How to Fall Asleep Quickly Even When You’re Not Tired

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You know your next shift is only 7 hours away and you should go to bed. But you’ve just finished a fantastic episode from your favorite series and you’re geed up! You now feel like hitting the town, rather than sleeping.

Stop staring at the clock, rolling around in bed getting frustrated. Throughout this post we dive into 16 epic sleep tips to help you fall asleep quickly – even when it feels impossible.

If you are interested in checking out the best eye mask which helps us fall asleep quickly, you can find them by clicking here. (Yes – it’s worth the money)

1. Block out the Blue Light With Blue Light Blocking Glasses

Who ‘winds down’ after a busy late/night shift by looking at their phone, laptop computers or watching the next episode of their Netflix series?

We do! I often don’t want to talk for a while once I get home from a busy 2nd shift in the ER and instead turn to mind-numbing but thoroughly enjoyable TV shows like Sex and the City re-runs. 

So, what’s the problem? Blue light my friends… 

We speak about this a lot because research has shown that it keeps our sleep hormones such as melatonin from doing their thing. Ekkk!

The easiest way we have controlled this particularly hazardous stream of light (at night) is to wear Swanwick Sleep – ‘Swannies‘.

They block out 99% of the blue light which far exceeds any other blue light blocking glasses we could find on Amazon

Dan and I simply slide them on about 90 minutes before we plan to sleep (regardless of what shift we’re on) and the effects are incredible!

Fall to sleep quicker, stay asleep all night and don’t wake up feeling groggy!

We highly recommend checking out the Swanwick Sleep website here and getting your very own pair of Swannies!

Or have a read of our shift work tools page here for more information and some great video explaining what blue light blockers do in more detail.

2. Listen to Soft Tunes

“Music is food for the soul”

Music can be so incredibly powerful in helping us fall to sleep even when we’re not tired.

It has a direct effect on the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps your body relax and prepare for sleep. It can even be used to improve chronic sleep disorders like insomnia! 

Next time you’re feeling wide awake but you know it’s well it’s truly bedtime, try listening to some relaxing, meditation style music. There is a reason they use binaural beats in day spas…

We recently published a post about the most relaxing tunes to help you sleep.

It has a bunch of video and playlist examples for you to try out. See our sleep music post here.

Women wearing headphones around neck and red lipstickOpens in a new tab.
Have you tried listening to slow, soft music before you sleep?

3. Put on Your Yoga Tights

Yoga has been proven to decrease stress and tension by encouraging the practice of calm and deep breathing patterns.

My personal favorite way to practice yoga on the cheap is streaming it via YouTube to my TV through my Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote.Opens in a new tab. (Available via

My go-to channel is ‘Yoga with Adrienne’ and it’s what I recommend. She’s beautifully calm, educational and easy to follow.

Here is a great relaxing video to help you wind down and feel tired before bed. 

If you don’t experience negative effects with vigorous exercise shortly before bed, this could be the perfect solution to sleep as you’ll have tired yourself out.

We do recommend working out after a night shift if you don’t have time in the afternoon or during your shift. 

You can check out the post we wrote about this specific topic titled, Sleep or Workout? What Should I Do After Night Shift? for more information and helpful tips.

4. Use Lavender and Aromatherapy

Lavender is more than a pretty flower!

It’s a powerful essential oil that has shown to improve symptoms of PTSD, support brain function, reduce stress and help us sleep. 

While you’re wandering around the house, agitated at wanting to fall asleep quickly even when you’re not tired, use lavender. 

This lavender oil pictured is very popular on Amazon and well worth a sniff.

How to Fall Asleep Quickly Even When You're Not Tired _ The Other Shift _ lavenderOpens in a new tab.

5. Write Down What’s Stressing You Out

If you’re lying in bed and you can’t stop thinking about your shift or what you need to do the following day, write it down. Make it tomorrows problem.

Most of the time the issues are not urgent and can be solved easily the next day.

Once it’s on the paper, the worry of remembering it has vanished.

Just don’t use your phone’s light for this as the blue light will wake up those sleep hormones again.

People often say, just ‘stop thinking about it’ when giving sleeping advice.

But that doesn’t work for me as a nurse. Writing down my worries and concerns works a treat when trying to fall asleep quickly. 

Related post: Being a New Nurse is Hard. How to Stop Feeling Incompetent

Trying to fall asleep but you're simply not tired? Here are some suggestions on how to make it happen and quickly! Fall asleep when you're not tired - QUICKLY! | | #shiftworksleeptips #shiftwork #nightshift #insomnia #narcolepsy

6. Dip Your Face in Freezing Cold Water

This is called the Mammalian dive reflex.

I thought it was a load of fluff, similar to the socks theory I mentioned later on, but it seems it’s a real thing and actually works!

Immerse your face in cold water for 30 seconds and it will lower your heart rate and narrow your blood vessels.

This causes reduced blood flow to the limbs leaving more for the brain and heart.

Basically, it puts your body into a relaxed hibernation mode.

Who would have thought the simple ‘splashing your face with water in the morning’ could actually put you to sleep?

7. Get the Temperature Right

Adjust the thermostat in your bedroom to 60–75°F (15–23°C). 

Your body temperature naturally drops overnight (becoming it’s coldest at 4 am) so it’s best to provide what your body wants, even though it may be uncomfortable in the beginning. 

Try also leaving a window open, using a fan or even the air con to reach this desired temperature.  

If it’s too hot, my dreams are often vivid and wild waking me up in the middle of the night. I’m sure I’m not the only one?

Check out our favorite sleep aids here. Don’t worry, most are VERY reasonably priced and make a huge difference in your quality of sleep.

Related post: 9 Shift Work Best Practices You’re Probably Not Doing

Dan touching thermostate

8. Take a Warm Bath or Shower

My hands and entire body get exposed to some pretty gross stuff on an average shift at the hospital.

I’ll spare you the details by simply saying, having a warm bath/shower is exactly what I need as soon as I walk in the door.

But having a warm shower/bath is actually much more than just personal hygiene.

Body temperature plays an important part in regulating your circadian rhythm (body clock), which tells the body when to feel sleepy or alert.

Did you know your body is naturally cooler while you sleep? Night shift chills are REAL after all!

Having a warm shower or bath will momentarily spike your body temperature. However, once you turn off the tap and dry yourself you will naturally cool, preparing your body for sleep.

If you like an excessively hot shower, you may need up to 90 minutes to cool down to the ideal sleep temperature. 

Why not try showering in the dark or with a candle after your next shift? Even Richard Branson uses baths to help him relax and get some sleep even when he’s not tired!

9. Drink Gold Juice

We only recently discovered this winner and I will say, it’s phenomenal. Warming Organifi Gold Juice with hot milk seems to almost have a hypnotic effect on me and I’m straight to sleep!

Americans are spending up to 50 BILLION dollars a year on sleeping pills! Crazy right?

The irony is, those pills DON’T let you get the rejuvenating rest you need. That’s why we love Gold Juice.

It’s packed with superfoods to help me not only sleep soundly but it also helps support my joints and strengthen my muscles.

It’s packed with amazing, healthy ingredients like Reishi mushrooms which are used to enhance youthfulness and longevity. Bring me some of that!

10. Put Down the Caffeine and Drink Tea

Us shift workers LOVE caffeine! Alcohol, chocolate, soda, coffee.. you name it. It is our go-to pick me up. 

But instead of gulping down a large mocha latte with whipped cream from Starbucks on your way home, switch the decaf or start drinking decaffeinated herbal tea.

If that sounds uninteresting – I assure you, your taste buds will get used to it and will CRAVE it.

The caffeine signals to your brain it’s time to party and sleeping will be a distant memory – unless you’re planning a coffee nap

I use a variety of different teas on an average day. I regularly reach for Twinings of London Pure Peppermint Herbal Tea BagsOpens in a new tab. after a meal to settle my stomach and help digestion.

Then I brew a cup of either Green tea or Harney & Sons Chamomile Herbal TeaOpens in a new tab. as I’m winding down for bed. Both on day shift and night shift.

If I happen to wake up in the middle of the night and I’m struggling to fall back asleep, my go-to tea is Twinings of London Lemon & Ginger Herbal Tea BagsOpens in a new tab.

My mom recommended this simple tea combination after I complained about waking in the middle of the night. So I’m paying it forward. You’ll thank me at 4 am. 

How to Fall Asleep Quickly Even When You're Not Tired | | lemon and ginger teaOpens in a new tab.

For all my other tea needs during the day, I turn to either ‘Melbourne Breakfast Loose Leaf Black TeaOpens in a new tab.‘ from T2, Orange PekoeOpens in a new tab. or simply English Breakfast with a dash of milk.  

11. Read a Book

Not a bookworm? You don’t have to be. Reading is an incredible way to wind down, however, don’t do it in bed. 

Allow your brain to make the connection that bed is for sleep and “special cuddles” and nothing else. 

Wind down with a good book at least 30 minutes before bed, but don’t forget your Swannies to block out the blue light. This is a very important step and cannot be missed. 

We want to keep that brain in the mood to fall asleep – even when we’re not tired!

If hardcover books are too clunky, why not try reading a kindle? Check out the amazing deals through Amazon by clicking on the image below.

Too Tired To Cook Book
Need a new book? This is a must-read for shift workers – see it here on amazon

12. Turn Off/Close Your Screen

Continuing on from the above point, the blue light streaming from your devices will make getting to sleep almost impossible.

Limit your screen time an hour before you sleep and try some of the suggestions recommended in this post. 

If you’re struggling to do that, slide on your blue light blocking glasses and you’ll be right to keep scrolling!

Another tip here is just before you switch everything off, make sure you have ‘night shift mode‘ and ‘do not disturb’ activated on all your devices.

These settings are generally found under display settings and will watch your back from disturbances!

25 Effective Sleep Remedies for Falling Asleep Quickly - The Other shift

13. Control Your Breathing 

For so long I ignored this method of falling to sleep because I thought it would never work.

But since I started to actually pay attention and show some self-love, the effects of slow, relaxed breathing are incredible. Such an incredibly easy way fall asleep quickly even when you’re not tired!

Here are two different breathing techniques to help you fall to sleep:

#1. Once in bed, count back from 100 – 1, taking two deep, slow breathes in between each number. 100 – breath – breath – 99 – breath – breath – 98. etc. I bearly make it past 85!

This method keeps you focused on what number your up to and stops your brain from racing.

#2. The second breathing option is to count while your exhaling

  •  Begin by counting “one” to yourself as you breath out
  • The next time you exhale, count “two,” and so on up to “five”
  • Then begin a new cycle, counting “one” on the next exhalation

Never go beyond “five”. You will know your mind is beginning to wonder when your counting “nine”, “ten.”

14. Meditate

It may seem strange at first to simply sit in one place and do nothing, but it’s a very natural thing that’s been going on for centuries!

The 4-7-8 method is a brilliant way to start slowly introducing meditation into your life. It takes a little while to get used to, as it’s a bit different from others mentioned above, but it works a treat!

If you’re feeling a little wired from the events on your shift, try this simple, yet powerful tool. It will help relax your nervous system and promote calmness and relaxation.

Here’s what to do: 

  • First, place the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth.
  • Exhale completely through your mouth and make a whoosh sound. (This part gets a laugh from Dan every time!)
  • Close your mouth and inhale through your nose while mentally counting to four.
  • Hold your breath and mentally count to seven.
  • Open your mouth and exhale completely, making a whoosh sound and mentally counting to eight.
  • Repeat this cycle at least three more times.

[VIDEO] – If guided meditation is totally new to you, this YouTube video is very helpful. Skip to about the 57 seconds mark to begin. Try to relax by concentrating on their voice and your breathing.

15. Wear Socks

The first time I heard this I thought it was really weird.

But the theory here is, by heating your cold feet it tells the brain that it’s bedtime. In medical terms, it’s called “vasodilation”. 

It may not be the sexiest sleeping strategy but it’s worth a try, especially when it’s scientifically proven research, right?

How to Fall Asleep Quickly Even When You're Not Tired| The Other Shift | Man is bed with socks on

Related post: Can’t Sleep After Night Shift? 13 Weird Tips That Actually Work​

16. Take Melatonin or Other Sleep Supplements

You can see from this extensive list that medications are NOT the only option to help you fall to sleep quickly even when you’re not tired.

In the small handful of times, we have used Melatonin, we did fall to sleep, but awoke feeling terrible!

If you absolutely need to take Melatonin then go for it, BUT try all these solutions first.

Our tip here is if you still have 4+ sleeping time before you need to get up, but you can’t sleep, then take it. Any less, resist. Otherwise, you’ll wake feeling lethargic and groggy. 

Natrol Melatonin works well and is very popular on Amazon if you need to stick a spare bottle in the medicine cabinet.

Just be aware, I personally only need either the 3mg or 5mg, not the 10mg. It’s too much for me.

If you are on the fence about Melatonin and other sleep aids – check out these two posts we wrote shift working medications.

Bonus: Stick to a Routine

We often bang on about the importance of a sleep routine.

Why? Your body needs to know when it’s time to ‘wind down’ so it can start preparing your body and mind.

We are habitual creatures and creating a systematic routine will improve sleep.

For most shift workers, having a sleep routine can be almost impossible, especially those on a rotating roster.

But following the same routine before bed, regardless of the time of day will help. Show some self-love and give your brain the heads up that sleep is coming…

Related post: 8 Useful Hacks for Surviving Night Shift With No Sleep

Sleep Routine Tip…

Start to make sure that in the 1-2 hours before bed, most things looks the same. For example, the time you go to bed, having a bath, smelling lavender, listening to sleep music, stretching and/or reading a book.


Summary: How to Fall Asleep Quickly Even When You’re Not Tired

Falling to sleep is TOTALLY possible even when you’re not tired

Discovering different strategies which help you fall asleep instantly, even if you’re still buzzing from work, is a buzz in itself.

We hope you found a few treasures throughout this article to help conquer your sleeping woes!

Leave me a comment below if you enjoyed this article on how to fall asleep when you’re not tired or have any questions!

P.s if all of that seems too hard and you want to try something a little different, check THIS out. Instant access to the Six Steps to Sleep program which I’m sure will work just as well for you as it did others in the reviews.


Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links, meaning we receive a commission if you decide to make a purchase through our links, but this is at no additional cost to you. Please read our disclosure and privacy statement for more info.

Are you struggling to fall to sleep because your simply NOT tired? Maybe you're wired from your previous shift and can't stop thinking about it. Or, maybe you're stressing about all the jobs you need to do tomorrow? Here are 19 amazing sleeping tips to put you to sleep instantly! | | #sleepingtipsbreathingtechniques #sleepingtips #shiftworksleepingtips #shiftwork #cantsleep
Are you reliant sleeping medications and drugs to help you fall asleep? There is a better way. Here are 19 incredible sleeping tips and sleep remedies for both teens and adults to help you fall to sleep instantly! | | #sleepingtipsbreathingtechniques #sleepingtips #shiftworksleepingtips #shiftwork #cantsleep
How to Fall Asleep Quickly Even When You're Not Tired. 19 sleeping tips - not using medications - to help you fall to sleep instantly! | | #bettersleeptips #sleepingtips #shiftworksleepingtips #shiftwork #cantsleep #Shiftworksleepdisorder

Emma @ The Other Shift

Hey there! I'm Emma Smith a passionate, Registered Nurse from Australia. Together with my husband Daniel, we run The Other Shift. Our sole aim is to help shift workers and those on unusual schedules find balance between work and life. I understand the challenges of fitting in exercise, maintaining relationships and getting enough quality sleep, but I'm excited to show you that it’s possible to do shift work and still thrive. Read more about us and our story here.

4 thoughts on “How to Fall Asleep Quickly Even When You’re Not Tired

  1. It is very easy to go wrong while brewing green tea. It needs to be brewed at the right temperature, for the right amount of time. For that perfect cup of tea, the optimal temperature is 80 degree Celsius. Anything over this temperature and you risk your tea turning bitter. Green tea has a lot of elements in it that contribute to its complex flavor.

    1. Jong,
      We appreciate the kind advice to our readers. Thank you for sharing!

  2. When you brew green tea, excessive heat or over-steeping will result in a bitter, tannin-rich tea. An instant digital probe thermometer and a simple kitchen timer are valuable tools when you’re brewing tea!

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