6 Tips for Falling Asleep Fast that Might Change Your Relationship with Sleep

Do you find that you often toss and turn at night, wishing that your mind would accept sleep as friend, not foe? We have put together 6 must-have tips for falling asleep fast.

By Nicole Gleichmann

You hit the hay thinking that tonight might be the night that you drift off to sleep without a problem…only to be staring at your clock in exasperation an hour later. The frustration that you feel only feeds the cycle; what you need are actions you can take to distract your mind and encourage a sleepy state.

Rest assured, there are things that can help you get the sleep that you so long for. We have compiled 6 simple tips that you can use to shorten your journey to sleep.

Tip #1: Set a Sleep Schedule

Humans evolved to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. As the sun would slip below the horizon, we would become sleepy. And once the sunlight would begin to brighten the sky, we would naturally wake up.

As a result of these thousands of years of conditioning, we humans developed something called a circadian rhythm. This biological clock dictates our sleep-wake cycle. It is controlled largely by light but also by temperature and other cues.

When you vary your bedtime throughout the week, your internal clock will be maladjusted, making it exceptionally hard to fall asleep when you need to. If you find that insomnia is impeding on your health and quality of life, setting a sleep schedule is the first step to success.

Tip #2: Practice Breathing Techniques

Have you ever noticed that you breathe harder when you are feeling stressed or upset? And when you are relaxed or sleepy, your breathing is slow and steady? This is no coincidence. Our breath and our mental state are tied via our nervous system. Rather than allowing your mind to control your breath, you can use your breath to help relax your mind.

To do so, try the 4-7-8 breathing method when lying in bed.

  1. Relax your muscles and clear your mind.
  2. With your lips closed, inhale through your nose for a count of 4 seconds. Count inside your head, not aloud.
  3. Hold your breath for 7 seconds.
  4. Part your lips and slowly breathe out for a count of 8, making a whooshing sound as you exhale.
  5. Repeat for four or more breaths. Stop once you feel your mind and body relax, and then allow your breathing to return to normal.

Tip #3: Listen to Something

Many of us spend the last part of our evenings watching tv or scrolling through our favorite smartphone app. These devices release blue light, which tells our brains that it is still daylight—time to stay awake, not time to go to sleep. Additionally, they provide mental stimulation that makes it hard to quiet the mind.

Instead of using visual electronic devices before bed, try listening to music, a sleep podcast, or a meditation recording. These three options allow you to turn the lights down low while giving your mind something to concentrate on that isn’t going to make you more awake.

Tip #4: Take a Warm Bath

Slip into the luxurious waters of an Epsom-salt-infused bubble bath 30 minutes before bed. Light candles and turn on some relaxing music. The temperature change that happens when you get out of the warm water will tell your body to release the sleep hormone, melatonin. Plus, the ambiance can help to calm your mind before you make your way into your warm, comfy bed.

Tip #5: Try Progressive Relaxation Techniques

According to the National Sleep Foundation, progressive relaxation techniques are able to bring you closer to dreamland. Lie in bed in a comfortable position. Squeeze your toes tightly, and then let go, allowing all of the stored-up tension to release. Continue to do this up the rest of your body, squeezing the muscles as you make it all the way up to your forehead.

Tip #6: Set Up Your Bedroom for Sleep

To set yourself up for a smooth transition into slumber, it is helpful to have a good sleep environment. Without it, you may find that none of the tricks above prove fruitful. To fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly:

  • Be Sure Your Bed Is Comfortable: Have a comfortable and supportive mattress along with bedding that keeps you feeling good all night long.
  • Turn Down the Thermostat: Many people wake up hot in the middle of the night. That’s because our ideal nighttime temperature is lower than our perfect daytime temperature. Around 66 degrees is ideal.
  • Use White Noise: A white noise machine or white noise playlist can help you drown out noises that could keep you from falling or staying asleep.
  • Reduce Light: Light exposure cues to your brain that it’s time to be alert. If you have light pollution that comes through your windows, invest in quality blackout curtains or blinds.

Conclusion

No one wants to spend their time in bed tossing and turning. Having a few tricks up your sleeve when you have trouble falling asleep can be a nighttime sleep savior. But keep in mind that your lifestyle and habits should not be ignored if you regularly struggle with poor sleep.


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