What to do if it’s 2 a.m. with no sign of sleep

Photo of woman trying to sleep
Luce Collymore Abbas/Staff

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You’re in your bed with the blanket wrapped around your body like a human burrito. Your eyes are closed and you try your best to drift into unconsciousness. You’re counting sheep, listening to the sound of waves crashing against sand and chugging a mug of warm (nondairy) milk. But alas, you’re still wide awake. Minutes and hours pass by, but you haven’t met the warm grasp of sleep. In situations such as these, you have to get out of bed and do something. It’s best to try the following until you eventually enter sleep mode. 

Scroll aimlessly through TikTok

One of the best things about TikTok is the never-ending supply of videos the “For You” page offers. It’s even better for those sleepless nights when you need something to entertain yourself. You’ll find yourself diving down different rabbit holes within the app. Currently, I am stuck in “Swift-Tok” and “True Crime-Tok,” the videos which are about Taylor Swift and true crime mysteries, respectively. These rabbit holes are perfect to occupy your early morning hours while also increasing your screen time! If you want to take this activity further, you should send your favorite videos to your friends. The main goal is to have the recipient wonder, “Why is this person sending me TikToks at 2:37 a.m.?” The more obscure the time, the better.

Reorganize your entire life

After watching all those TikToks, you’re probably rethinking your current life trajectory. Am I actually happy with my major? Should I get up and move to another city? Does my current style truly reflect my inner self? Questions such as these pervade sleepless nights, and there is no better time to plan a drastic change in your life. Pull up your Notes app or a Google Doc and list the goals you want to reach. For example, if you want to switch your major, list the courses you need to take to fulfill the requirements. After doing all that work, you might be overwhelmed with what you have to do. And there is a 99.9% chance that you’ll give up on this drastic change within the hour of you writing all those goals.

Buy something online that you might regret in the morning

This is one of my favorite late-night activities because I love the thrill of hitting “add to cart” and surprising myself the next day. The trick is to buy something you don’t really need that is a bit pricey but that’s something you’ve been wanting. It could be a video game you want or even a nice purse. But primarily you should buy an item that will marginally improve your life. I usually go through my bookmarks to see what I really want. During the checkout process, I eagerly punch in my debit card number. Will I ever financially recover from this purchase? I don’t know. But will it bring me temporary happiness and a mini boost of serotonin? Absolutely.

Sneak into the kitchen for a snack

After all that time staying awake, your stomach is probably yearning for a snack. It’s definitely time to tiptoe to your pantry to see what’s available. Although you could go for a bag of chips or some Oreos, those options are too obvious. Your best bet is to use the stove or microwave to warm something up! It’s also fun to see how quiet you can be while heating foods up. Pressing the “stop” button when the microwave timer has one second left gives me such an adrenaline rush. But if in the process you wake someone up, make sure to be considerate and offer them some of the food.

If you have exhausted all these options, obviously try to repeat all four again. However, if it’s 8 a.m. and you’re still not tired, sleeping is a lost cause. Maybe next time do some studying, which will inevitably bore you sleep.

Contact Nicholas Clark at [email protected].