Always had trouble getting off to sleep sleeping and worse still weird nightmares when I do. They say try hot milk and switching off the tv or computer a good hour before bed and this does work just not all the time.
Just sat here quietly reading and something in the kitchen is making an odd crackling munching kind of noise that stops and starts randomly. I've been following the noise around ready to pounce on the culprit and finally caught... a stick of rhubarb that's slowly splitting along it's length. Time to get some sleep I think.
I've been in the Navy for a long time and insomnia comes at the worst times.
This past year I've been working shiftwork ashore: two 12 hour days (0600-1800), followed by two 12 hour nights, then 5 days off. The cycle is hardest after my second night shift.
Last year, when I was still on a ship, I listened to a radio interview with a Psychologist who researches sleep aid techniques. The best his lab came up with is this:
1. Choose a word (6-10 letters or thereabouts)
2. Start with the first letter of the word and think of as many words as you can starting with that same letter.
3. If you got 2 or 3 or 4 seconds without coming up with a word for that letter move onto the second letter of the original word.
4. Think of as many words as possible starting with the second letter.
5. Continue until you fall asleep.
The reason this method works goes something like this. As we fall asleep, our mind opens up and starts allowing random neural firings. It's why we cannot concentrate when we're falling asleep and why we get those little micro dreams as we're drifting off. The above technique puts the cart before the horse. As you randomly think of those words, you are causing very fast random thoughts and tricks the brain into going to sleep.
I used this technique during my last four months sailing and never had a problem getting to sleep until about 8m seas kicked in during a Nor-easter.
Now that I'm doing shift work and sometimes need to sleep during the day, I use this method and can drift off usually in less than 5 letters (10-20 words per letter).
The more you use it, the easier it becomes.
Years ago, as a single parent and and IT consultant, I found I had to look after the kids and get paper work ready. Work through the night, kids off to school, sleep during the day, make tea, kids to bed, back to work. I now find it is not an issue not to sleep at the times society says we should. Books can be read at any time. Less noisey Housework can be done at 0300hrs, recorded TV is still the same at 0500. When the body says enough is enough, you will sleep, oh by heck you will sleep. Why sweat it!