So, I’m here working on developing a bunch of characters (hashing out personalities, character flaws, appearance, mannerisms, and quick bio/history), and I look up and see it’s 3:30am. I should really go get some sleep, but there’s one little problem… I don’t even feel tired. It’s not an unusual feeling for me. I grew up dealing with that being a very energetic/hyperactive child.

But tonight, this total lack of sleepiness got me thinking. What are some good ways to start building up that sleeping momentum? I tend to fall asleep in class, but there aren’t really any classes in session this late at night. Drowsiness-inducing meds don’t work on me too well. So, I’m listing out some things I’ve done in the past to get to sleep at night.

Read the PFE. Military folk will know about this one. For the non-military folk, the PFE was this study guide for the Promotion Fitness Exam. Basically, a promotion test came in two parts–job skills and general military knowledge (contained in the PFE book). It was written like an instruction manual (lots of passive voice and written in a tone addressing the lowest level of intellect in the military that might read it). Back when I was studying for those tests, this book put me asleep faster than anything.
Workout madness. I remember going out for a run once at two in the morning in the middle of winter… when living up in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve also hit the weight room (whether it be one located at apartment complexes I used to live at or located in a gym I belonged to that was open 24 hours a day) late at night/early morning. And way back in high school, I even spent a good 45 minutes to an hour one night driving the blocking sled up-and-down my school’s football practice field.
Sugar bomb. When I was younger and not really worried about how calories impacted my body (I was one of those lucky bastard kids that could eat all day long and not gain a pound), I would load up on sugary stuff to get to sleep. Pastries, candies, ice cream, chocolage pudding pies, and all that fun stuff. Sure, I’d be wired for about a half hour, but when that sugar low hit, I’d be asleep in no time.
Don’t drink all this at home. I don’t really recommend trying this one. It worked at the time (some of my earlier days in the military), but that was mostly because I had too much stuff racing through my mind that kept me up at night. So, I drowned those thoughts out (pretty much spent every night for a long time at clubs drinking until 1-2am).
Slow things down with movies! Especially if I sit back in a nice comfy recliner with a warm blanket and put on a movie that moved to a slower pace (usually movies I’ve already seen before). Stuff like Tremors, 2001, and Dead Poet’s Society.
The ceiling stare. Stare at a single point on the ceiling and stare at it without blinking while counting backwards from 100 to 0. Repeat as necessary.

And apparently, just thinking about all these different things makes you sleepy… so I’m off to bed.