Stress from your day job and an endless to-do list at home doesn’t just melt away when you slip into bed. It’s hard to turn off your brain and let everything go when you close your eyes. Here are some things to remember when you want to fall asleep faster, naturally.
1. Turn off the TV.
And not just the TV. Put down your cell phone and shut down your computer at least an hour before bedtime. Your body starts getting sleepy as it gets dark outside. This means you should also turn off those bright overhead lights. Use small, dimmer lamps or handheld book lights later at night. Having lots of lights on and staring into the glare of a screen contradicts what your body is naturally trying to do as darkness falls.
2. Relax your body.
You’re not supposed to exercise before bed because it gets your body riled up. Instead, work out in the mornings to wake yourself up. Simple yoga moves, however, can stretch your muscles just enough to relax. Once you’re in bed, you can start relaxing by stretching your toes, then your calves, then your thighs, and so on. Simple stretches warm up your muscles just enough to calm you down and put you to sleep.
3. Adjust the temperatures.
Take a hot shower before bed, or cuddle up under a blanket on the couch. Feeling warm will make you feel sleepier. There’s nothing better than finding that cold spot on your pillow in the middle of the night‒imagine if your whole bed felt like that! Keep your bedroom cooler, so when you’re ready for bed you get to slide into fresh, cool sheets.
4. Unwind with a book.
Reading before bed will help you feel sleepy, and the book doesn’t even have to be boring! Get a new book from the library, or pick an old favorite, and cuddle up in bed to read for awhile. No matter how interesting the book is (as long as it isn’t a scary book!), you’ll feel your eyelids getting heavy and you’ll realize you just read the same paragraph five times in a row‒and don’t even remember what it says!
5. Write in a journal.
The book doesn’t have to be a novel! Find a blank book and start writing down your thoughts. If you get out all your stresses and worries onto paper, your mind is free to think of other things‒or nothing at all! You’ve got your to-do list written down, you analyzed a troubling conversation with a friend, you wrote your worries about tomorrow’s presentation‒now you don’t have to think about them anymore. The words you wrote will still be there in the morning; let your mind be free to drift off to dreamland!
6. Indulge in a warm drink.
You’ve read about characters drinking warm milk to help them fall asleep. That’s not fiction! It really works. If you can’t fall asleep, sip some warm milk with honey, or a variety of teas. Just make sure there’s no caffeine in the tea, or else your plan will backfire!
7. Turn down the volume.
Eliminate excess noise in your home and bedroom. Don’t leave the TV on all night. Even if you think music helps you fall asleep, it more than likely activates your brain more than you realize. Silence is the best way to encourage sleep. If total silence makes you uneasy, try a white noise machine.
Lay down, clear your mind, and think of nothing. Your body is relaxed, and your mind is on its way. Forget the stresses of your job and all those petty problems nagging you. Think of nothing. Think of something calming and clean and empty. Eventually your mind will be clear and will naturally put you to sleep because it has nothing to think about.
9. Try aromatherapy.
Instead of turning to supplements, though there are natural sleep aids out there, why don’t you try aromatherapy? Find a natural oil scent you like and dab a few drops on your pillow. Lavender is a scent that has been proven to help induce sleep.
10. Get out of bed.
It seems strange, but if you can’t fall asleep after a period of time, get out of bed! Your body is getting tired (no pun intended) of lying down, which frustrates you and makes it harder for you to fall asleep. Instead of tossing and turning for an hour, get up and go to another room. Sit on the couch and read a book. Try to meditate in another room. Just make sure you’re not getting up and turning on bright lights or looking at a phone screen.