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When You Do These 10 Things, You Will Get Better Sleep, Backed By Science!

When You Do These 10 Things, You Will Get Better Sleep, Backed By Science!

When it comes to trying to fall asleep faster, people will try anything. Some will take medications while others may have a glass of wine before bed in hopes the alcohol will help. Others may try more creative things. As it turns out there are some things you can try to fall asleep faster that are backed by science! Let’s check them out.

1. Cool down your room

According to Robert Oexman, director of Sleep to Live, you should try keeping your room cooler at night. He recommends a room temperature of between 65F and 70F. He says that when we sleep, our bodies naturally cool down about a degree. If the room is too warm, it interferes with our natural cool-down process which can prevent you from getting good sleep.

2. Sleep in the dark

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fall asleep faster

    Studies have shown

    that sleeping in the dark can and will help you fall asleep faster and it will help you sleep deeper. Sleeping in darkness helps increase melatonin production which equals better sleep. Experts suggest using blackout curtains or a sleep mask. They also recommend facing digital displays away from you (or turning them off), and if you must have a nightlight then use a Blue light bulb.

    3. Sleep in a quiet environment

    It’s pretty much a no-brainer that silence helps us sleep. Experts suggest that we don’t use white noise in order to sleep better but that we actually use it to drown out other offending noises that may keep us awake. The best practice is simply to keep things as quiet as humanly possible. If there are elements outside of your control (sirens, dogs barking) then you can always use earplugs or noise cancelling headphones.

    4. Use light bedding

    We agree that nothing feels quite as good as it does when you cuddle up under a thick blanket in the middle of winter and warm up. Over the course of the night, that heavy blanket is going to actually be worse for you and your sleep. Experts recommend lighter blankets and loose clothing when it’s time to go to bed. Lighter bedding can be easily adjusted to keep your body temperature at an optimal range which experts agree will help you fall asleep faster.

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    5. Get some supplements or drink some herbal tea

    fall asleep faster

      Studies have shown

      that you can take a melatonin supplement and it’ll help you fall asleep faster. You shouldn’t make a habit of it because it can negatively affect your health long term. Every now and then in a pinch should be okay though. Another thing you can do is drink teas. Chamomile tea has long been considered an herbal treatment for anxiety, stress, and insomnia thanks to its calming properties. If brewing up a cup of herbal tea before bed helps you get to sleep, we can’t think of a reason not to do it!

      6. Control your naps

      There are times where we just need to take a nap. It’s been a long day and maybe you didn’t get that much sleep the night before. Taking a nap doesn’t usually affect your sleep unless you take one that is took long or too late. Most experts and doctors agree that 20-30 minute power naps are best for rejuvenating your energy during the day and that naps should take place no later than 3 P.M. or 4 P.M. Any later (or longer) than that and you’ll likely have trouble falling asleep later. Don’t sabotage yourself!

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      7. Hack your body temperature

      fall asleep faster

        Sleep scientist Penelope Lewis recommends that you hack your body temperature before sleep. According to studies (which I talked about earlier), your body cools down when you sleep. Knowing this, you can actually trick your body into believing it’s going to sleep by artificially raising your body temperature before going to bed. This can involve taking a hot bath or shower or just dipping your feet into hot water. When you go to bed in your cooler room, your body will believe it is ready for bed because it cools down. Just like it does when you’re asleep. Combine this with other items on this list and it actually does help you fall asleep faster.

        8. Change how you breathe

        Have you ever sat down and thought about how you breathe when you’re relaxed? It’s not the same way you breathe when you’re active or alert. We naturally take deeper breaths when we’re relaxed and much deeper breaths when we sleep. Thus, you can get your body in the mood for sleep by breathing as though you’re relaxed. Eventually, this will well your brain and your body that it is time to let the defenses down and go to sleep. Then you’ll fall asleep!

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        9. Perform light mental exercises

        Dr. Vicky Seelall recommends doing light mental exercises while you’re trying to sleep. One way she recommends is counting backwards from 100 using multiples of three. It’s challenging enough that you have to pay attention but simple enough that you can remain relaxed. Simple mental challenges like this can help take your mind off of the stuff that’s keeping you awake and help lull you into a state of relaxation. Soon after that comes the sleep.

        10. If you can’t sleep, get out of bed

        fall asleep faster

          According to Dr. Eric Olson of the Mayo Clinic and Dr. Harneet Walia of the Cleveland Clinic, you should absolutely get out of bed if you can’t sleep. They state that if you remain in bed when you can’t sleep then you’re actually training your body and mind to be awake in bed instead of sleeping in bed. If you cannot sleep for 20-30 minutes after laying down then get back up out of bed and perform an activity elsewhere. Read a book in the living room, do some dishes, or something else. After a little bit you can then go back to bed to try again.

          While there is no magic number for getting enough sleep, it is absolutely important that everyone gets enough sleep. If you want more information on sleep, here is an article from Harvard University that explains sleep, sleep patterns, and the importance of sleep. If you’re having trouble sleeping, give these tips a try!

          Featured photo credit: Wikipedia via upload.wikimedia.org

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          Last Updated on September 20, 2018

          8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

          8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

          You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

          Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

          When you train your brain, you will:

          • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
          • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
          • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

          So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

          1. Work your memory

          Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

          When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

          If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

          The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

          Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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          Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

          What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

          For example, say you just met someone new:

          “Hi, my name is George”

          Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

          Got it? Good.

          2. Do something different repeatedly

          By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

          Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

          It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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          And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

          But how does this apply to your life right now?

          Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

          Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

          Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

          So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

          You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

          That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

          3. Learn something new

          It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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          For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

          Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

          You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

          4. Follow a brain training program

          The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

          5. Work your body

          You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

          Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

          Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

          Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

          6. Spend time with your loved ones

          If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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          If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

          I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

          7. Avoid crossword puzzles

          Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

          Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

          Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

          8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

          Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

          When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

          So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

          The bottom line

          Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

          Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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