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16 Practical Tips For Anyone Who Takes Forever To Fall Asleep

More sleep, less stress.

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H/t this Quora thread.

1. Literally set aside time at the end of your day to laugh — it helps you ~be in the moment~ and it relieves stress.

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So watch a stand-up comedian or just funny videos on YouTube, find your favorite comedy special on Netflix, call that friend who always makes you laugh. Read some funny tweets. If you have to go to bed before your favorite late-night show, see if you can stream last night's somewhere.

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2. Try a simple body scan meditation, and start by thinking about your big toe.

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~Check in~ with your big toe. How's it feeling? What's it touching? Is it warm or cold? What sensations do you feel in it, right now? Keep it going with your toes, then with the ball of your foot, your heel, and your ankle.

This is the beginning of a ~bodyscan meditation~, and when you're laying in bed with the lights out, can help put you right to sleep. If you have trouble, try following a guided bodyscan meditation for a few nights, like this one or this one.

3. Turn your bedroom into a sleep cave: pitch-black and silent.

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Replace or cover any light you can see, including the little power lights on electronics that never turn off. If light comes in through your windows, use blackout curtains. If you can hear appliances like the dishwasher from your room, don't run them at night.

4. And keep your room cool at night — about 65 degrees — to help your body naturally cool down for sleep.

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Some in the Quora thread suggest 65-70 degrees, or just 65 degrees; and the National Sleep Foundation suggests 60-67 degrees. So, pick the 60-ish-degree temperature that's comfortable for you.

According to the NSF, this helps because your body cools itself down to fall asleep anyway, and the lower room temperature helps move that along.

6. No way to have a super dark, quiet room? Try earplugs and a sleep mask, instead.

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One of our writers and some of our readers swear by these memory foam earplugs — read a full review here, or buy a box of 10 on Amazon for $6.58.

Any sleep mask could work, but if you sweat at night, look for one in natural fibers like silk or cotton that will let your skin breathe. This silk mask's adjustable, and has promising reviews on Amazon, for $8.95.

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7. And if ear plugs just won't do it for you, try a white noise machine or a podcast like Sleep With Me.

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Read a review of one we liked (the Marpac Dohm Natural White Noise Machine) here. You can get it on Amazon for $49.99.

The Sleep With Me podcast tells an hour-long, boring bedtime story each night — and is rated 5 stars on the Apple Podcasts app.

8. Create a relaxing ~bedtime routine~ that helps you wind down.

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It can be anything or combination of things that works for you — reading, stretching, journaling, brushing your teeth, washing your face, taking a shower. Do it consistently, and it'll signal your body that it's time for bed. Many of the tips here could be part of your routine!

Learn more about the yoga sequence and how it could help your sleep here.

9. At some point before bed, pick up a book to escape to another world and forget about your day, at least for a while.

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You can do this in bed, on your couch or in a comfy chair. If you want to read in bed right before falling asleep, stop when you start skipping words. Still laying in bed awake 20 minutes later? Go read somewhere cozy that's *not* bed, for a bit, and try again. (Love reading too much for this to work? In all seriousness, try it with a boring book.)

10. Scent your space by lighting a calming candle, or wear a drop or two of lavender essential oil on your wrists as ~sleep perfume~.

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So what if aroma therapy and essential oils aren't a scientifically backed thing. If it helps you, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Get the Amber & Moss candle from P.F. Candle Co. for $11 (it's one of my personal favorites).

11. Set up your computer and phone so the screens gradually tint to warmer, more calming tones through your afternoon and evening.

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If you have an Apple computer or phone, definitely use the Night Shift function, which will start turn your phone more orange as the sun sets. (Learn more about it here.)

If you use any other kind of computer, investigate f.lux, and if you're an Android user, download the app Twilight.

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12. (Seriously!) power down all your screens at least 30 minutes before bed.

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Okay so you won't turn off your phone, but put it on it's charger, set your alarms, turn off any notifications that might wake you up in the middle of the night, and go do something else for a bit — like your bedtime routine. Read more about how devices affect your sleep here.

13. Try a breathing technique to distract you from your thoughts and relax your body.

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Lay down in bed and get comfortable. Then breathe through your nose: in three seconds, out for six seconds. Repeat until you fall asleep. (You can adjust the counts if you need to, keeping your exhales longer than your inhales.)

It may or may not do anything to your body, but like counting sheep, it helps you focus on something simple.

14. Try a quick gratitude journal just before you turn off the lights.

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Just jot down 1-5 things, and be as brief or as detailed as you like. Reflect on your day in a positive way, and you'll have those happy thoughts and feelings with you as you close your eyes.

Learn other ways journaling can help your mental health here.

15. Dim your over-head lights if you can, or only turn on your lamps for an instant ~cozy~ environment.

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You can even do this as you watch TV, and continue to enjoy it after you've ditched electronics for the evening.

16. Stick to or try some of the standard good advice you've heard over and over again.

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You know, the stuff you always hear:

- Have a consistent bedtime that you stick to most nights.

- Exercise a few times a week, preferably earlier in the day or in the early evening.

- Skip the caffeine four to six hours before bed, and the alcohol four hours before bed.

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