How to Go to Sleep

Everybody gets insomnia. For some, it's a temporary affliction stemming from, say, sleeping in a strange bed; merely reading a few pages of Insomnia by Stephen King is more than enough to do the trick. For others (for instance: YOU) it's a chronic illness precluding adequate production at work, the achievement of life-long dreams, and the enjoyment of even one iota of genuine happiness. So while you're up, check out our "exhaustive" list of insomnia cures people have been "dreaming up" over centuries of sleepless, bleary-eyed nights. One of them just has to just has to.

Method: Count Sheep

This one's easy. Learn how to count, grab some sheep and get to it. Eventually the sheep will produce a magic potion of drowsiness and give it to you after you promise to shut up already with the "1-2-3." If for some reason you own less than one sheep, substitute any pointless, monotonous activity, for instance teaching some ignorant dolt how to count.
Does it work? No.

Method: Drink Warm Milk

Seems straightforward, except the only place to get milk that's already warmed up is straight from a cow's you-know-what, which could be tricky. After all, you didn't have a sheep, what the hell would you be doing with a whole cow? That's like four sheep rolled into one. And once the cow figures out what you're up to, chances are he won't go for it. "Listen, Buddy, just count me or something!" And you're right back to square one.
Does it work? Nope.

Method: Exercise

Combines the relentless tedium of the counting method with repetitive, unpleasant physical labor. Anyway, it makes you really sweaty, and everyone knows how comfortable that is when you're trying to get some shuteye. I guess this is supposed to work by making you tired, except not being able to sleep even though you're tired is what insomnia is.
Does it work? Unh uh.

Method: Make Bed "Sleep Only"

If simple arithmetic and running around doesn't do it, skip straight over to tricking your subconscious. Use the bed for sleeping and sleeping only. Don't play on it, don't save on it, don't pray on it, don't drink on it, don't think on it. Just lay on it. Since the efficacy of this method is rooted in your deep-seated psychological neuroses, it helps if you start using it before you're fully conscious, say age 2. Also, see how easy it is getting some sleep after you realize you're never having sex in a bed ever again.
Does it work? Know anyone who's tried this? Tell them to contact us at

Method: Meditate

All those stray thoughts left over from the intellectual gymnastics of your workaday life are rolling around, colliding, knocking things over, crashing into the furniture and generally making a mess of things up there. Tidy them up. Put them away. Breathe deep. Clear your mind. Don't think about your job. Or your love life. Or your family. Or that weird thing on your back. Or the sordid humiliations you've suffered over the years and are doomed to eventually repeat. Just don't think about that stuff! Easy!
Does it work? Yeah, it obviously works great.

Method: Drugs and Booze

No more pussyfooting around. It's time to show your brain who's boss. And there's no better way to firmly assert your authority than to sneak up behind and crack a bottle open over your brain's skull. It was good enough for Marilyn Monroe, and there are plenty of varieties available on the open market: over the counter, under the counter, mix and match. Hey, you've got to be scrubbing up for surgery at 8 am, right? Do what you got to do!
Does it work? You bet it works, and with no unpleasant side effects.

Method: "Congratulating Mister Concentrated Bundle of Nerve Endings"

I think we know what I'm talking about. If it doesn't work the first few times, effectiveness increases with each successive attempt, probably.
Does it work? Seriously, who cares?

Method: Perfect Life

Have no worries, or money problems. Be in love and have a healthy, reciprocal, monogamous relationship with your spouse. Have talented, happy, motivated children. Have a strong, supportive network of family and friends. Have a rewarding, enjoyable, productive career. Try sleeping on your back.
Does it work? Maybe, maybe not. At this point you'll try anything, am I right?

Shek Baker, MD, is a sleep pathologist working in Brooklyn, NY.