There are a few lucky people out there who have absolutely no trouble falling asleep at night. The minute their head hits the pillow, they’re out. The rest of us lie in bed staring at the ceiling, tossing and turning, counting sheep or minutes, or snore, waiting for the mercy of blessed sleep to come.
Lack of sufficient, good quality sleep takes a toll on nearly every aspect of our lives, everything from health, to mood, to safety, to job performance. The good news is…all is not lost. With a bit of knowledge, a bit of planning and a bit of patience, we can learn how to fall asleep fast!
With that in mind, here are a total of 20 ways to get you a good nights’ sleep fast.
1. Avoid naps.
Try not to nap if you possibly can. Sleeping during the day makes it difficult to fall sleep at night. If you absolutely must, limit naps to a power nap of 20 minutes.
2. Limit beverages that interfere.
We all know that caffeine makes it difficult to fall asleep, but we may not be aware that alcohol interferes as well, as does drinking too much water right before bedtime.
3. Exercise during the day.
Exercise improves our health and also improves our sleep by reducing stress. The caveat, don’t exercise within 3 hours before bedtime. The adrenaline will keep you awake. Check out the tips to get yourself moving here.
4. Mind what you eat.
Have a light dinner. Heavy meals may be difficult to digest and indigestion may make it difficult to fall asleep. But don’t go to bed hungry. Hunger keeps you awake. Eat a light snack shortly before bedtime. Snacks like bananas, greek yogurt and hummus will help you sleep better.
5. Turn off the TV and computer.
This kind of stimulation tells the brain to be alert when it’s supposed to be winding down and has been proven to reduce sleep quality.
6. Remove the electronics.
Make your bedroom a no-gadget-zone.1 Shut off the TV and remove computers and other electronic devices from your bedroom. They tempt you to engage in non-restful activities and keep you awake. The bedroom is for sleep, not work and surfing the internet.
7. Keep the room cool.
You fall asleep faster and sleep better if the bedroom is cooler. A lower room temperature lowers core body temp, and helps you go to sleep. The ideal temperature for sleep is 65 degrees.
8. Sleep with a weighted blanket.2
A weighted blanket molds to your body like a warm hug. The pressure helps relax the nervous system and promotes deep, restful sleep. Typically the weight in the blanket is 15 to 30 pounds for adults.
9. Do quality bedding.
Get a comfortable, supportive mattress. It’s worth the investment, as you spend one third of your life in bed. Use comfortable soft sheets and comforter. Smooth, quality bedding helps sooth and relax your body to fall asleep faster.
10. Dim the lights.
Light, even a small amount interferes with sleep hormones and stimulates the brain. Wear an eye mask if necessary or turn the alarm clock around.
11. Turn it down.
Eliminate noise, or alternatively if you find noise soothing or need to block noise you can’t control, choose calming sounds such as white noise or ocean sounds. (Try not to use your phone or computer to play those sounds, you may be tempted to use the devices!) Wearing earplugs can also help block unwanted noise.
12. Try aromatherapy.3
Aromatherapy sooths the body and have a calming effect. There are many scents available that can help you to relax and prepare for sleep, vanilla, lavender, marjoram, sandalwood are just a few examples. Use on your pillow, in the air or in the bath.
13. Sleep and wake up at the same time every day.
Start your bedtime routine at the same time each day and maintain a regular sleep time. It helps condition your body to fall asleep faster by creating a sleep habit and setting your circadian rhythm.
14. Try a warn bath.
A warm bath can help you relax and by raising the body temperature, then cooling it in a low temperature room, it helps you to fall asleep faster.
15. Drink soothing beverage.
Herbal tea or a glass of milk also relax the body and help you wind down.
16. Read anything that’s not thought-provoking.
Read an entertaining or boring book. It helps to get your mind of worries and your to-do list. Stay away from stimulating or self-help books though; they rev up your brain.
17. Stretch and relax your body.
Try yoga or gentle stretching. Do progressive relaxation; tighten each muscle for a count of ten and then release. It will relax your body and minimize muscle aches and pains.
18. Write out your thoughts.
Write out your thoughts or try doodling. This will help to let go of your worries and busy thoughts.
19. Wear comfortable clothing.
Wear loose, light, cool pajamas. Cotton works best as it minimizes nighttime seating. Alternatively, sleep without pajamas if it makes you more comfortable. Binding or hot PJs make for restless and uncomfortable sleep.
20. Watch your posture.
Sleep position matters. Find a comfortable sleep position that supports good sleep posture. Make sure every part of your body is comfortable. Buy a good quality pillow that supports your neck and properly aligns your body.
Side positions are usually better, especially on your left side.4 But if back works for you that’s fins. Lie in the same position every night, so your body becomes accustomed to falling asleep in the same way.
Falling asleep fast requires a bit of preparation, following a regular routine and paying attention to sleep comfort.
However, these sleep details can make the difference between falling asleep faster and getting a restful night’s sleep or staring at the ceiling tiles.
Featured photo credit: Shutterstock via shutterstock.com
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