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9 Scientific Ways To Fall Asleep Much Faster

9 Scientific Ways To Fall Asleep Much Faster

If I were a superhero, my power would be falling asleep quickly. I’ve always been lucky in the sense that I can fall asleep within minutes of my head hitting the pillow. Although it would make a lame superpower, it’s darn handy in day-to-day life.

So here’s my secret: I’m always tired. Kidding, of course. Although being a dad of two young kids does leave me wiped out, I’ve been able to falling asleep quickly well before they came along. If you want to learn to fall asleep much faster, there are tricks and skills you can learn. Here are 9 scientifically explained ways to fall asleep much faster.

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1. Write about your day in a journal

Like a partner who talks your ear off the moment you want to relax, our brains wait until bedtime to think about impending bills, the upcoming visit from the in-laws, or the chores you’ve been putting off. Writing in a journal allows you to get those thoughts out earlier, so your mind can relax and let you go to sleep.

2. Keep the bedroom for sleeping and having sex

For many of us, our bed is the most comfortable piece of furniture we have. Why not work on your laptop or watch TV while laying in your comfy bed? Well, research has shown that even browsing your phone in bed is enough to ruin your sleep. Keep your bed for the things it was built for: sleep and sex.

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3. Sleep in total darkness

From the blinking alarm clock to the phone beside your bed, modern bedrooms are full of light. Exposure to light interrupts the production of melatonin, a hormone that makes you tired. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much light to interrupt melatonin production. Ditch the electronics at night and put a thick dark sheet over your window. Motion-sensor nightlights are useful for you’re apt to trip over furniture in the dark.

4. Keep your room at the optimal temperature

Use 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 Celsius for those of us on metric) as a starting point for finding your optimal sleep temperature. If you feel like hypothermia is starting to set in, don’t be afraid to turn up the thermostat by a couple degrees. Personally, I sleep with a second blanket nearby, in case there’s a late-night martial dispute over temperature.

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5. Practice mindful breathing

Not only is breathing essential to survival, it’s also relaxing. Mindful breathing involves consciously taking a deep breath (2 seconds in), holding it (4 seconds), and slowly exhaling (8 seconds). Not only does this deeply relax your body, it’s difficult to focus on anything else. There aren’t many better ways to fall asleep fast than mindful breathing.

6. Take a natural sleep aid, such as valerian

You can pick up this medicinal root at the health food store. Valerian comes in several different forms, including pill, liquid, or even a tea, and is consumed 30 minutes before you go to bed. Before you know it, you’ll be dragging yourself to bed. As with any supplement, make sure to read the bottle, in case any warnings apply to you.

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7. Practice progressive relaxation

Mindful breathing and progressive relaxation make a great combination. Progressive relaxation involves consciously relaxing all your muscles, starting with your toes and working your way up to your neck. It should only take a couple minutes and just like mindful breathing, it keeps your mind off occupied as you drift into la la land.

8. Avoid stimulants before bed

Smoking is bad news if you’re trying to sleep. Nicotine is a powerful stimulant and will happily keep your brain buzzing well into the night. Drinking coffee, even in early afternoon is too much for many people, but energy drinks and soda somehow gets a free pass. Here’s a chart showing how much caffeine is in popular drinks, giving you an idea of what to avoid.

9. Read a book

We’ve all had the experience of trying not to fall asleep in class while the teacher/professor drones on and on. Reading a book before bed can give the same effect. As long as your reading material isn’t too stimulating (think non-fiction), reading relaxes you and let’s your body’s natural fatigue take over. Just remember: devices ,like phones or tablets, emit light that keeps you awake. Old-fashioned books or a Kindle (minus the back-lighting) are the way to go.

Featured photo credit: Woman Sleeping with Jane Austen – Timothy Krause via media.lifehack.org

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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