Got Insomnia? 10 Things to Do While Not Sleeping

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If you, like 60 million Americans, are affected by insomnia, set aside the existential dread that finds you in the dark of night for a moment. When you lay awake in bed wondering  what’s keeping you from sweet, sweet unconsciousness, take the following steps to distract yourself from all of that not-sleeping that you’re doing. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll catch a bit of that blessed, elusive thing called sleep in the end:


  1. I know that leaving your cozy nest of a bed seems like the worst thing possible , but wandering the halls of your home (or apartment complex or dorm) like a heartbroken, listless ghost will surely wear you out, at least a little.

  2. It has been hours since dinner, and your digestive system has been working this whole time you’ve been awake, so why not seek out a snack? No one will miss all of the food in the fridge, cupboards and pantry, anyway. If they do, blame the ghost you heard shuffling about last night.

  3. Settle into the couch to watch some Netflix, Watch the first five minutes of any show anyone has recommended to you before you decide to watch all nine seasons of The Office, again—every restless spirit has its favorite old haunts, anyway, and you’re no exception!

  4. Settle into replaying that one weird social interaction you had today in an infinite loop of what ifs and I should have saids—and really settle in; you’ll be here for a while.

  5. Go back to the bedroom, but do not get into bed. Instead, just watch your roommate sleep for a while. Imagine what it would be like to sleep, to dream, to wake up in the morning refreshed, to be so unconscious that you don’t know your weird roommate is watching you sleep. Be sure to stand exactly at the foot of their bed while you watch them, just in case they wake up and see you—who doesn’t love a good, middle-of-the-night scare?

  6. Go outside. Look to the east and keep looking. Don’t pay attention to how pretty the early morning mist looks or the dew shining on the grass. Look only for the dawn creeping up the dusky horizon. Look until you see it. When you do, go back inside and lie to yourself: it doesn’t matter that you’ve had no sleep, no sleep at all—it’s going to be a beautiful, new day!

  7. Find yourself, somehow, on Netflix again. You may not be sure how you got here, and your eyes may feel like they’re going to dry up and roll out of your head,but you’re here, so you might as well binge more shows.

  8. Go back to bed and crawl under the covers like a creature returning to its underground den. Shuffle around until comfortable, making sure to twist all of your bedsheets around around your body, and close your eyes. Sleep for 20 minutes before your alarm goes off.

  9. I don’t know anymore. Just give up and let the grey tide of sleeplessness and dread wash over you, I guess?

  10. Repeat as necessary.

Rebecca Ryder is a senior studying English and creative writing. She can usually be found with a pen or paintbrush in her hand, dabbling in painting, calligraphy, and photographing her sisters for the blog they dream of running together. Follow her on Instagram  at @rebwriter

Tags: helpful, insomnia, sleeping, tips