How to Make Yourself Sleepy

Three Methods:Changing Your Nighttime RoutineTrying Sleep MedsImproving Your Sleep Long-Term

Many people have trouble sleeping, often due to environmental causes, stress, a schedule change, or a physical condition. There are many ways to improve your sleep schedule. Change your nighttime routine, look into medication, and find ways to get better quality sleep longterm.

Method 1
Changing Your Nighttime Routine

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    Make sure your bedroom is sleep friendly. If you're having trouble falling asleep at night, your bedroom is suitable for sleeping. Difficulty sleeping can be solved by making a few simple alterations to your bedroom.
    • Keep your sleep life and wake life separate. Do not keep electronic devices like laptops and televisions in your bedroom. Do not do work or go online in bed. Your bedroom should be for sleep alone. This will send a signal to your body that, when you enter the bedroom, it's time to wind down. If you live in a studio or dorm, consider hanging a tapestry or sheet between your bed and the rest of the apartment.[1]
    • Make sure your bedding is sleep appropriate. All cotton sheets are best, as they tend to cause less irritation. Make sure pillows, comforters, and mattresses are not made from allergens. If your mattress is old or lumpy, consider a replacement. If you cannot afford a replacement mattress try investing in a foam sleep pad from a department store.[2]
    • Pay attention to temperature. The ideal temperature for sleeping is between 65 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Invest in an air conditioner or box fan. If you live in an area where it gets cool at night, try leaving your windows open.[3]
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    Engage in relaxation techniques. Many people have trouble sleeping because they have difficulty shutting out daytime thoughts. If this is the case for you, engaging in relaxation techniques before bed can help.
    • Take a series of five breaths. Place your hand on your belly and breathe in, channeling air in such a way that your hand rises with your stomach. Hold for three counts and then exhale for three counts. Repeat five times.[4]
    • Stay in the present moment by tuning into your senses. Pay attention to how your body feels, how the mattress and sheets feel against your skin. Notice any sounds you hear from the window and any other sensory experiences.[5]
    • Try tensing and then relaxing your toes. Pay attention to how your toes feel, tense them, hold for 10 seconds, and then release.[6]
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    Stay away from stimulants and alcohol before bed. Stimulants, like nicotine and caffeine, as well as alcohol can interfere with your sleep. Avoid these substances before bedtime.
    • Nicotine, in addition to keeping you awake, comes with a host of other health problems. It's best to work on cutting cigarettes and nicotine altogether. Talk to your doctor about ways to go about quitting.
    • Caffeine stays in your system for a fairly long time, about six hours, so it's best to stop drinking caffeinated beverages in the early afternoon. Coffee, soda, energy drinks, and some teas all contain caffeine. If you drink any of these beverages later in the day, make sure they're caffeine free.[7]
    • Alcohol can make you sleepy. However, the sleep you have when drinking is of lesser quality. You'll end up waking up tired if you drink before bed, especially in excess. Try to avoid the nightcap if you want to fall asleep faster.[8]
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    Stay off your computer and phone. The blue light produced by electronic screens stimulates the brain, causing a boost in energy. In the hour before bedtime, stay off your computer and phone. Find another activity, like reading or a crossword puzzle, to entertain yourself just before bed.[9]
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    Find a way to wind down. You should find a way to wind down in the hour before bed. Engage in calming activities that can help slow your brain down and prepare you for sleep.
    • Reading is great way to wind down and tends to cause fatigue if done around bedtime. Find a relaxing book to read, something lighthearted and fun, and try to read a chapter or so before bed.[10]
    • Watching television can help some people wind down. However, the lights from TV can have a stimulating effect on the brain. Try limiting your exposure to television before bed to 30 minutes and pick a relaxing show, like a lighthearted sitcom, over something more serious like a news or crime show.[11]
    • Engaging in activities like crossword puzzles or sudoku can help you wind down before bed.

Method 2
Trying Sleep Meds

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    Try melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that plays a role in the body's natural sleep/wake cycle. Most supermarkets and drug stores sell melatonin in pill form. If you're having trouble sleeping at night, consider occasionally taking melatonin.
    • Melatonin works by making you feel sleepier. It can decrease the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep. It's typically used to treat sleeplessness or mild sleep disorders. You typically take about 5 milligrams of melatonin about half an hour before bed.[12]
    • Melatonin should not be used long term as it can cause dependency. It may cause side effects like dizziness, daytime sleepiness, and headaches. It can interact with blood thinning medications, diabetes medications, birth control, and medications that suppress the immune system. If you're on any of those types of meds, talk to your doctor before you take melatonin.[13]
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    Use over the counter sleep aids. In addition to melatonin, there are a variety of over the counter sleep aids you can use. If you're having consistent trouble sleeping, consider trying some of the following.
    • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl, Unisom SleepGels) are antihistamines that cause sedation. They can cause side effects like daytime drowsiness, blurred vision, constipation, and urinary retention. Doxylamine succinate (Unisom SleepTabs) is another sedating antihistamine that causes similar side effects.[14]
    • Valerian are plant supplements sometimes taken to aid with sleep. Studies are conflicted over whether such meds actually help with sleep.[15]
    • Talk to your doctor before choosing any over the counter sleep meds. You want to make sure such meds are safe for you, given your lifestyle, existing medications, and medical history.[16]
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    Ask your doctor about prescription medications. If your trouble sleeping doesn't improve with lifestyle changes and over the counter meds, talk to your doctor about prescription sleeping pills. These can help you fall asleep faster and have better quality sleep. Talk to your doctor about prescription sleeping pills.
    • Your doctor will probably ask you a series of questions about your sleeping patterns and overall quality of your sleep. He or she may order certain tests to rule out possible underlying conditions.
    • Your doctor will make a decision about what type of prescription meds would work for you, given your medical history and any possible condition causing your sleep issues. He or she will also go over potential side effects of the meds and any lifestyle changes you'll need to make when taking them.
    • It can take awhile to find the right sleep medication. You might have to experiment with different meds before you find the right type and dose. Insurance companies might not want to cover sleeping medications unless you've been diagnosed with a specific condition, such as insomnia, so your doctor may give you a diagnosis to assure your meds are covered.[17]

Method 3
Improving Your Sleep Long-Term

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    Get on a sleep schedule. Your body has a natural circadian rhythm that works best when you're running on a schedule. If you fall asleep and wake up at roughly the same time each day, you'll feel tired at bed time and energized in the morning. Try to stick to a bedtime and wake time, even on weekends. While it can be hard to adopt at first, after a few weeks of a new schedule you'll start to fall asleep more easily.[18]
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    Exercise. People who work out on a regular basis tend to have less trouble sleeping. Getting on an exercise schedule can help regulate your sleep.
    • Try to engage in some form of exercise each day. While you don't need to hit the gym to do vigorous aerobics each day, going for a short walk or run every day can have great benefits for your sleep schedule as well as your overall health.[19]
    • Timing is important when it comes to exercising for sleep. Exercising too late in the day can cause a rush of adrenaline, making it harder to sleep at night. Try not to exercise in the 4 to 5 hours before bed.[20]
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    Eat better. Your diet can have a tremendous impact on your sleep. Eating heavy meals late at night can cause indigestion, keeping you up with stomach pangs. Stick to lighter dinner options with less processed carbs and sugars. Eating healthier overall can help regulate your body's hormones and help you sleep sounder.[21]
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    Manage your worries long term. If your difficulty sleeping is caused by anxiety or stress, look into ways to better manage stress longterm. Ask your doctor for a referral to a therapist. A qualified therapist can help you figure out how to better manage stress. This can result in better quality sleep long term.[22]


  • Find a type of exercise you enjoy. That way, you're more likely to stick to it.


  • If you have chronic trouble falling asleep and it's affecting your ability to function, see a doctor. An underlying medication condition could be the cause.

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Categories: Better Sleeping