Getting enough sleep is a problem for a lot of people these days, and if you have trouble falling asleep fast, that just compounds the issue. The good news is you can learn to fall asleep fast and stay asleep longer so you can get all the sleep you need.
If you don’t already work out, getting regular exercise can help you fall asleep more quickly, sleep longer and feel more rested when you wake up. People who are less sedentary report waking up less through the night and having better sleep quality even when they get the same amount of sleep as someone who gets less exercise.
Though conventional wisdom has it that exercising too close to bedtime makes it harder to sleep well, recent research suggests exercise at any time of day helps people get better sleep.
Going to bed and waking up at consistent times throughout the week—yes, including the weekend—can also help you fall asleep more quickly. Having a consistent bedtime routine, meaning what you do before bed as well as when you hit the sack, is key to falling asleep fast and staying asleep through the night. You’ll do better if you turn off the TV, computer, iPad, phone and any other devices about an hour before bedtime, and if at all possible keep them—and any thoughts of work—outside of the bedroom.
If you have trouble turning off your brain at bedtime, doing a little journaling to get thoughts out of your head may be helpful. If you won’t find it stressful, make a to-do list for the next day so you won’t keep going over what you need to do over and over again.
When it’s time for sleep, block out as much noise and light as you can. Use a white noise machine if there are outside noises (or a bedmate’s snoring) to bother you, and think about getting rid of your clock or turning it around if it glows brightly.
Keep the room you sleep in cool, since most people tend to fall asleep more quickly when they’re cool compared to when they’re hot.
Make your bed as comfortable as possible and try to enforce good sleep posture. Sleeping on your side or back with your neck straight is the best possible way to sleep. You may need to add a pillow between your legs to keep your hips in alignment while you sleep, too.
If you’re still having trouble falling asleep, try a progressive relaxation technique. For example, begin with your feet and feel them relax. Slowly move up your body, relaxing each part as you come to it. Or simply take deep breaths and imagine a calming scene.
If these basic suggestions (or those found in our article on 19 ways to fall asleep fast) aren’t helping after a couple of weeks, you may need more help pinpointing what is keeping you from falling asleep fast. You may want to keep a diary for a few weeks detailing things like:
Armed with this information you may be able to figure out what’s causing your problems with falling asleep, or you can take it to a sleep specialist to help you get to the root of the problem.
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