Finding great sleep secrets shouldn’t be so hard. Yet millions of people search for sleep every night and feel frustrated and exhausted. Insomnia and fatigue have become common. At the same time, we push ourselves to do and accomplish more and more.

Many cultures offer the solution of retreats or getaways to give us a break from our daily lives. But we need regular sleep solutions that save us time and energy and that we can easily remember and use.

I noticed years ago a sleep secret that we often overlook. Sleep problems generally show up as symptoms because of a lack of harmony in other areas of our lives. Many sleep problems happen because we need different pacing and greater rest throughout our days.

Additionally, we need to listen to our bodies and “hear” what they tell us by staying connected to them. When we get into bed and get caught up in our spinning thoughts and worries, we go on alert. This means that our minds become activated. This keeps us awake even though our bodies feel tired and ready for sleep.

In other words, this tired but alert state of mind translates to a lack of harmony, frustration, anxiety and health consequences.

So what’re the great sleep secrets that we can naturally use to get true REST and alleviate the symptoms of poor sleep?

Sleep Secret #1: Self-Hypnosis for Healing Sleep

My number ONE sleep secret changed my own sleep (and health!) dramatically 25 years ago and counting.  Self-hypnosiscreates a bridge between the conscious and unconscious minds because it engages and focuses attention in ways that change the activity in the brain. This natural tool shifts where we put our attention. It primes the unconscious in ways that allow it to be especially receptive to certain types of suggestions.

It makes perfect sense that a technique that connects the conscious and unconscious minds in this way would be the perfect solution to insomnia. This happens because insomnia is a problem with going from consciousness (awake) to unconsciousness (asleep).

Also, self-hypnosis empowers us by teaching us a simple way to find pockets of rest day and night. This calms the nervous system.  Using this easy tool, we can learn better control over our energy and can get better quality sleep at bedtime and better energy during the day.

Sleep Secret #2: Keep Your Eyes Wide Open (Yes! Really!)

Lying in bed, tired with eyes closed and notsleeping feels beyond frustrating! Of course, after a half hour in bed, trying to fall asleep, if you haven’t had success, experts (myself included) recommend getting out of bed for a while.

I have found it helpful to do something unusual. If you don’t drift to sleep quickly (and aren’t practicing self-hypnosis!), lay in bed with your eyes open in the dark.

I have noticed that while trying to sleep, people’s minds keep spinning. When this happens with the eyes closed, it almost feels like the body has started the resting process but the mind keeps on alert.

When we keep our eyes open, they begin to get tired and really want to close. As this happens, the mind and the body sync up. I have recommended this technique to many people. They generally report that, after a short time, it takes effort to keep those eyes open. That effort draws the attention from the mind away from the spinning thoughts. Next, the tired feeling in mind and body pulls the eyes closed, quiets the mind, and helps with falling asleep.

Sleep Secret #3: Remember Your Feet

Nothing stands in the way of drifting to sleep quite like an overactive mind. Busy thoughts keep us awake and keep our energy high in our bodies. When we want to sleep, we don’t want our energy active and focused in our upper bodies and minds.

So how can we get that activation away from our heads so that we can support our sleep?

Focusing on our feet can really help. Start by simply noticing your feet:

  • Do the right and left feet feel the same?
  • What sensations do you notice?
  • What similarities and differences in posture or position can you become aware of?
  • Does the temperature of the two feet feel the same?
  • What other interesting things can you track about the feet or legs?

As you delve into bringing awareness to the feet, you will be occupying the mind with things that connect you to the body. By shifting focus away from the thoughts, you also allow your mind to rest. Likewise, your body starts to get the message that it’s its turn to get attention and, guess what? Your body feels tired and ready for sleep!

Try out these simple sleep secrets. I hope they bring you sweet dreams. Let me know how it goes!

This article has previously posted on January 21, 2020 on


  • Dyan Haspel-Johnson, Ph.D., S.E.P.®

    Psychologist & Hypnosis Expert

    Thrive Global

    Dr. Dyan Haspel-Johnson runs a private psychological and hypnotherapy practice with a specialty in hypnosis for sleep and other mind-body-spirit modalities. After receiving her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design, Dr. Dyan earned her Ph.D. in psychology while working in a physician's holistic medical practice. Her creative and science based backgrounds inspire Dr. Dyan's unique way of thinking about healing. Her approach led her to become the Vice President of Continuing Education Programs for the Southern California Society for Clinical Hypnosis, and then to become President of that organization while also teaching at UCLA’s Department of Psychiatry and lecturing at many other institutions. Dr. Dyan's expertise with sleep, and the demand in her practice to help people to sleep better motivated Dr. Dyan to make the complimentary, downloadable eBook and video, "The 3 Biggest Things That Cause Sleep Problems & The ONE Thing You Can Do by 3pm Today to Sleep Better." She has also created the Deep & Easy Sleep Self-Hypnosis Package, available through her website.