Ways to Go to Sleep When You’re Just Flopping Around

“Sweetie! You’re floppin’ like a fish!”

That was my dad at bedtime on most vacations. Young Court stayed up way too late on a cot at Knights Inn, usually air cycling. I can still be a restless flopper, but these days I’m awake pondering infinity, searching for brunch recipes, or reading about America’s Most Wanted on Wikipedia.


And I’m not alone! America is full of floppers looking for ways to go to sleep. According to a Centers for Disease Control study, one in three adults don’t sleep the recommended seven hours. That’s a big deal because lack of sleep can lead to health problems, says Harvard Medical School, not the least of which is a being a big ole’ grump. For this lady, anyway.

In the long term, we know better sleep comes with regular exercise, avoiding sugar before bed, yada, yada, yada. But for those 2 a.m. episodes – when your brain is like, “TRY ME” – here are five ways to go to sleep from a recovering flopper.

5 Ways to go to sleep

1. Cover your eyes.

My mama raised me to sleep anywhere. I’m forever grateful, especially because city living rarely delivers on quiet. So, I go for dark. Fugetabout sleeping with a MASK. That’s for bandits. Instead, I put the corner section of a throw blanket over my eyes. It also applies some pressure, like weighted blankets, which reduced insomnia for participants in a study published in the Journal of Sleep Medicine & Disorders.

2. Have a cuppa valerian tea.

Valerian is an herb that according to WebMD calms the brain and nervous system. In most studies to date, valerian helped people fall asleep 15 to 20 minutes faster than usual. I feel relaxed about an hour after a cup of my go-to teas: The Big Chill and Mother’s Little Helper. Valerian is the star ingredient of both. The latter tastes more medicinal, if you’re into that.

3. Calm your mind with Meditation Studio.

When I downloaded this gem back in 2017, it was free. Today subscriptions for the Meditation Studio app are $3.99-$49.99. Totally worth it, people. It has hundreds of guided meditations up to 30 minutes long. They focus on breath, heartbeat, body or visualization and cover topics like sleep, stress, pain and anxiety. I almost always crash a few minutes in, so that’s all she wrote.

4. Or calm your mind…yo’self.

If formal meditation isn’t for you, try this:

Breathe in, from your belly, through your nose for five counts.
Hold your breath for another five counts.
Then gently breathe out through your mouth for, you guessed it, five more counts. Do your darndest not to blow out that pretend candle in front of you.

That’s one breath. Repeat for a total of seven. Why seven? No idea. It just works – I almost never make it there.

5. Read a book.

I’m getting better, but I rarely finish books because I usually fall asleep reading. And science is with me! A University of Sussex study showed that reading for just six minutes can lower stress levels by nearly 70%. That stack of half-read books on my nightstand? Proud owner!

Your turn. What are you adding to this list of ways to go to sleep?

Nope, this post isn’t sponsored. I just dig these things.

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