Dealing with sleep issues is a heavily personalized issue; Each of us have issues with falling asleep for a variety of reasons.
But I figured I might as well share the various ways that I use to fall asleep. Maybe it can help if you're having problems like me.
For me, falling asleep is much more about the comforting environment that enables me to fall asleep, much more so than a specific technique to employ while in the act of drifting off to sleep, although I do have such techniques.
Fostering the right environment takes some effort, but I have discovered that I am at my best when I'm setting myself up for sleep success. Here are areas that I deliberately watch out for:
Am I Exercising?
Exercise is the quickest and easiest "trick" I know to set myself up for sleep success. Expending calories and doing high intensity workouts means that I'll be at a caloric deficit and my body will naturally want to eat more to recover from the deficit, and sleep more to help with muscle building in response to the stresses I've introduced.
It's the healthiest natural habit.
Am I Introducing Stimulus at the Wrong Time?
I've noticed that whenever I watch an episode of a TV show I like before going to bed, I have trouble sleeping. Good stories are a form of stimulus for me that does not aid me in going to sleep. It gets my mind going. I think about the many different open ends of the story. I think about the character development and the relationships that are being developed. I think about how I relate to the characters. And the endless stream of consciousness about the story ends up consuming me and is too jarring to cultivate a calm state of mind.
Are My Relationships In Check?
Whenever I have had an argument with my spouse, or more generally, done something I regret, then I will typically be consumed by thoughts on how that could have gone better, what I can learn, and what to do next.
While these situations are something we all deal with, it's worth working on relationships for the sole reason that it is healthier not to have to constantly think about needing to amend relationships and mull over regrets.
Are My Actions Aligned with my Long-Term Goals?
There is typically no short-term solution for this root cause, but I find that if I feel incongruence between who I want to be and who I am being, I find it difficult to comfortably sleep at night. The only way this can get back in shape is to consistently work on strengthening good habits and cut bad habits.
Caffeine at the Wrong Time?
This one is a simple one, but caffeine late in the afternoon can potentially mess with my biological sleep clock. Caffeine, at least for me, feels like it can definitely suppress the natural production of melatonin, and I try to avoid it from the late afternoon on.
Now that I list my "pointers" for how to fall asleep, I am realizing that it's basically in alignment with living a meaningful life. Perhaps quality of sleep is just a symptom that correlates with being happy and purpose-driven.