Good sleep is incredibly important.
It helps you feel good and makes your body and brain function properly.
Some people have no problem falling asleep. However, many others have severe difficulty falling and staying asleep through the night.
Poor sleep can have negative effects on many parts of your body and brain, including learning, memory, mood, emotions and various biological functions.
Here are 10 simple ways to fall asleep as fast as possible.
1. Lower the Room Temperature
Your body temperature changes as you fall asleep. Core temperature decreases, while the temperature of your hands and feet increases.
If your room is too warm, you might have a hard time falling asleep. Setting your thermostat to a cool temperature between 60–75°F (15–23°C) could help.
Individual preferences will vary, so find the temperature that works best for you.
Taking a warm bath or shower could also help speed up the body's temperature changes. As your body cools down afterwards, this can help send a signal to your brain to go to sleep.
2. Use the "4-7-8" Breathing Method
The “4-7-8” method is a simple but powerful breathing method that promotes calmness and relaxation. It might also help you unwind before bed.
It consists of a breathing pattern that relaxes the nervous system. It can be practiced anytime you feel anxious or stressed.
Here are the steps:
- First, place the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth.
- Exhale completely through your mouth and make a whoosh sound.
- Close your mouth and inhale through your nose while mentally counting to four.
- Hold your breath and mentally count to seven.
- Open your mouth and exhale completely, making a whoosh sound and mentally counting to eight.
- Repeat this cycle at least three more times.
This technique can relax you and help you fall asleep quickly.
3. Get on a Schedule
Many people find that setting a sleep schedule helps them fall asleep easier.
Your body has its own regulatory system called the circadian rhythm. This internal clock cues your body to feel alert during the day but sleepy at night.
Waking up and going to bed at the same times each day can help your internal clock keep a regular schedule. Once your body adjusts to this schedule, it will be easier to fall asleep and wake up around the same time every day.
It is also important to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. This has been shown to be the optimal sleep duration for adults.
Lastly, give yourself 30 minutes to an hour to wind down in the evening before getting in bed. This allows your body and mind to relax and prepare for sleep.
4. Experience Both Daylight and Darkness
Light can influence your body’s internal clock, which regulates sleep and wakefulness.
Irregular light exposure can lead to disruption of circadian rhythms, making it harder to fall asleep and stay awake.
During the day, exposing your body to bright light tells it to stay alert.
At night, darkness promotes feelings of sleepiness. In fact, research shows that darkness boosts the production of melatonin, an essential hormone for sleep.
Get out and expose your body to sunlight or artificial bright light throughout the day. If possible, use blackout curtains to make your room dark at night.
5. Practice Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness
When people are stressed, they tend to have difficulty falling asleep.
Yoga encourages the practice of breathing patterns and body movements that release stress and tension accumulated in your body.
Meditation can enhance melatonin levels and assist the brain in achieving a specific state where sleep is easily achieved.
Lastly, mindfulness may help you maintain focus on the present and worry less while falling asleep.
Practicing one or all of these techniques can help you get a good night's rest and wake up re-energized.
6. Do Not Look at Your Clock
It is normal to wake up in the middle of the night. However, the inability to fall back asleep can ruin a good night’s rest.
People who wake up in the middle of the night often tend to watch the clock and obsess about the fact that they cannot fall back asleep.
"Clock-watching" is common among people suffering from insomnia. This behavior may cause anxiety about sleeplessness.
To make matters worse, waking on a regular basis without falling back asleep may cause your body to develop a routine. As a result, you might find yourself waking up in the middle of the night every night.
If possible, it is best to remove the clock from your room. If you need an alarm in the room, you can turn your clock and avoid watching it when you wake up in the middle of the night.
7. Avoid Naps During the Day
Due to poor sleep at night, people with insomnia tend to be sleepy during the day. This often leads to daytime napping.
While naps of short duration have been linked to improvements in alertness and well-being, there are mixed opinions about the effects of napping on nighttime sleep.
Some studies have shown that regular, long (two hours or more) and late naps may lead to poor nighttime sleep quality and even sleep deprivation.
One study showed that among 440 college students, those who reported taking three or more naps per week, those who napped more than two hours and those who napped late (between 6 and 9 p.m.) had the poorest nighttime sleep quality.
Another study found that older adults who napped frequently had lower quality nighttime sleep, more depressive symptoms, more limited physical activity and were more likely to be overweight than those who rarely took a nap.
Other studies have revealed that naps do not affect nighttime sleep.
To find out if naps are affecting your sleep, try either eliminating naps altogether or limiting yourself to a short nap (30 minutes or less) early in the day.
8. Watch What and When You Eat
It seems that the food you eat before bed may affect your sleep. For example, research has shown that high-carb meals may be detrimental to a good night's rest.
A review of studies concluded that even though a high-carb diet can get you to fall asleep faster, it will not be restful sleep. Instead, high-fat meals could promote a deeper and more restful sleep.
In fact, several studies agree that a high-carb/low-fat diet significantly decreased the quality of sleep compared to a low-carb/high-fat diet with the same amount of calories for both diets.
If you still want to eat a high-carb meal for dinner, you should eat it at least four hours before bed, so you have enough time to digest it.
For more details on foods to eat, here are the 9 best foods to help you sleep.
9. Listen to Relaxing Music
Music can significantly improve quality of sleep. It can even be used to improve chronic sleep disorders like insomnia.
A study of 24 young adults demonstrated that sedative music promoted deeper sleep.
Buddhist music is a kind of music created from different Buddhist chants and used for meditation. Listening to it may be a great tool for better sleep.
Another study revealed that 25 participants had a more restful and deeper sleep when they were exposed to soothing music for 45 minutes at bedtime, compared to those not listening to music.
Lastly, if relaxing music is not available, blocking all noise could also help you fall asleep faster and promote uninterrupted sleep.
10. Exercise During The Day
Physical activity is often considered beneficial to healthy sleep.
However, it is important to maintain a moderate-intensity exercise routine and not overdo it. Excessive training has been linked to poor sleep.
The time of the day when you exercise is also critical. To promote better quality sleep, working out early in the morning appears to be better than working out later in the day.
Therefore, moderate-to-vigorous exercise in the morning could significantly improve the quality and quantity of your sleep.