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How to Sleep Better: Unusual Tricks to Fall Asleep

How to Sleep Better: Unusual Tricks to Fall Asleep

You went to bed as early as possible, stopped using gadgets an hour ago, drank milk, and made sure that your bedroom is as cozy as it can be. But lo and behold: you just can’t fall asleep. Or you fall asleep but can’t stay asleep. Before you know it, it’s 5 am, and you’re more tired now than when you went to bed. In this article, we’ll discuss some unusual ways on how to sleep better.

Tips for Better Sleep

Many people with insomnia already accept that at times, they need to rely on sleeping pills to have a restful night. But if you believe your sleep trouble is just temporary, consider the following tips first before reaching out for pills.

1. Listen to Podcasts or Hypnosis

If you’re the type who feels comfortable with sounds as you attempt to fall asleep, you might want to consider podcasts or hypnosis.

There are podcasts out there that might help you sleep with calming (sometimes, boring) bedtime stories and affirmations. Some also offer guided meditation.

Another unusual way to fall asleep better is through hypnosis, which generally aims to reduce your awareness and make you more accepting of suggestions. One report said that hypnosis has been used “to manage insomnia and disorders of arousal.”[1]

However, please note that sleep hypnosis usually doesn’t involve videos. Mostly, they use voiceovers with a particular tone and rhythm or hypnotic music.

2. Squeezing Your Toes

You might have heard that one of the tips is to relax your body. You need to release all the tension of the day and just be limp. For some people though, body relaxation is hard to achieve or maintain.

There’s an interesting trick, though.

There are no studies about it yet, but some people swear that curling your toes and then releasing the tension, actually helps you relax to fall asleep faster. Others also suggest contracting different parts of your body (from toe to head) to induce relaxation.

3. Try Hard to Stay Awake

It’s human nature: when you can’t fall asleep, you try hard to sleep faster because you’re scared of the consequences of sleep deprivation.

But some experts say that’s counterproductive: the more you think about falling asleep, the less likely you are to fall into slumber.

So why not stop thinking about falling asleep and simply try to stay awake?

Paradoxical intention instructs the person to stay awake for as long as they can to remove anticipatory anxiety over bedtime. Some reports say it’s effective in people with sleep onset insomnia or those who have difficulty initiating sleep [2].

4. Acupressure

Acupressure involves pressing some points in the body for a few seconds to minutes. The concept is that these points are connected to another body part or organ and that stimulating the points is beneficial to the organ they are connected to.

A study divided 75 participants with hypertension and sleep disorders into two groups: one received acupressure, the other didn’t. Before and after treatment, the investigators measured their blood pressure and sleep quality using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) [3].

Four weeks of treatment showed that not only did acupressure improve the participants’ blood pressure, but it also improved their sleep quality.

The acupressure points involved were:

  • HT7 or Shenmen – You can find it in the inner wrist, at the hollow base aligned with the little finger.
  • KI3 or Taixi – You can find it in the inner side of the feet, at the small dip just above your heel.

Additional Ways on How To Sleep Better

Besides these four techniques, please note that online sources abound with other interesting ideas, like humming like a bee, daydreaming, and, of course, patterned breathing.

Other sources also suggest supplements that contain melatonin, valerian root, passionflower, and hops, as they promote relaxation and sleepiness. However, please be careful with supplements. Melatonin, for instance, may come with side effects, such as daytime sleepiness, nausea, and dizziness.

Still, let’s not forget the basics:

  • Make sure your bedroom is conducive to sleep. As much as possible, the room should be quiet, dark, and comfortable in terms of temperature.
  • Refrain from using gadgets an hour or two before bedtime.
  • Avoid heavy meals, alcohol, and caffeine at night.
  • Be consistent: Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.

If you continue to experience sleep troubles, please get in touch with your healthcare provider.

Learn more about Healthy Sleep here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


1) Hypnosis in the Management of Sleep Disorders, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26055676/, Accessed September 22, 2021

2) Paradoxical Intention, https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/paradoxical-intention, Accessed September 22, 2021

3) Effect of acupressure on sleep quality of middle-aged and elderly patients with hypertension, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352013214001057, Accessed September 22, 2021

4) Is melatonin a helpful sleep aid — and what should I know about melatonin side effects?, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/melatonin-side-effects/faq-20057874, Accessed September 22, 2021

5) Tips for Better Sleep, https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/sleep_hygiene.html, Accessed September 22, 2021

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Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated Apr 21
Medically reviewed by Janie-Vi Villamor Ismael-Gorospe, MD