10 Things to Do at 3 a.m. When You Can’t Sleep

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By: Ben Hays

We’ve all been there. The big interview is tomorrow, and you can’t sleep. It could also be because of that last Kit-Kat you ate before hitting the sack. Regardless of how or why, every single one of us has been awake way past bedtime. The endless void that is your ceiling returns its glaring stare that dares one to make themselves useful. But what exactly can one do when faced with endless insomnia? Fortunately, I have plenty of experience in this area, and would am here to present 10 possible solutions for your predicament.

1. Write A Story: Inspiration strikes when it chooses, and as such, be on the lookout for it. Your 3 AM cravings may in fact be the brainstorm of the next New York Times Best Seller! Conjuring up fantasy battles and love triangles can prove too tiring for your mind, however, and send you on your way across the world you just envisioned.

2. Clean Your Room: Did you simply not have time to clean up because of that last English assignment? Well, now you have time! Walking back and forth across your personal 500 square feet of floor and ceiling can be good exercise for your legs and lower back, while also expending extra energy your body may have. I’m sure your parents will appreciate not seeing that pair of underwear hanging on the back of your chair anymore, as well.

3. Eat and Drink Bland Things: Often, the reason insomnia strikes is because your brain is overstimulated before you doze off. I have found eating or drinking bland things such as bread and water can cleanse your palette, and your brain will stay focused on that T-Bone Steak you were dreaming about. Its not real, I promise. You just need to convince your brain that it is. That leftover meatloaf flavor isn’t helping anything.

4. Work a Puzzle: All that math homework has left your brain overactive, and it needs a good challenge to wear it down. Solving a puzzle works your entire brain and will rend your mind numb, useless, and tired. You don’t even have to solve the whole puzzle sometimes.

5. Turn Your Phone On and Off Repeatedly: This fun and rigorous activity is a favorite among many insomniacs, as it acts as a fidget device, soothing and fulfilling the brain’s need for screen. Flipping the light switch up and down is an acceptable alternative for those who live under a rock.

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6. Remember That Homework Assignment You Didn’t Finish: This one is self-explanatory. We’ve all forgotten that one essay that we didn’t start and is due in 3 days. Now is a great time to do research, outline, remember how to do MLA format, and prepare your plea for the professor to give you a B on it.

7. Read: Books are everywhere, and it doesn’t matter what you read. History, Ancient Literature, the Bible, a book you loved in middle school and now realize was actually pretty immature, anything! Just don’t read anything too sad or confusing, or you’ll end up reversing any progress you may have made.

8. Listen to Music: Now, everyone defines music differently, but I recommend listening to Classical music. Anything too complex or with lyrics can, similarly to complex books, get your brain active in a way that it wakes up rather than using energy. Music without lyrics is highly recommended.

9. Walk Around the House: Doing laps around the house is an essential exercise in returning to sleep. You can even make new friends doing it, such as your little brother’s Lego robot or the wall! If you are not looking to improve your social life, simple stretches such as windmills and leg raises are healthy isometric exercise that use energy and build muscle mass.

10. Have A Staring Contest With The Ceiling: Its amazing how someone so silent can remind you of so much. Be wary, Mr. Ceiling plays dirty and reminds you of your darkest secrets, whether its that cookie you stole, that assignment you cheated on, or how you said you took out the trash (but you didn’t). He also makes you ask yourself confusing questions such as “What grade will I get on that essay? Did I leave the oven on? What is the meaning of life? Why do I exist?” One way or another, you will blink. Sometimes, that blink remains unfinished as you drift off into the abyss you just gazed into.

And there you have it! The 10 best ways to fall asleep when attacked by insomnia. Using these tips, you should be getting at least 20 more minutes of sleep a night before your nerves about tomorrow return. Good night, sleep tight, and don’t let the bed bugs bite. They’re out to get you.

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