Do you often stay awake, tossing and turning for hours? Do you often wish you had tools to help you fall asleep quicker and stay asleep throughout the night? You're in luck! Here are some tips & tricks on how to fall asleep fast and get better quality sleep!
1. Keep a consistent sleeping schedule
I'm sure you notice that when you go to bed later than usual and get less sleep, your sleep quality is affected and you don't feel as refreshed the next morning. That's because our internal clock is a sucker for routine. One bad night can affect us in more ways than we think. Lack of sleep messes with our mood, stress level, concentration, and energy.
Go to bed around the same time every night, and do your best to get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep. This guarantees better sleep, and you will feel more energized within a few days.
2. Develop a bedtime routine
Having a bedtime ritual can help sleep better. Find one that works for you, and try doing the same thing every night. Your body will assimilate the routine with sleep time, and help condition you for sleep. It took me a while to perfect my routine, but now it's like second nature, and I get healthy and restful sleep.
My personal routine: Around 9:30pm, I put my electronics away, dim the lights, check the temperature of my bedroom - I usually set it at 67 degrees F. Then I make myself an herbal tea, with valerian root, lemon balm and chamomile. And I read a book for the next 30 minutes on my living room couch. When I start to feel sleepy, I brush my teeth and hop into bed. For my final relaxation technique before sleep, I lay down and practice a deep breathing technique. I take a deep inhale while counting to 4. I hold my breath for 7 counts, and I exhale for 8 counts (I explain this in more detail later in the article). I repeat this exercise until my body is in full relaxation mode. This routine helps promote a good night's sleep.
3. Avoid electronics before bed
Your phone may be your best friend but it can affect your quality sleep. Screens emit blue light which is known to inhibit melatonin production, making sleep difficult. You can also set your phone & laptop to automatic night shift so that the colors of your display automatically adjust at night time to make it easier on the eyes.
4. Try Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy, the use of essential oils to promote wellness and relaxation, can lead you closer to restful sleep. I personally love it! My favorite oils are lavender (relaxes and soothes anxiety), chamomile (soothes pain and anxiety), bergamot (soothes stress and anxiety, improves mood), valerian (improves sleep, relaxation, relieves tension), and jasmine (calms the nerves, soothes anxiety).
5. 4-7-8 Breathing technique / Relaxing breath
This is my favorite breathing exercise for a more healthy sleep! It's part of my bedtime routine. This technique originally comes from an ancient yogic technique (pranayama), but it was developed by Dr. Andrew Weil in the Western World. It is designed to help your body get into a state of deep relaxation, and conditions you for deep sleep. In general, breathing techniques that involve holding your breath, replenish your body with much-needed oxygen. They also help you lower anxiety as well as relax your body and mind.
Before you start, get into a comfortable sitting position, or lay down on your back (make sure your body is aligned).
- Start by emptying all the air out of your lungs through the mouth.
- Take a deep breath in through the nose and count for 4 seconds
- Hold the breath for 7 seconds
- Exhale all the air out through the mouth, making a “whoosh” sound for 8 seconds
- Repeat 4 times
6. Journal before bed
In the US, 50 to 70 million Americans report having sleep-related problems. This is most often due to anxiety, which results in poor sleep. And what are people anxious about? All sorts of things: projects at work with a tight deadline, laundry piling up all over the house, birthdays to plan, medicine to pick up, groceries shopping, kids’ homework, and the list goes on and on. We seem to be constantly running behind and never have enough time to accomplish everything.
There are tons of things you can journal about that can help relieve anxiety, like writing down what you’re grateful for, or a few things that made you smile during the day, venting so it doesn’t get stuck in your mind, etc. But our personal favorite is to write down a to-do list. Studies show that writing a to-do list helps more than reflecting on other things. Once you write down what you need to do on paper, you unburden your mind so you can go to sleep in peace.
7. Try meditation
Meditation is a great exercise to help your mind calm down, relax, and reduce anxiety. There are hundreds of meditations to choose from. If you are new to meditation, a guided meditation might be the right thing for you. You can find good guided meditations through apps such as Headspace, Insight Timer, and Calm.
But you can also do your own meditation. One fun exercise is the body scan technique. Lie down on your back, and make sure your body is aligned. Close your eyes, focus your attention on the third eye (between your brows), and take a few long and deep breaths, focusing your attention on your nostrils. Then, start breathing normally again, and start scanning your body, from head to toe. Start with the top of your scalp, and go down slowly. Then move on to the top of your face and go down: forehead, brown, eyes, cheeks, nose, lips, chin. Then move down to your neck, back then front. Then onto your arms, one at a time, start with the right, all the way to your fingers, and then the left. Then go down your spine, once you reach the bottom, move onto your chest, stomach, belly. Then, onto your legs, one at a time, all the way to your toes. And start again. Do this exercise a few times. Notice how your body relaxes and the tension dissipates. Your mind and body will start to relax more and more, and it will ease you into a deep, restful sleep.
8. Avoid caffeine
Caffeine is great to stimulate your brain throughout the day and help you feel energized. Caffeine blocks adenosine receptors in the brain. (Adenosine is a sleep-promoting chemical that is produced in the brain when you are awake). You can feel the effects of caffeine as soon as 15 minutes; it peaks between 30-60 minutes, and it stays at that level for up to 6 hours. At that point, it drops by half, and you might not feel the effects anymore. But caffeine usually stays in the body for up to 10 hours total! Research shows that caffeine messes with the circadian rhythm, delaying your internal clock, thus reducing your total sleep cycle time.
So you should stop drinking caffeine at least 6 hours before bedtime. If you go to sleep at 11pm, you should stop drinking coffee by 5pm.
Over time, overuse of caffeine intake can lead to chronic insomnia, and may increase anxiety, sleepiness and affect the quality of your sleep. Opt for herbal tea instead to help you fall asleep faster!
9. Get comfortable
Something that is often neglected is our bedding, meaning mattress, sheets, comforters, and pillows. If you have an uncomfortable mattress, it will lead to bad sleep and poor posture. A pillow that is too big or stiff can push your head forward, straining your neck and making it harder to breathe. This can lead to neck and back pain, reducing the quality of your sleep. Sheets that are too stiff, make you itch, keep you cold, etc. can also affect the quality of your sleep.
My recommendation, if you sleep with a partner, is to try an adjustable bed! Partners can often come in the way of our sleep quality. How often does your partner's tossing and turning affect your sleep? It's a perfect compromise when you want to share your bed with your partner but don't want to be affected by their constant movement. It changed everything for me and my partner!
With an adjustable bed, you'll want the perfect sheets! Overstocksheetclub.com is one of the few companies that offer Split Top King Sheet Sets (Flex Top King, Split Head King) and Split Top Queen (Split Queen Flex, Split Head Queen) sheets. The quality of our sheets is unmatched! They are silky soft to the touch, they are also hypoallergenic, so they're great for people with sensitive skin! No more itching and scratching! They have deep pockets and a strong elastic so your fitted sheet never comes off your mattress, no matter how much you toss and turn! These sheets really promote good sleep!
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10. Wear an eye mask
Research shows that wearing an eye mask can increase REM sleep time, which promotes healthy sleep patterns and hormone balance. Wearing an eye mask can especially help if you have insomnia, don't have blackout curtains, or if you sleep with a partner who turns the lights off later than you do ;)
I hope you enjoyed reading about all the ways on how to fall asleep fast, and that trying at least a few of these will help you get better sleep! Getting good sleep can really change our life!