Getting a good night’s sleep is a national concern. Many studies identify the relationship between sleepiness and accidents. Sleepy people are 70% more likely to have an accident than someone wide awake. Workers with chronic difficulty getting to or staying asleep are more likely to report accidents or injuries.
Some medical conditions or medications can make it had to fall asleep, but the most common cause of occasional sleeplessness is emotional. Our fast-paced lives make us anxious and we can’t fall asleep. Lack of sleep then makes us more worried. It’s a vicious circle!
The key to a good night’s rest is to coax your body to rest and relax the minute you hit the bed. Read on for our tips to fall asleep fast.
1. Get Comfortable
Tossing and turning at the beginning of your sleep cycle is no way to ensure a good night’s rest. Make sure your mattress is comfortable. The experts recommend changing your mattress every 7-10 years, but Prevention magazine says your mattress might be ready to go as soon as every 5-7 years.
Mattress technology has changed rapidly in the last 50 years.
Trends have cycled through coiled wire innerspring mattresses, waterbeds and now memory foam. If you are finding yourself stiff and sore (and wide awake at the wrong time) it may be time for a change.
2. Let There Be Lavender
Aromatherapy advocates suggest the soothing smell of lavender smell to relax jangled nerves. Other people find jasmine or vanilla relax them. Why not scent your pillow with a few drops of essential oil?
There’s a huge industry for “fall asleep fast” infant shampoos, soaps and lotions all scented with lavender and jasmine.
3. Banish Bad Noise
Squeaky beds, dripping sinks or barking dogs can make you miserable when you need to sleep. Banish them. Pick up a sturdy bed frame with feet instead of wheels (we like the Layla Bed Frame) to end the squeak.
Replace washers on the sink or use the string trick to end the drip noise. Send the dog outside. Consider earplugs or a white noise generator to mask the noises you can’t stop.
Some people like music to lull themselves to sleep. Just be aware that you may wake when it stops! Try not to watch TV or use your computer. That can keep you awake instead.
4. Turn Down the Temp
Your body temp falls slightly as you sleep. Chilling your room slightly gives a hint to your biological clock that it is time to sleep. Try a temp between 60 and 67 degrees F.
You can up the ante by taking a warm shower before jumping into bed. Warm hands and feet in a cool room encourage your body to relax.
5. Fall Asleep Fast In the Dark
The secret to fast sleep is dark, cool, cave-like conditions and a comfortable bed. Cool, quiet and dark conditions cue the brain to make melatonin. Melatonin is one of the chemicals that makes you feel sleepy.
Light is the enemy of melatonin. All light discourages your brain from producing it, but bright lights in the blue spectrum are the worst.
6. Use Some Yoga Breathing
Concentration on mindful breathing distracts you from other thoughts. It also serves to bring more oxygen to the brain.
- Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth
- Exhale quickly through your mouth, with a little force for four seconds
- Inhale silently through your nose for four seconds
- Hold for eight seconds
- Repeat for four breaths
7. Progressively Relax Your Body
This yoga technique involves mindfully tensing each individual muscle in the body then slowly releasing it. Tense each muscle for five seconds, then release it slowly over a count of ten. Start with the fingers and toes, work towards your core, then your head and neck.
Reverse the process, working even slower. Feel the tension melt away. This exercise in combination with the breathing exercise is especially calming.
8. Break Away From Blue Light
The light wavelengths from electronic devices fool your brain into thinking it is daytime and time to be active. For faster and better sleep, shut off your lights after dinner. If you must toil away on your computer, invest in light-blocking glasses or screens.
Any light, including LED and fluorescent room or task lights can disturb sleep. Consider dimming lights early.
9. Try Acupressure
There are several pressure points meant to relax muscles and encourage sleep. Try a few moments of self-treatment before you go to bed.
- Massage both of your ears for a minute or two
- Before you put on some socks, massage the dip between your first and second toes on the top of your foot
- Press the dent between your eyebrows for one minute
10. Drive Yourself to Distraction
It’s not counting sheep. Try visualizing a beach or waterfall. Make the environment as rich as you possibly can. The key is to focus your brain on something other than what is making you anxious.
Whatever you can do to remove the triggers of your racing thoughts will help. Need to set an alarm to help reduce your anxiety? Do it, then turn the clock away from the bed so you can’t stare at it.
Constantly monitoring the time or your phone does not help your sleep.
If none of these tips helped you fall asleep fast, you might as well get up for a few minutes.
Spend 10 minutes reading or do some gentle stretches before trying again. Try not to turn on too many lights.
Occasional sleeplessness is common for adults. If it begins to affect your life, seek help from your doctor. There may be an underlying medical condition or drug interaction preventing you from a good night’s rest.
For more useful information and inspirational thoughts, keep reading this blog.