How to Fall Asleep Faster Using 10 Simple Tricks
We’ve all had those nights where we lay in bed, staring up at the ceiling, not being able to fall asleep. As the clock continues to tick, it sparks a frenzy of thoughts about not being able to get some serious shut eye. We may think to ourselves, ‘Why can’t I just fall asleep?’ ‘I am going to be so unbelievably exhausted tomorrow, how will I possibly be able to get through the day with no sleep?’ The more we think about falling asleep, the less likely it is to actually happen, leaving us anxious, restless, and utterly exhausted.
While those nights may be far and few in between, they leave us feeling depleted, and for good reason. Research shows that sleep is critical for our mental functioning, physical response, and emotional well-being. Not getting enough good quality sleep can impair our ability to perform basics tasks, think clearly, and concentrate. It affects our mood, our attention span, and our entire system right down to the cellular level. Over time, research has also shown a clear link between chronic sleep deprivation and obesity, as well as the onset of chronic disease. A lack of sleep over an extended period of time can wreak havoc on our health and overall quality of life.
Sleep is critical, so why not get more of it? Stop staring up at the ceiling wishing and praying that you would fall asleep. Rather, follow these ten easy steps to help you fall asleep faster and have a more restful night.
10Establish a Set Bedtime Routine
According to ABC News, establishing a set bedtime routine is one of the best things you can do to fall asleep faster and stay soundly sleeping throughout the night.
It is probably safe to say that most of us follow a pretty stringent day-to-day routine, especially those of us who work more traditional hours. When we wake up, there are certain tasks we need to complete to get our day started. Brushing our teeth and taking a shower, for instance, are good examples of this. As we move through the day, we may take a lunch break around the same time every day, socialize with the same coworkers, complete certain projects and check particular items off our daily ‘to-do’ list. In the evening, we may catch a quick workout, cook dinner or spend time with our family, children or friends.
While most of us follow a routine, of sorts, throughout the day, most of us don’t have a particular bed time routine. While some of us may go to sleep around the same time every night, we usually find different ways to wind down and our nights may vary from week to week depending on what we have going on in our lives. Establishing, and sticking to, a set bedtime routine can be helpful in securing some shut eye. Eating your last meal around the same time, preparing your body for bed, preparing your room for a restful night’s sleep, and then turning the lights off at the same time, every night, can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.
A CNN report from early 2016 cited that most American adults spend about 10 hours and 39 minutes, every day, staring at a screen. That is practically half of every day that we spend looking at a computer screen, phone, tablet, or other digital device!
In a virtually connected world, it can tough to limit our screen time on a day to day basis. When it comes to sleep, however, it is critical. Researchers at the National Sleep Foundation claim that certain forms of technology can make it harder for you to fall asleep. Skimming a late night email, for instance, can stimulate your mind, making it more difficult to drift into a deep sleep.
This is not to say, however, that all technology is bad for sleep. There are a number of companies that use technology to actually perpetuate sleep and make it easier for people to track the duration of sleep they get each night. Fit-bits and other exercise trackers are a great example of this.
Regardless of what kind of technology you are using late at night, the best rule of thumb is to limit it as much as possible at least 30 minutes prior to bedtime. Disconnecting from the blue lights of the phones, tablets, and computer screens is one of the best things you can do to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night. Unplugging from the chaos and commotion of the virtual world can help you get the sleep you need to feel better rested and ready to tackle the world!
8Fall Asleep “Write” Away
How many times have you tried to fall asleep and have a million thoughts running through your head? How many times have you laid in bed thinking about the million and one things you have to do the following day?
One of the best ways to fall asleep quickly and soundly is to write all of your thoughts down on paper. If you keep thinking about all of the things you have to do at work the following day, write them down! Make a list that you can reference from when you wake up the next morning. If you are experiencing varying emotions, write them down! Writing down how you are feeling and what you are thinking can help to streamline the mind chatter and calm the commotion in your cerebrum.
Research shows that writing things down as you think of them, especially at night, can help calm your mind and relax your body. This relaxation then prepares you for a restful night’s sleep, free from the thoughts that foster unnecessary stimulation.
Another great way to fall asleep fast is to scent your room, bedding, and night clothes with lavender.
Lavender is an herb that has been used for ages as an aphrodisiac. It is a popular garden flower that features silky, green leaves and rich, purple flowers that emit a wonderfully soothing aroma. Lavender can be found in the garden, but can also be located in stores that sell essential oils and other herbal remedies.
Research has proven that lavender is a great tool to use to help secure some valuable shut eye. Researchers at Wesleyan University, for example, conducted a study with 32 different men and women. Each group was told to lightly sniff lavender oil prior to bed each night. The two groups were then monitored as they slept. Individuals who had sniffed the lavender oil prior to bedtime, slept more soundly throughout the night and woke up feeling a lot more energized.
The sweet scent of lavender can help calm the mind and soothe the soul. For those looking to fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly throughout the night, lavender is a wonderful tool. Lightly dabbing the underside of your pillow with some lavender oil, or purchasing a diffuser to place the oil in during the night, can help you fall asleep faster, sleep better and wake up feeling more refreshed.
Have you ever tried to fall asleep, but kept tossing and turning? Have you ever started to fall asleep, but then became too hot or too cold? Have you ever fallen asleep, but then heard a loud and unfamiliar noise outside the window?
Let’s face it – we have all been there at one point or another. Whether it is a loud noise or scalding temperatures, there are a lot of things that can prevent us from falling asleep and getting the sleep we need to wake up feeling refreshed. One of the best things to do to ensure a sound night’s sleep is to give your bedroom a makeover. We’re not talking solely about changing around the comforter or the curtains, but rather, creating an atmosphere that is conducive to sleep.
This means removing any and all electronic devices that serve as sleep distractions. Falling asleep with the television on, or reading a book on a tablet prior to bed, can actually stimulate the brain and prevent the body from falling into a deep slumber. Also, ensuring that the room is kept at a comfortably cool temperature will help to ensure that you fall asleep fast. Eliminating any extra light and added noise can help, too. If it is hard to eliminate all of the excess noise, wearing ear plugs can help. Purchasing light blocking curtains and shades can help to prevent any excess light from filtering in, as well.
Working to create a bedroom that is conducive to sleep will help to ensure that you fall asleep as intended and stay soundly sleeping through the night.
5Prep Your Body
Just as you want to create a bedroom that is conducive to sleep, you want to make sure that you prep your body for sleep, as well. You might be thinking to yourself, ‘what does that even mean?’ Well, prepping your body includes any activity that promotes relaxation and eliminates excess anxiety, stress and mind chatter prior to bedtime.
The first step in preparing your body for sleep is to figure out what kinds of activities you enjoy that serve to promote restfulness and relaxation. Do you enjoy doing yoga? Do you feel more relaxed when you spend a few minutes stretching? Do you enjoy doing some deep breathing exercises? Perhaps, you like to read to relax your mind?
Whatever it is that you enjoy doing, it is important that you make that a part of your daily bedtime routine. If you enjoy stretching or doing yoga, try to complete a short session prior to turning the lights off for the day. If you enjoy taking a few deep breaths to clear you mind, be sure to do this before you get into bed at night. If reading helps you to relax, grab a book and read for a few minutes before bed each night. Prepping your body and mind for relaxation each night will help you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night.
4Take a Warm Shower
While this certainly goes hand in hand with prepping your body for bed, one of the best things you can do is to take a warm shower prior to hitting the hay. Outside of your yoga poses, side stretches, and book reading, taking a warm shower can help lower your body temperature and make it that much easier to fall asleep fast.
So, why does taking a warm shower help you fall asleep at night? When your internal temperature is warm, your brain and body are stimulated to move, think and do. When your internal thermometer begins to drop and your body begins to cool down, your system tends to mimic the effect. It suddenly becomes more difficult to breathe, think, and act fast. You suddenly move slower. Cooling down naturally on hot, steamy, summer nights can prove difficult. This is where a hot shower can help.
A warm shower prior to hopping into bed can help lower your body temperature without your body having to work overtime to do so. Instead of lying awake in bed as your body temperature begins to decrease, a warm shower can help speed up this process. The warm water from the shower can also help to dilate the blood vessels throughout your body, serving to further relax your muscles. When you are relaxed and your internal temperature is cool, you are more likely to fall asleep fast and stay soundly sleeping throughout the night.
3Hide the Clock
Have you ever laid in bed at night and just stared at the clock? Did you experience that endlessly restless and anxious feeling that grows with every passing second?
Watching the clock on a sleepless night can be painful. This is why experts recommend hiding the clock for the best night’s sleep possible. Staring at the clock while you are trying to fall asleep can prevent you from actually doing so. Not only does it take your body longer to shut down, but staring at the clock stimulates the brain and sends it into a fury of calculations and thoughts about whether or not you are going to get enough sleep. Placing the clock face down on your dresser or night stand can help prevent those thoughts from even crossing your mind. Covering it can help, too.
While waking up in the middle of the night is fairly common, it is also recommended that you refrain from looking at the clock or picking up your phone to check the time. Turning on your phone to check the time can interrupt your sleep cycle and make it harder to fall back to sleep. The best advice is to just place your phone on a table further away from your bed to prevent you from grabbing it in the middle of the night. Setting the ‘do not disturb’ setting on your phone can help, too. Having faith in your alarm clock and refraining from staring at the clock can help you fall into a deeper and more restful sleep.
2Avoid Eating Late & Drinking Too Much Caffeine
Let’s face it – life is busy. We spend most of our days running from place to place, trying to cross all the ‘to-do’s’ off our list. By the time we get home at night, it can be hard to have a nice sit down meal without indulging too close to bedtime. Excess calories before bed can not only make it harder to sleep, but also make it easier to pack on the pounds, as well.
Rather than eating too late at night and having to go to bed on a full stomach, experts recommend that you eat your last full meal at least an hour or two before bedtime. This will help to prevent restlessness and any kind of indigestion that may make it harder to fall asleep and stay sleeping throughout the night. If you find that you are hungry close to bed, small snacks are ok. Opt for snacks that are low in unhealthy fats and calories, but high in protein and other nutrients, such as a small handful of nuts, seeds, or an apple.
Caffeine can interrupt your sleep cycle, as well. Too much caffeine throughout the day can make it difficult to fall into a deep and restful sleep. It is recommended that you limit your caffeine intake throughout the day. If you enjoy a few cups of coffee, try drinking them in the morning and early afternoon so that you are not consuming them late at night. Limit your daily intake of energy drinks, tea and chocolate, as well, for these all have caffeine in them.
1Exercise during the day
While there are a number of things you can do to ensure a more restful night’s sleep, regular exercise is one of the best. Regular exercise can not only help you look and feel better, but it can help you sleep better, as well.
As we know, exercise releases a chemical in the brain called ‘Cortisol’. Cortisol is considered a ‘feel good’ chemical that stimulates the body, the brain and the soul. The release of this substance is great, unless you are lying in bed trying to fall asleep! When your body and brain are stimulated in such a way, it can make it very difficult to fall asleep fast and stay soundly sleeping throughout the night.
Experts recommend plenty of exercise, but well before you turn off the lights each night. Researchers at the National Sleep Foundation found that individuals who exercised more than 150 minutes each week not only slept better, but fell asleep faster and woke up feeling more well rested and full of energy. More than 2,600 individuals participated in the study, which revealed a 65 percent increase in sleep quality with a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise each week!
They recommend that if you are going to go for a run, or complete an aerobics class of some sort, that you do so earlier in the day. Exercising at least a few hours prior to bedtime, or in the morning, for instance, can help ensure that the release of Cortisol doesn’t interfere with your bedtime routine.
Sleep, with regards to our sustained health and wellbeing, is non-negotiable. We know that in order to maximize our performance and live a long, healthy life, we must get enough sleep each night.
Research shows that sleep is critical to our sustained physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. We need sleep in order for our bodies and brains to rest and recuperate from the wears and tears of daily living. Without adequate sleep, we may wake up feeling groggy and irritable. We may experience high levels of moodiness and fogginess as we try to move throughout our day. Mentally, we may have a hard time focusing and concentrating on day to day tasks. We may be more forgetful and have a hard time thinking clearly. Not only can these side effects interfere with our day to day lives, but they are also linked to a wide range of chronic diseases that can be debilitating.
While many of us know and acknowledge how important sleep is, a restful night’s sleep can be difficult to maintain. Studies show that most American adults don’t get the sleep they need to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, more than 60 percent of adults report a wide range of sleeping problems on a regular basis. In reality, adults are not getting the sleep they need and are certainly feeling the effects of such deprivation.
So, what can we do to fall asleep faster, sleep better throughout the night and ensure we are getting the sleep we need on a regular basis to stay healthy? From taking a warm shower, to reorganizing your bedroom, finding a way to utilize these tips can help to ensure you not only fall asleep faster, but reap the benefits of regular, deep, restful sleep for years to come.