How to fall asleep fast? This question seems to torture many people nowadays. Fortunately, there are some simple tips and life hacks you can use at bedtime.
A long-lasting Irish proverb says that “a good laugh and a long sleep are the best two cures for anything.” In the past years, many scientific studies have shown us the high significance of healthy, proper sleep for our welfare.
But one of the most frequent problems of nowadays’ always-on-the-run society is that people are too hassled and tense, which leads to sleeping issues. So if you struggle with insomnia and wonder how to fall asleep fast, you are not alone.
Sleep Disturbances Can Be Very Frustrating
No wonder many people on the web are looking for remedies for their disturbed sleep patterns. Just imagine a scenario where you check your clock and it is 4:03 am, but you haven’t slept a bit! How? You ask.
Let’s take a fictional situation where you went to bed at 11.30 pm, replied to a few WhatsApp messages, opened up your phone browser, and read a couple of witty and not-so-witty tweets. You turned the lights out, turned over a few dozen times in bed (by now it’s past midnight). You feel exhausted, but sleep just won’t come.
Frustration gets the better of you and you go to the living room to avoid waking your spouse (12:30 am). You sit on the couch and stare at the blank TV screen and it stares right back.
You remember meditation and decide to try it out for close to half an hour (1:00 am), trying again, and again. It’s now (1.45 am). With a sigh, you trudge upstairs to look at the sleeping children. You stare amazed at just how adorable snuggled they are. You then walk back to the sitting room, stare at the framed family photo.
For a moment, you are lost in your own thoughts. you have turned over on to your front to try and squash yourself to sleep, tried sitting up, kneeling, and – in a moment of absurdity – tried going to sleep standing up. You fight the urge to check the clock.
Checking the clock just amplifies the anguish: that you are awake. You have been awake for hours and will be, quite possibly until the wee hours of the next morning.
How to Fall Asleep Fast with 18 Tips and Hacks
Fortunately, there are several tricks and hacks we can all put to good use with the sole purpose of giving us a way to fall asleep fast and enjoy a beneficial rest.
I tried many of them over the years, and I made a list of the easiest ones to carry out:
1. Give Up the Late Coffees
It seems like an obvious tip, but you’ll be surprised how many people forget this before trying to get to sleep. Yes, coffee is amazing… in the morning. You might love your coffee (and you really should cut down if you do) and think that having a cup a few hours before bedtime is not a big deal. But you may not know how long caffeine stays in your body. Yes, that afternoon pick-me-up could disrupt your sleep!
Everyone knows that caffeine keeps you awake and stimulates your brain. That’s why coffee is such a popular drink in the morning. However, you don’t need the extra stimulation to stay awake at night, do you? The problem is that not many people realize just how long caffeine can stay in your system. It can take up to eight hours for the effects of caffeine to wear off.
That means if you have a cup of coffee at lunch or a soda with dinner, you could end up tossing and turning at night. Try to cut off your caffeine intake at least four to six hours before you plan on going to bed to give your body a chance to calm down. It is also recommended to limit your coffee intake to two cups a day.
Since caffeine is a stimulant that will only keep us awake for hours, health experts recommend you shouldn’t consume foods or beverages that contain caffeine from noon onwards.
Try having a chamomile tea 30 minutes before your sleep hour. Besides being a historically popular sleep aid, this particular tea also helps you fight migraines and relieve excessive gas and bloating.
2. Eat Light and Avoid Alcohol Before Bedtime
The same theory goes for big meals, try to eat your meals earlier and again, let this also become a routine too. For most people, it is very hard to fall asleep on a full stomach, and so you should avoid big meals at night as they are one of the reasons why you will spend many hours tossing and turning in bed.
Big meals before bed are bad because the body will dedicate most of the energy to digesting the food and so you will not be able to fall asleep until the process is complete. Having a large (or too heavy) dinner might also activate a common medical issue called heartburn (also known as acid reflux), which will keep you awake. Apart from this, you might also have the urge to visit the washroom, and this means that you have to keep on interrupting your sleep.
Grant your body time to digest before sleeping: eat light dinners, at least four hours before going to sleep. If you must eat any large meal, the right idea is to have it earlier in the day so that the body can have enough time to digest it.
It is also wise to limit your alcohol intake before going to bed. Although alcohol can make you feel drowsy and may actually put you to sleep, it has the unpleasant side effect of waking you up later on in the night with a headache, stomachache, or a full bladder.
In addition, once alcohol’s sedative effect wears off, there’s a rebound effect that actually makes you more likely to have trouble falling back to sleep.
3. Have a Bedtime Snack
A heavy meal before bed can cause disturbances, but an empty stomach could also keep you devoid of sleep. Have something to eat, that keeps your stomach feeling full giving you a night full of sleep.
If you feel you’re hungry, try a light snack 45 minutes before bedtime. Carbohydrate-rich foods like toast tend to be easy on the tummy and can ease the brain into a blissful slumber. The same way you feel sleepy in those boring meetings after a heavy lunch. Bananas can also be helpful too.
For those who have no problem with milk, then drinking a glass of milk especially a glass of warm milk, before bedtime is an age-old treatment for sleep disturbances.
4. Keep Your Feet Warm
You may think that sleeping with your socks on could induce an uncomfortable sensation. That was my initial belief as well, but I came across a study that showed an interesting fact: before we snooze, our blood flow gets redirected into our extremities – hands and feet – to keep them warm.
The process helps triggering sleep. Wearing socks to maintain your feet warm will cause the blood cells to open up, thus leading to increased blood flow. You could get the same results by placing a bottle with hot water near your feet, under the blanket.
5. Choose a Comfortable Bed and Night Suits
It’s true that the wrong environment can affect your sleep in ways more than one. It’s not always true that you can sleep anywhere and everywhere. An afternoon in a hot sunny park and an afternoon at home, with all curtains closed looking cozy?
Which is more sleep-inducing? It’s quite obvious. Especially insomnia means needing the forced sleep upon us, which most definitely requires an atmosphere that spells sleep at first sight.
One very simple way to fall asleep fast and improve your sleep quality has got to be getting yourself some comfort. Sleep may elude you if your bed is too hard or too soft, or if your pillows aren’t just right.
At the same time, what you wear has a substantial impact on your rest. Choose light, loose pajamas, preferably made from cotton, fabric that minimizes the sweating during the night. Sleeping naked is a more and more recommended alternative, though, as it helps the entire body breathe and stay cool while sleeping.
6. Cool Down the Bedroom
After years of research, the scientists have concluded that your body temperature is essential for a good night’s sleep, as it starts to drop when you begin to nod off. The sensation is similar to the one you usually get after having a hot bath, which is also a great hack you can use if you want to fall asleep fast.
Drop the temperature on your thermostat an hour before bed. If you can’t control the room temperature, just open a window or bring a fan into the room.
If you sleep in an upstairs bedroom, measure the temperature in your room after you have done this. Often, upstairs bedrooms don’t cool to the temperature set on the thermostat and that warmth could be keeping you from getting those high-quality zzzs.
Keep your room as cool as possible, but don’t exaggerate – after all, you need a pleasant environment to feel comfortable and plunge into the world of dreams. Our bodies rest best in environments that are 60-68 degrees Fahrenheit.
7. Enjoy a Hot Bath
When mothers bathe their kids or read them a bedtime story every night before bedtime, they are reinforcing a signal that it’s time to settle down and get ready for sleep. Establishing such a ritual may also be helpful for adults.
A hot bath taken two hours before bedtime is a wonderful way to relax your body and make it ready for sleep. For most people though, taking a bath closer to bedtime may be stimulating and may delay sleep.
Experts say we get sleepy if our body temperature drops. When taking a hot bath, that temperature rises for a while; then it rapidly goes down when you get out of the hot water. This up-and-down circuit helps the body relax and feel ready to go to sleep.
Studies have shown that people who take hot water baths before bedtime are known to sleep much better and sounder than those who haven’t bathed.
The best time to take that bath is two hours before going to bed; and it should last 20 – 30 minutes at most. A hot shower is not as efficient as the bath, but it could also help induce a lovely, relaxing state of mind. Go have a good shower and you’ll be asleep in no time.
8. Unplug and Unwind
Want to know how to fall asleep fast? Turn off all the electronic devices in your bedroom – mainly the laptop, the TV, and the smartphone. These days, most of us spend hours in front of electronic devices, and that’s fine in normal waking hours. But, our smartphones, laptops, computers, TVs, and tablets all emit melatonin-disrupting blue light.
This light that comes from our electronic devices can prevent the body from releasing melatonin, a natural hormone that the body produces to help us go to sleep. As a result, it will only confuse your brain and make it think it’s still day-time, and it needs to stay active.
To let your body get back to producing this important sleep hormone, you should turn off all electronic devices one hour before bedtime. Instead of spending your evening on social media, checking your email or watching television before bed, do something that will help your body and brain unwind, and thus, sleep better. For example, try listening to music or reading an old-fashioned physical book with a soft light.
It seems pretty simple, but turning off the TV or stop checking Twitter late at night can really help you to fall asleep quicker. Substitute your gadget for a real book or a magazine and you’ll be surprised how quickly you fall off to sleep. Try turning off your electronics at least an hour before bedtime and see the difference that it brings.
9. Try Practicing Yoga
Anxiety and stress could play a major role in aggravating the sleepless days and nights. It is necessary to combat this stress by trying different solutions like yoga, meditation, etc.
Practice a few yoga exercises which will help your body relax. Certain yoga positions are well-known for the way they influence your sleep mood. The slow, gentle movements induce a long-desired feeling of relief.
If you have pains that threaten to keep you awake, those moves will make them go away. If your mind is troubled by worrying thoughts, those minutes of practicing yoga before bed will chase them away.
Another powerful routine that has helped to induce sleep is Tai-Chi. It is an exercise that induces sleep as well as reduces stress as per studies.
10. Meditate & Breathe
Meditation has a long-lasting history in India (thousands of years long, in fact) and it has won a lot of popularity all over the world. It helps our mind and body in various ways, and one is to get better sleep.
The mechanism is simple: meditation techniques calm our minds and make us feel completely free, thus ready to fall asleep fast and enjoy a comfortable rest.
A particular type of reflection, called mindfulness meditation, is especially recommended for those with sleeping issues. This practice helps you concentrate on your breathing and makes you focus on the present, instead of agonizing about the past or the future.
There are also various breathing techniques that may help you clear your mind of unnecessary thoughts that keep you awake. Find the one method that suits you best; take a few minutes to practice it every evening before putting yourself to sleep.
The practice works because it delivers more oxygen to your nervous system, mainly to the part which helps you deal with stressful situations.
11. Keep the Bedroom Dark and Quiet
Often, the sleeper is not aware of what awakened them. Try sleeping in a quieter room, or wear earplugs. The best sleep environment is one that is dark, quiet, comfortable, and cool. Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex. No work, no eating, no television, and no arguing with your bed partner.
Create the ideal sleep environment in your bedroom by keeping it dark and quiet. Put blinds or curtains over your windows to block out streetlights.
Some people have no trouble sleeping in noisy rooms, but for most others, this is not the case. Sometimes, insomnia is caused by being awakened repeatedly by loud noises. And so to ensure that you sleep well and for long enough, you should find a way to keep the noise out.
If you live adjacent to a highway or next to a nightclub, the noise will not let you sleep, and so finding ways to block it out is the only way to deal with your insomnia. You can wear earplugs if you find them comfortable or use white noise to block out the bad noise emanating from the outside environment.
Also, make sure that the room that you sleep in is as dark as possible. Most of us have already created bedrooms that are dark at night, but could it be darker? Research shows that even very small amounts of light can disrupt melatonin production, and thus, your sleep.
The body’s internal mechanism will use light as one of the signals that tell it when it is time to nap or wake up. An absence of light means that it is time to slumber and so a small stream of light coming from outside or even your alarm clock or phone can prevent you from sleeping.
These small sources of light are easy to deal with because if it is an alarm clock or phone you can just cover it with something as this will not affect its performance.
Go into your room after nightfall, turn off all the lights and look around. Is there light peaking in from adjacent rooms? A temporary fix is to roll up a towel and slide underneath the door. Are there tiny sleep mode or LED indicator lights visible? Grab the black electric tape and cover up those lights. Just cut tiny squares and black them out.
What about electric alarm clocks? If you must have an electric clock, at the very least, turn it away from your bed so you can’t see it at night.
A bonus alarm clock hack to help you get up easier in the morning:
One wise thing you can do is to keep the alarm clock out of sight but within reach. This strategy will confer you peace of mind by knowing that you will hear the alarm and be able to stop it, even though the clock is not right next to you.
12. Consistent Routine and Bedtime Ritual
Perhaps the most important rule for people with sleep disturbances is to keep a strict sleep-wake schedule, even on weekends. If you can’t sleep one night, get up at your usual time the next morning and quit the daytime naps.
If you nap during the day, you’ll have more trouble getting to sleep the next night, thereby compounding your sleep problems even further. It’s best to let yourself get good and sleepy so that it will be easier to get to sleep the next night.
Going to bed at the same time every night can help to form a routine, I’m not saying that you have to fall asleep at exactly that minute but set yourself a time when you will be in bed every night and stick to it (where possible). The same can be said for setting a time to wake up in the morning too.
I know you want that Sunday lie-in, but getting up at the usual time doesn’t mean you can’t still be lazy. On Sundays, I still have my pajamas on and I’ll curl up with my book and enjoy some me-time. Bliss.
Consistency is the solution to a good night’s sleep, and it is more useful in dealing with insomnia than you might think.
If you are struggling to sleep every night, the reason might be because you do not have a good and consistent bedtime routine. A routine is vital as it not only relaxes the body but also tells it that it is time to sleep.
There are several things that you can include in your bedtime routine, but they should be things that have a real impact on your ability to sleep such as taking a warm bath or listening to soothing music. Going for a relaxing stroll can also be an excellent addition to your bedtime routine if you live in an area where this is possible.
Keep a bedtime ritual. An exact time that you have to be in bed by. This helps in getting your body habituated to a sleep timing, and so that your body automatically sends signals to doze off once it is time. Creating a routine to sleep at the same time every day has helped people sleep faster.
Regular exercise can help with many sleep disorders. It can help those who snore lose weight, which can cut down on the severity of snoring. Regular exercise can also help those who suffer from insomnia get a good night’s sleep. However, what time of day you exercise is key.
Exercise releases endorphins, which makes you feel energized and more alert. Therefore, it’s a good idea to exercise in the morning instead of exercising at night.
Try to fit in a workout into your day, it doesn’t have to be long, and even ten minutes is enough to help aid your sleep later on. If fitting in a workout is too much for every day, try to take the stairs instead of the lift. Every little bit counts.
What I have started to do is a little yoga before bedtime, just the lighter poses and concentrating more on stretching my body so it feels relaxed and ready to sleep. Also, make sure to fit in your water intake through the day, your skin will really thank you for it.
It is not always simple, to sum up, the importance of regular exercise because any healthy person or one that hopes to be should do it every single day or at least four times a week.
If you have not been exercising and are having trouble sleeping, then it might be all you need to solve your sleep issues. Various studies show that people that workout during the day tends to sleep better than those that do not.
Working out entails using energy and so the more of it the body spends, the sleepier you will feel at night. Exercising is also tiring, and so your body will be eager to rest so that it can recover.
However, it is important to limit your exercises to the earlier part of the day because doing them in the evening might leave you too tired to sleep.
Yeah, you might be lazy, but the post-exercise feeling? Unmatchable. You feel like you’ve just sweated out all the toxins and your body is in a state of tiredness. This state induces sleep and sound sleep for that matter.
So try to go and have a good workout for better sleep.
14. Chill out
You won’t fall asleep fast if you are anxious or stressed. Take some time for yourself and run a bath, read a book, or get writing in your diary. Just let yourself wind down naturally and you’ll feel more relaxed and able to sleep. This works the same way as being consistent with when you are going to bed.
One of the oldest and yet up-to-date sleep hacks that will help you fall asleep fast is to read something light before going to bed – a fiction story or anything that relaxes you and makes you calm down. Thought-provoking fiction is best. Keep a few such books next to your bed for those evenings when sleep is long in coming.
It all forms routine and soon enough it becomes harder to break, so it becomes your normal bedtime routine. Some people meditate before they go to bed so that they have a clear mind before they go to sleep. This is what I have chosen to do after a year or so of meditating when I first woke up.
I find the release of the stress of the day is better relieved at night time and I can get to sleep much quicker. Sometimes, it can be good to also use this time to write your list of jobs for the next day so that you don’t wake up later worrying about everything you have to do the next day. You feel ready to end the day and wait for the new day to start.
15. Stop Obsessing about Sleep
It is normal to get worried if you are having difficulties falling asleep or sleeping for long enough. However, you should not obsess about it as it will only make things worse for you. Instead of wasting your time stressing about it, you should focus more on finding the solution.
Getting rid of these worries and sleep obsessions can be an effective remedy for the condition and the good thing is that it is all in your mind and you will not even need to do anything.
Different studies show that people that obsess or worry too much about the lack of sleep have a harder time falling asleep. You should always remind yourself that insomnia is just annoying but not life-threatening.
There is no one formula for perfect sleep – different things work for different people. The important thing is to give everything a fair and persistent trial (for at least a week or two, not just one night) and see what works best for you. This can be done through keeping a sleep log or rather, a notebook of what works and what doesn’t for you.
To sum it all up, these tips for a better night’s sleep will surely help you stay healthy and perform daily routines with ease. Getting that much-needed rest is important for functioning the next day. However, if you are still having trouble falling asleep and sleeping properly, it is always great to have a chat with your doctor to get to the root of the problem.
If you want to know how to fall asleep fast, you can try several such life hacks or just the ones you that feel natural for you. They are all easy to put into practice whether you’re having problems sleeping at home, in your bedroom, or when traveling and crushing at a hotel. Keep these tips in mind to help you fall asleep and get the quality sleep your body needs. Enjoy your rest!
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