Insomnia, though annoying, is common; the American Sleep Association says one in three adults struggles occasionally with insomnia at some point in their lives. However, if the classic “counting sheep” isn’t working for you, and you’re not keen on popping a pill, here are some strange yet scientific ways to help you drift away at night.

1. Try And Stay Awake

This sounds like the opposite of what you should be doing, but some research has suggested that people who purposely try to stay awake actually doze off faster than those who are actively trying to fall asleep.

“Keep your eyes wide open, repeat to yourself ‘I will not sleep,’” psychotherapist Julie Hirst told The Mirror. “The brain doesn’t process negatives well, so interprets this as an instruction to sleep and eye muscles tire quickly as sleep creeps up.”

2.Wear socks to bed

Once again, this may sound strange at first, especially since research suggests that cool temperatures, not warm, are ideal for helping us doze off but a Swiss study from 1999 found that warm feet and hands were the best predictor of how quickly someone would fall asleep. According to The Huffington Post, this is because shifting blood flow from your core to your extremities cools down your body, which signals your brain to go into sleep mode.

3. Blow bubbles

Bubbles aren’t just a toy to keep children amused, they actually have a hypnotic property that could help you fall asleep. Dr. Rachel Marie E. Salas, a professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told The New York Post that bubbles act as both a breathing exercise to help calm you down and slow your heartbeat, and help to keep your mind from wandering to thoughts that may keep you awake.

4. The “4-7-8” Exercise

This “sleep hack” is reputed to help you fall asleep in as little as 60 seconds. It’s based on pranayama, an ancient Indian practice that means “regulation of breath,” and also allows for the quick expulsion of carbon dioxide from the body.

To perform this technique correctly, Dr. Andrew Weil, a Harvard trained medical doctor with a focus on holistic health, told Medical Daily to place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth and keep it there through the entire exercise. Then, do the following:

  1. Exhale completely through your mouth.

  2. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose while mentally counting to four.

  3. Hold your breath for a count of seven.

  4. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.

  5. Inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

5. Buy A Lavender Candle

Not only do lavender candles make for great decoration, but research has found that the scent of lavender is very calming and may be just what you need to drift off to sleep.

One 2005 study found that the scent could have particular effect on an individual's sleep quality, and noted that people who smelled lavender before bed not only slept better, but also reported feeling more vigorous in the morning that those who had not, The Huffington Post reported.

6. Flip The Pillow

If all else fails, you can try the trick that's guaranteed to feel cool and comforting — flip the pillow. Fresh, chill linen on a fevered cheek works wonders.

Read More:

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