slowly fluttering to simulate falling asleep, seems to lead to that result.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 1:20 AM on June 26, 2014

Avoid caffeine. I get the same OMG this is so boring why am I laying here thing going on of I drink anything caffeinated (and you'll be surprised what caffeine can be hiding in) after 4pm. Also if I sleep in too late in the mornings.
posted by wwax at 1:01 PM on June 26, 2014

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