..without taking any sort of medication.

We've all been there. Tossing, turning, trying to get to sleep and finding it absolutely impossible. If you're reading this, there's a good chance you've been there recently, perhaps last night. Hell, maybe its 4am and you're reading this because you can't get to sleep. (If you just happen to be here, read on anyway). Here's a tip. I tried it last night, and it worked really well, after weeks of going to bed at 12 and getting to sleep at around 2.

Try to stay awake.

I'm not kidding. Try your damn hardest not to fall asleep. I don't mean by that to stay up all night drinking caffeinated beverages and noding. I mean go to bed, turn out the light, lie flat on your back and focus on keeping your eyes open. Once that no longer becomes possible (and it won't take long), focus on staying awake with your eyes closed. If your eyes open again, go back to the first step. I absolutely guarantee that you will be asleep in half an hour at the latest (disclaimer: if you end up with severe sleep deprivation, you can't sue me. You're weird, take some pills.)

I got this from a book called "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor E. Frankl, a psychologist. The book itself is much, much deeper than sleep deprivation (read it; it's good, may even change your life); but towards the end of the appendix, it talks about paradoxical intention, which is what we're using here. If you're fixated on trying to fall asleep, you become so apprehensive of not falling asleep that you create the condition: in a vicious cycle, your not falling asleep makes you focus on trying to fall asleep which keeps you from falling asleep. In order to break the cycle, you must focus on the opposite, and in trying to stay awake you fall asleep. (Conversely, although I have yet to try this, if you're nodding off in class or at a meeting, trying to fall asleep would probably keep you awake).

That's it, good luck; sweet dreams.