Tips for falling asleep

Man waking up stretching with arms up

Be a beginner
Remember, each night is a new night. If what you’ve been doing isn’t working, be open and try something different!

Don’t force it
Listen closely. Listen deeply. Sleep is a process that can’t be forced. Instead, allow it to unfold. Trying too hard to sleep longer or better isn’t helpful and will only stress you out.

Let go
If you’re holding onto an idea of how much sleep you “should” get, you’ll only worry if you don’t get that amount. Can you let go of the “should” and allow sleep, any sleep, to happen naturally?

No judging allowed
It is easy to judge being awake instead of asleep as bad, especially if you haven’t slept well for several nights. But this kind of negative judgment can interfere with the process of sleep. Instead of labeling it as “good” or “bad,” is there a way you can think about your sleep that feels less judgmental?

Recognizing and accepting your current state is an important first step in choosing how to respond. If you can accept that sleep is not likely to come soon, why not get out of bed? Spending long periods of time awake in bed might make you used to being awake in bed.

Trust that your mind and body knows what it needs. Also, trust that both can self-regulate and self-correct for sleep loss. For example, short consolidated sleep often feels more satisfying than longer fragmented sleep. Trust your sleep system and let it work for you.

Be patient! If you’ve been in a cycle of sleeplessness, it can take time for the quality and quantity of your sleep to fall into a more natural rhythm.



This copyrighted information is courtesy of and sleep psychologist Jason Ong.


Reviewed by Kaiser Permanente Clinical Ambassadors, including Mark Dreskin, MD, Sharon Smith, LPC, and/or David Kane, LCSW. September 2018.

Mindful, healthy mind, healthy life

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor.

Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage, Summary Plan Description or other coverage documents. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.