• Viral badge

"I Usually Fall Asleep Within Minutes": People Are Revealing Their Unconventional Advice For How They Drastically Improved Their Sleep

"I do this to keep my mind off anxious things that happened that day."

If there's one thing a lot of people talk about, it's sleep — or the lack thereof.

According to the Sleep Foundation, "35.2% of all adults in the U.S. reported sleeping on average for less than seven hours per night." This can be troublesome for some because sleep experts recommend the average adult (between 18 to 64 years old) to receive between seven to nine hours of sleep per night.

So if you're one of the 35% who is not getting enough sleep, we asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us their best sleep hack that actually makes a difference so you can get some shut-eye. And these responses are not only surprising but incredibly unique. Here's what they had to say below:

(Also: This article is not to replace seeing a medical professional or a sleep specialist. Sleep issues are so specific to each individual person and could also indicate that there might be more underlying issues at hand.)

1. "One of the best tips I ever got was to never look at the time if you wake up in the middle of the night. It puts a stop to the 'Oh, no, only four hours until I have to get up' cycle."

someone reaching for the clock while in bed

2. "Separate blankets for hubby and me. And weighted blankets."

—Erika, 30, Wisconsin

3. "Disposable self-heating eye masks are amazing!! I cannot stand regular eye masks to block the light. But for some reason, these are just fine by me. Not only do they relax you, soothe tired eyes, and help relieve headaches, but they also give that extra push to inspire rest."

—Elle, 36, Arizona

4. "If I’m having trouble falling asleep, I’ll flip around and put my feet toward the headboard and my head at the bottom of the bed. I usually fall asleep within minutes. I’ve done this my whole life and thought everyone did until my boyfriend woke up with my feet in his face and said it’s absolutely not normal."

someone putting their feet by the headboard

5. "Whenever I’m having trouble falling asleep (usually because my ADHD brain is in overdrive), I have two techniques that work like a charm:

1. A super simple breathing exercise: Inhale deeply for four seconds (using Mississippis, LOL), hold for seven seconds, exhale for eight seconds, and repeat. By the third rotation, I’m out like a light.

2. Counting sheep, but with a twist: I picture the sheep as random celebrities. It’s funny enough that I can focus but boring enough that it lulls me to sleep. Counting regular sheep is too boring, and it’s easy to be distracted."


6. "To keep my mind off anxious things that happened that day, I make up stories about characters from fairy tales. What is the origin story of the mirror in Snow White? I’ve made up dozens of them. Except I fall asleep before I write them down."


7. "The podcast Nothing Much Happens is my favorite thing to go to sleep to!! It almost always has me asleep before the end of the 20- to 30-minute episode. Before this, it used to take me at least a full hour to get to sleep. The stories are incredibly cozy, and I frequently revisit my favorites. I highly recommend it!"

someone listening with airpods in bed

8. "On nights that I can't turn my anxious little brain off, I play the alphabet game. I pick a random topic and try to think of something for each letter (like candy bars: Almond Joy, Butterfinger, Clark bar...). I rarely make it all the way to Z before I fall asleep."


9. "I use a vape pen that has a form of cannabis, and it doesn't leave me groggy in the morning. It's been able to help me change my bedtime when I am converting to a 9 p.m. bedtime to get up at 5 a.m. to run. Melatonin leaves me so groggy; I can't function, and I don't use it anymore. I take a few light breaths of it about 30 minutes to an hour before bed to lightly relax. I was on medication for a while to help with my sleep, and it never worked nearly as well as this did!"

—Anonymous, 26, Pittsburgh

10. "If I wake up and feel anxious, I put a wet flannel on my forehead. It's weird, but the cooling sensation seems to cool the negative thoughts in my brain."

a woman with a wet cloth on her forehead

11. "I'm not sure if this would work for anyone else, as it's pretty subtle. But I like to think about how my bed is completely supporting the weight of my body. Whenever you aren't lying down, your body has to do at least some work (i.e., sitting upright, holding your head up, etc.), but when you're lying in bed, there is absolutely no physical effort on your part. Your bed does it all for you, if that makes sense? I don't know — it always helps me relax to think about that."


12. "Brown noise has helped me. It low-key sounds like you’re on an airplane but quieter. You can find so many playlists on Spotify, YouTube, etc. It’s really nice because it drowns out everything. My anxiety keeps me up at night a lot, and this has helped me keep those pesky thoughts at bay."


13. "I stopped doing the things I didn't have time to do (i.e., clean, do the dishes, etc.) before bed. It kept my brain active and made me wake up after a few hours. Now after 9 p.m., I do absolutely nothing (not even scrolling on the phone) but watch a movie until I'm sleepy."

phone on top of table

14. "For some reason, when I wear blue-light-filtering glasses when I'm working (I work in IT, so I work on my laptop all day), I sleep so much better that night than days where I won't wear it."


15. "I sleep on my back with my hands tucked under my butt. I put one pillow over my face (but only covering my eyes, leaving out my nose and mouth). I sleep like a baby every time."

—Lindsay, 21, Michigan

16. "I heard a segment on NPR that said if you are having trouble falling asleep, count backward from 300 by 3s. 300, 297, 294, etc. It totally works. I'm usually asleep before I get to 100."

a woman sleeping

17. "Setting a 'getting ready for bed' time and a different 'getting INTO bed' time. It takes me about a half hour to brush, floss, change, and let my dog out — and if I think I’m going to sleep at 10 p.m., then I only get up to do those things at 10, and I always end up getting [to bed] later. So I take my time to actually get ready to get into bed so I’m in there the time I want to be. It helps stay away from the TV and phone screens, too!"

—Karishma, 24, California

18. "Masturbating. I swear it works like magic any time I can’t fall asleep. Also, it's not a bad way to end a long day!"

—Vanna, 20, Rhode Island

19. "Melatonin tea from Celestial Seasonings. It’s chamomile and mint, and within 20 minutes of drinking a cup at bedtime, I can barely keep my eyes open. I’m a lifelong insomniac, and since discovering this six months ago, I sleep like a baby every night!"

a person holding a cup of tea in their living room

20. "I play quiet music to fall asleep to. I use the playlists recommended by Amazon for sleep. One of my favorite playlists is 'Tribal Cure for Anxiety, Stress and Insomnia.' It's 3 hours and 41 minutes long, which can be hard on the cellphone battery, but I use my old phone to play music, so it's not a big deal if the battery dies."

"In the wintertime, I sleep with a humidifier, which helps me breathe better and not wake up with a stuffy nose."


21. "Starting at my feet and working my way up my body, I imagine each section of my body slowly falling asleep. Once I get to my head, I imagine an empty room and turn the lights off. I typically fall asleep pretty quickly."


22. "I like reading on my Kindle for about an hour when I lie down. I have all lights in the room off, and I have my Kindle display set on the lowest setting with the blue light filter on. It's a nice way to come down for the night."

a woman using a tablet

23. "I have sleep headphones, and I listen to a podcast called Sleep With Me. Knocks me right out!"


24. "I don’t do anything in my bed besides sleep and read, and I try to stay out of my bedroom during the day as much as possible. It sounds extreme, but when I started doing it I went from needing almost an hour to fall asleep to falling asleep in minutes."


25. "I sleep with the window open. Even in the dead of winter, I keep it open the tiniest of cracks. Getting the fresh air in my room while sleeping has been a huge game-changer for me. I’ve struggled with sleeping for the longest time, and the most effective advice I got was this. Worth a shot for a week."

window open at night

26. "I do hard puzzles, like Killer Sudoku. It means I can't think about anything else and feels like putting things in my brain on shelves. It helps me sleep fast. I can't do Sudoku during the day now because it makes me sleepy, LOL."


27. "Listening to songs in a language I can't understand really helps to shut my brain off so I can fall asleep."


28. "Twenty-plus minutes of meditation and yoga before bed really makes a difference. I have a yoga card deck I use at night, and I light a lantern candle to avoid light and screens before bed."

Fabiana Buontempo in yoga pants

29. "I like putting on essential oils on my pressure points that soothe me, such as lavender."

—Anonymous, 16, London

30. "I am a 52-year-old male who still sleeps with his baby blanket. I wrap it over my head to keep the sun out."

—Diamond Dave, 52, South Carolina

31. "Golden milk! One scoop every night in heated water and I’m out within 30 minutes and don’t wake up fuzzy-headed. It’s so amazing that on the first night I slept so soundly that my husband said he kept checking to make sure I was still breathing."

Someone holding a golden milk tea

32. "I’ve been a night owl my entire life. As a child, I have memories of being awake in the middle of the night re-arranging my room or planning my week. I accepted that I’m not a morning person and that’s OK! I schedule a couple of power naps throughout the day so I don’t feel anxious about not getting to sleep on time and having to trudge through the day exhausted. I make sure to have a calm and slow wake-up routine so I don’t have to force myself through the discomfort (I snooze the alarm one time, sit up in bed and drink my water for five minutes, then do some stretches). Every person and every body is different. It gives me comfort to listen to my body and give it what it needs when it needs it instead of trying to push my body out of its norm."

—Victoria, 33, Texas

Do you have a surprising sleep hack that actually helps you get a full night's rest? If so, tell us what it is and how it helps in the comments below.

This post has been edited for length/clarity.