How to fall asleep

Cat sleeping under a blanket.

For those sleepless nights. 

There’s nothing more exciting than jumping into bed after a long day of threading the line between studying, working, and trying to have fun. My laptop is switched off, skincare is done, and the pillows are all fluffed up. All there’s left to do is to close my eyes and set off into dreamland…

But then the dreaded happens. Suddenly, the room’s too hot or the nightlight’s too bright or that one time I accidently tripped on stage in front of the whole school some 12 years ago keeps popping into my head. I’m tossing and turning, and my eyes just won’t shut. 

Isn’t it just so annoying when you want to rest but your brain thinks otherwise? Even worse when I know I have to be up super early for class the next day. So, I’m left deploying every trick in the book to get myself to sleep. 

The classic being counting sheep. Childish, I know, but when you’re desperate from some snooze, you have to do what you have to do. Unsurprisingly, it doesn’t always work because I’m not 5, but it especially wouldn’t work when the reason I couldn’t go to bed was because I had too many thoughts swirling in my mind – usually prevalent during assignment and exam seasons. 

Those 4000-word essays and 6-unit subjects really keeps you up at night, huh? But I have two ways to get around these thoughts. 

The first is to confront them. Sometimes, trying to suppress whatever it is that’s eating at my brain just doesn’t cut it; I have to spill it out and make sense of it all for it to leave me alone. So, I pick up my journal and start writing. 

I’ve said before that journaling is a great tool for reflecting your thoughts and moving on from them. It’s like talking into a void: you can just give and give and give without the worry of boring it and when you’re done, you don’t have to worry about dwelling on those thoughts anymore because they’re gone – well, not literally but you get what I mean. You can just close your journal and not think about it for the rest of the night.  

But even the best of writers might not find a cure in writing away their worries. Maybe those thoughts are just too heavy to deal with a pen and a paper or maybe you’re just not in the mood to deal with them at all, and a distraction is needed instead. That might work too! 

My favourite is to read a book. Preferably ones that are made out of paper as opposed to electronic copies because I read somewhere that those lights from your devices could really mess up your melatonin levels, making it harder for you to sleep. If you’re really committed to the bit, you can try reading a chapter out of your most boring textbook. 

Most of the time they work but of course, that all depends on my body. There will be nights when it’s just not ready to rest yet, so no matter how hard I try, I probably won’t be off in a slumber anytime soon. All there’s left to do then is to hope that I won’t wake up groggy the next day.

Tagged in What messes with your head, international student, rest, sleep, Wellbeing, health and wellbeing