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5 Sleep Tricks For When You’ve Tried Everything

You’ve spent the last two hours alternating between rolling around in bed, lying on your back scrolling Facebook on your phone, dropping your phone on your face, and counting down the hours you have left before dawn. Nothing works, not warm milk (ew), a hot bath (not with these roommates), a boring nature documentary or even that lying tea called “Sleepytime.” All of your Reddit links have gone from blue to purple. It’s desperation time.

When all else fails, try these five simple alternative sleep remedies for drifting off to dreaming, right now.

Relax, Progressively

University of Maryland Medical Center outlines a technique that sends you on a mental trip down your own body. Hot, right? Here’s how it goes: Close your eyes and start by sensing your feet. Pay attention to their weight on the bed, whether your toes are tense or relaxed, how your heels feel, moving up to your ankles. Consciously relax each muscle, moving up through your calves, thighs, abdomen, arms, shoulders, neck and face. Keep scanning, relaxing anything that’s tense, and repeat from your head down until you’re dreaming.

Fake It Til You Make It

It could be as simple as telling yourself you’re sleepy. You’re going to feel very silly doing this, but try snoring lightly. This goes along with the next tip: If you’re breathing slowly and heavily, your body naturally responds with relaxation. Telling yourself you’re sleepy — or even telling yourself that you have to get out of bed in five minutes for work — might just be the mental push to send you into unconsciousness. The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep, a children’s book written by a psychologist and self-published to mixed reviews from exhausted parents — is based on this idea: If you repeat, over and over, that’s your sleepy, perhaps eventually you are.

Try Calming Breath Exercises

Make like Anna Nalick and just breathe. Dr. Andrew Weil’s 4-7-8 method for relaxed breathing claims to knock you out quickly: Exhale loudly through your mouth, then inhale through your nose while counting to four. Hold your breath for seven seconds, then exhale through your mouth with a “woosh” for a count of eight. The pause is the most important part, according to Weil — it allows oxygen to circulate through your lungs and body, and has a calming effect similar to a meditation sesh.

Get Up!

Dr. Robert Rosenberg says that after 20 minutes of lying awake, he gives up and gets up. Keep screens — television, tablet, iPhone and otherwise — off or on nighttime mode so you don’t undo all of the sleep-work you’ve done already. And of course, if your insomnia starts impacting your waking hours, talk to a doctor about your options, self-medicating or otherwise.

Find Yourself In The Clouds

Slide the glass of wine aside and grab your bowl. But how you get your THC sleep depends on what kind of snoozefest you’re seeking. Inhaling smoke will put you out faster, but popping a high-fiber edible will release more slowly, helping you stay asleep longer. Tinctures are where it’s at for clients of Elizabeth Knight, founder of Vallejo, Cali. based Pianta Tinta Collective. A tincture that’s a combination of cannabidiol (great for reducing pain and inflammation) and THC is most popular and effective, she says, that’s an Indica or Indica-dominant strain. A low dose of THC gives medicinal benefits without an uncomfortable over-high.

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