How to Go to Sleep Fast
December 11 2018
When you can’t fall asleep, every minute seems like an hour. You just want to go to sleep, and yet it seems to be the last thing you can do. How do you go to sleep faster?
#1 – Go do something else
It might sound counterproductive, but it works! Get out of bed, find something to do (puzzles, coloring, and reading are great – but avoid screens!) for about 10 minutes, then head back to bed when you’re feeling ready. The idea is that this can trick your brain into forgetting about the time spent lying awake in bed and any worrying or anxiety associated with it.
#2 – Get your circadian rhythm in check
If your sleep schedule is a bit erratic, you may experience trouble falling asleep frequently. This is likely because your circadian rhythm (the system in your body that decides when it’s time to sleep or be awake) can’t quite find where it belongs. If you stick to a relatively consistent wake-up time and bedtime, your circadian rhythm tends to adapt, and you’ll find that you can fall asleep faster.
#3 – Adjust the temperature
Usually, this means cooling things off a bit. While you sleep, melatonin causes your body temperature to decrease, and the temperature in your extremities usually increases slightly. Research has shown that a room temperature between 60 to 75℉ is typically the best range for sleeping, and the National Sleep Foundation recommends 60 to 67℉. Of course, if it’s a cold night in the winter, you might need to turn the heat up slightly to be more comfortable.
#4 – Just breathe
Have you ever struggled so much to fall asleep that you focused on your own breathing and then realized how very complicated breathing can be when you have to pay attention to it? A popular method known as the “4-7-8” breathing method can help you relax, unwind, and feel calmer quickly. The “4-7-8” is easy to learn, and all you need to do is:
- Put the tip of your tongue behind your top front teeth
- Exhale through your mouth, making a “whoosh” sound
- Close your mouth, inhale through your nose, and count to 4 (in your head)
- Hold your breath, and count to 7 (in your head)
- Open your mouth, exhale completely, make a “whoosh” sound, and mentally count to 8
- Repeat at least 3 times
#5 – Avoid daytime napping
It’s a bit of a vicious cycle. You can’t fall asleep at night, so you’re tired during the day, so you take a nap, and then you find yourself unable to fall asleep yet again at night. Here’s the thing – power naps are real. If you take a quick nap (think 15-30 minutes), it can help you feel more alert and improve your mood. However, long naps (especially those that are late in the day) can throw off your sleep quality at night.
#6 – Use a sleep supplement
Most people are pretty wary about taking prescription medication for sleep. However, there are a variety of natural supplements out there that can do the same thing. Some of the most helpful supplements for sleep include magnesium, 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), theanine, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and melatonin. If you’re new to supplements, a natural sleep aid that contains melatonin, magnesium and other herbs known to help induce sleep is a great place to start.
#7 – Eat for better sleep
Although high-carbohydrate meals can help you fall asleep more quickly, they typically will provide lower-quality sleep, and you may find yourself tossing and turning all night. Meals that are higher in fat tend to help you sleep better and deeper. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to completely overhaul your diet. If you typically consume a high-carbohydrate dinner, make sure that you’re finishing it about 4 hours before you want to go to bed. This will allow your body to get a jumpstart on digestion before bedtime.
#8 – Smell your way to sleep
If you haven’t already tried essential oils, you might not have a clue what aromatherapy is all about. One great use for essential oils is relaxation – and this can help you sleep! Clinical studies have found that aromatherapy can help improve sleep quality. Lavender is arguably the most popular scent for sleep, but if you find a smell that you find comforting, feel free to try that as well. All you need is an inexpensive essential oil diffuser and a small amount of oil.
#9 – Set a curfew for electronics
Sure, it sounds like something your mom would say, but studies have shown that using electronic devices (such as TV, video games, smartphones, and computers) can make it harder for you to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. Try to institute a “lights-out” policy for your electronics starting about an hour or so before you go to bed.
#10 – Try some tunes
If you’re really struggling with relaxing or falling asleep, try turning on some relaxing music. Anything with about 60 to 80 beats per minute is usually helpful for relaxation, and genres like classical and jazz can help you fall asleep faster, improve your sleep quality, and even may help improve your mood.