It usually takes me three seconds to get to sleep. Occasionally, I have problems staying asleep. I have something that usually works well in getting me back to sleep, so that I seldom stay awake for long if I use my trick.
Before I found the solution, I would try lying there, counting sheep, trying not to think, reading, listening to music, watching television, eating something, and a million other things. What works for me is this. I always have a book on tape nearby with some comfortable headphones. For some reason, being read to generally puts me back to sleep, even if the book is interesting.
I often go to www.librivox.org and download public domain recorded books to import into my iPod. A month ago I was listening to The Prince, by Nicolo Machiavelli and The Art of War, by Sun Tsu. Lately I have favored Mark Twain's The Innocents Abroad and Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America.
This past month, the books have started to bleed into my dreams. Last night in my de Toqueville dreams, some friends were arguing with me about politics, one of them, in particular, favoring a weakened executive branch of government. I would have agreed with him if he had added weakened legislative and judicial branches to his wish list.