11 ways to fall asleep during wartime

It is very dif­fi­cult to fall asleep dur­ing the war, but get some sleepI — even hard­er. Due to stress, explo­sions, con­stant air alarms, wor­ries about your­self and loved ones, sleep not only wors­ens, it com­plete­ly dete­ri­o­rates. Vol­un­teer­ing, mil­i­tary ser­vice and ser­vice in ter­ri­to­r­i­al defense also do not allow relax­ation. What to do if you can’t sleep?

How to fall asleep


Stress is the most com­mon cause of insom­nia — a con­di­tion where there are dif­fi­cul­ties falling asleep or main­tain­ing a long-term sleep. In a state of stress, a high lev­el of adren­a­line leads to the fact that even dur­ing sleep, the body does not rest, but con­tin­ues to work active­ly. From this, a per­son wakes up even more tired. A vicious cycle occurs: stress caus­es insom­nia, and insom­nia increas­es stress. But the body needs to restore strength in spite of every­thing. That is why it is extreme­ly impor­tant to sleep reg­u­lar­ly and at least sev­en hours a day, at least in frag­ments. How to do it?

Read also: Why dream of preg­nan­cy

How to fall asleep when the war is outside the window?

We have col­lect­ed advice from the Pub­lic Health Cen­ter of the Min­istry of Health of Ukraine, psy­chol­o­gists and psy­chi­a­trists on how to fall asleep quick­ly despite anx­i­ety and stress.

Falling asleep under fre­quent sirens, explo­sions and shelling is very dif­fi­cult. In addi­tion, it is scary to sleep through the air alarm. But you can improve your sleep!

1. Adequately assess the situation

If you force your­self to stay awake because you are afraid of miss­ing some dan­ger, con­sid­er that the war may last a long time, and the ner­vous exhaus­tion from lack of sleep will not help you.

2. Forget about the news for a while

Before going to bed, do not read the news on the Inter­net, do not watch TV. Bad news will alarm you and only harm you if you can­not influ­ence any­thing. In wartime, every­one wants to be up-to-date on the lat­est events, but this is def­i­nite­ly not good for sleep.

Read also: Music for sleep: cool playlist for insom­nia

3. If you can’t fall asleep, rest

If you can’t fall asleep, don’t pick up your phone or do oth­er things. Lie down with your eyes closed and try to relax. Such rest will help the brain to relax a lit­tle.

4. Drink sedatives

It is advis­able to con­sult a doc­tor before doing so. It is safest to take plant-based seda­tives, tinc­tures of valer­ian, peony or mint. Do not exceed the dosage indi­cat­ed in the instruc­tions!

Read also: How to fall asleep quick­ly if you don’t want to sleep

Read the book


5. Provide yourself with maximum sound insulation

You can put head­phones in your ears, cov­er your head with a blan­ket or a hood — you need to drown out the sur­round­ing sounds as much as pos­si­ble.

6. Take turns sleeping with loved ones

If you live in a dan­ger­ous region and are afraid to sleep through the air alarm, try tak­ing turns sleep­ing with your loved ones. Then some­one will def­i­nite­ly warn oth­ers about the dan­ger.

7. More hugs!

Hug a loved one, a child, a toy or a pil­low in a dream. Tac­tile con­tact will help to calm down and relieve a lit­tle stress.

Read also: Relieve stress and ten­sion: mobile appli­ca­tions for med­i­ta­tion

6 effective ways to fall asleep during military operations

Psy­chol­o­gists, psy­chi­a­trists and sports reha­bil­i­ta­tion spe­cial­ists have long stud­ied the abil­i­ty of a per­son to sleep under con­di­tions of stress and men­tal over­load. Sci­ence has not invent­ed any­thing extra­or­di­nary, but the advice of med­ical experts should be used.

Boring books

Doc­tor of Med­ical Sci­ences, Amer­i­can psy­chi­a­trist Jared Hit­man advis­es not to for­get about the good old way to fall asleep — read­ing a book before going to bed. But here there are sev­er­al con­di­tions that are impor­tant to fol­low in order for every­thing to work.

  • First, it should be a paper book (read­ing an e‑book in bed may not give the desired result).
  • Sec­ond­ly, the book should have pleas­ant con­tent that soothes and fills with pleas­ant thoughts and emo­tions. That is, it is bet­ter not to read busi­ness lit­er­a­ture, hor­rors or dra­mas.

Dr. Heath­man also says that books that pro­mote antic­i­pa­tion and excite­ment can encour­age you to keep read­ing. Instead, he rec­om­mends excerpts from moti­va­tion­al or spir­i­tu­al lit­er­a­ture with short chap­ters. Such a for­mat can always be post­poned when you feel that you have almost fall­en into the arms of Mor­pheus.

To-do list for tomorrow

Psy­chol­o­gists believe that mak­ing a to-do list right before bed can help you fall asleep. In a spe­cial psy­cho­log­i­cal study, peo­ple were offered a choice of writ­ing for five min­utes before going to sleep either about what they need­ed to do in the com­ing days (to-do lists) or about the tasks they had com­plet­ed in the pre­vi­ous few days. The group that made to-do lists for the next day fell asleep faster than those who made a to-do list.

But in order for it to work, there is one impor­tant con­di­tion — it can­not be reread and improved a hun­dred times. You record things on paper in order not to scroll through them again and again in your head. This gives you peace of mind, as you have assured your­self that you will def­i­nite­ly not for­get any­thing impor­tant.

Read also: 13 reme­dies for anx­i­ety

Prayer before bed



A study con­duct­ed with 305 par­tic­i­pants (all of them were over 40 years old and had prob­lems sleep­ing) proved that phys­i­cal activ­i­ty has a pos­i­tive effect on the qual­i­ty of sleep and falling asleep. The need for sleep­ing pills, which were tak­en by some of the par­tic­i­pants, also decreased.

But you should not post­pone all exer­cis­es for the evening. Exer­cis­ing or work­ing too late and too hard will cause an adren­a­line rush.

Muscle relaxation

Psy­chol­o­gist Olga Kabit­s­ka advis­es to try the com­plete relax­ation tech­nique. It should be start­ed with the chew­ing mus­cles of the face — one of the strongest in the human body, but those that are exposed to stress. Hav­ing relaxed them, we relax the mim­ic mus­cles: exhale sev­er­al times with the jaw as if hang­ing down, low­er­ing it and open­ing the mouth.

Square breathing

When the mus­cles of the head have been relaxed, it’s time to relax the whole body. The tech­nique of “square” breath­ing or the method called “1 to 2” will help you here. In this way, we slow down the heart rate, sta­bi­lize the pres­sure and calm down.

Breath­ing by the “square” means inhal­ing for four sec­onds. Here’s how it’s done:

  • count to four and in the mean­time inhale through the nose;
  • we count 1, 2, 3, 4 and at this time we do not breathe, keep­ing air in our lungs;
  • exhale through the mouth again to the count of 4, at the same time, by the way, relax­ing our chew­ing mus­cles;
  • then we do not breathe with­out air, count­ing to four.

The 1 to 2 method is to inhale for a count of four, then hold your breath for the same amount of time and exhale for a count of eight.

Read also: What to do if you have a pan­ic attack

Clearing thoughts

There is also a spe­cial “thought clear­ing” tech­nique that helps you fall asleep with­in 2–5 min­utes. It was first described by the Amer­i­can coach Bud Win­ter in the book “Relax and Win” in 1981.

The author advis­es to clear thoughts using one of three images:

  • you are lying in a boat on a calm lake and there is only a clear sky above you;
  • you lie in a black vel­vet ham­mock in a dark room;
  • you lie and repeat to your­self: “Don’t think, don’t think, don’t think.”

Despite its sim­plic­i­ty, this tech­nique works in most cas­es. If you can’t imag­ine spe­cif­ic images, you should try pray­ing, med­i­tat­ing or sim­ply dream­ing about a hap­py future that will sure­ly come after the war.

And how do you man­age to fall asleep when you feel stressed?

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