12 Tips To Help You Fall Asleep Faster

Spend a lot of time tossing and turning in bed? Read on!
PHOTO: istockphoto

How much time do you spend trying to force yourself to fall asleep? How often do you end up feeling tired during the day because you didn’t get enough sleep the night before? If part of your problem is having a hard time seeking the sandman even when you’re settled in bed, you might want to try a few of the tactics we’ve listed below for how to fall asleep fast.

  1. Stick to a schedule.

    When you allow it to, the human body maintains natural rhythms that determine your healthy sleep cycle. As much as possible, try to stick to a personal schedule that allows you to get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. Factor in 30 to 45 minutes of pre-sleep time per night, in which you prepare your body and mind for sleeping. So set your bedtime at least half an hour before you intend to actually be asleep.

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  2. Watch what (and when) you eat.

    Forget what you think you know about carb comas; research suggests that meals that are high in carbohydrates don’t make for a restful sleep. Studies indicate that a high-fat, low-carb diet may help you sleep better. Now, you don’t need to commit to a full ketogenic diet, but you should think about how much of which food groups you consume daily. And if you must indulge in a high-carb dinner, try to schedule it early, at least four to six hours before you plan to sleep.

  3. Let daylight guide you (and darkness too).

    Your natural body clock, is cued by the experience of light and darkness; it is inclined to wakefulness when it is bright and sleep when it is dark. Being aware of this can also help you maintain your sleep schedule. Expose yourself to bright light (preferably sunlight) in the daytime and keep your sleep area dark, even if it means hanging blackout curtains and investing in a good sleep mask.

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  4. Get comfortable.

    This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how often people will sacrifice comfort to save a little money. But having quality mattresses, pillows, bedsheets, etc., can mean a world of difference when it comes to falling asleep quickly. So scout those home store sales for bargains on quality beddings—you won’t regret it! You may also want to invest in orthopedic pillows. Make sure you dress comfortably as well; slumber-promoting sleepwear is a must!

  5. Keep things cool.

    A warm room can make it harder to fall asleep. Encourage your body to fall asleep faster by cooling down your sleeping area—if you’re concerned about electricity usage, make sure your air conditioner is on a timer. Taking a warm bath or shower before you head for bed at night also helps; as your body cools down afterward, you’ll often find you’ll get sleepy much faster.

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  6. Meditate.

    Stress is one of the main culprits when it comes to keeping people from a good night’s sleep. Meditation can help you clear your brain space of the little things you worry about during the day. Moreover, studies show that the practice may help your body produce more melatonin, which is the hormone that regulates sleepiness versus wakefulness.

  7. Maintain a bedside journal.

    Journaling is another way to help you de-stress before bedtime. If you can write about your worries and other preoccupations, it may help dispel them from your brain, making it easier for you to fall asleep.

  8. Banish electronics from your sleeping space.

    Establish bedtime as unplugged time. Using electronics before bedtime (especially in this age of streaming video and social media) may keep you awake for longer. How many times have you found yourself idly scrolling through your newsfeed in the hours you’re supposed to be sleeping? If controlling your impulse to check on what’s happening in the world is a bit difficult, try keeping your devices (especially your mobile) across the room or out of your bedroom altogether.

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  9. Listen to something soothing.

    If music helps you relax, try listening to some before you go to bed. There are several playlists on streaming services like Spotify composed to help promote sleep; it’s just a matter of finding what works for you. If music isn’t your style, try ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) videos and podcasts, which often feature relaxing sounds or instruct you on movements or massages that will help you relax.

  10. Indulge in aromatherapy.

    This is another trick to help you relax. You can keep an essential oil diffuser in your room to keep things aromatic, which will help relieve stress and may promote restful sleep. You can also use bed linen sprays or take an aromatic bath before sleeping. Lavender, cedarwood, damask rose, and bergamot are a few scents associated sleep and relaxation.

  11. Try not too nap too often.

    You may have heard that short naps can help improve your health and general wellbeing, but too much of a good thing can often be detrimental, and this is true of sleep. Regularly napping for two hours or more may compromise your sleep quality. Should you really feel the need to nap, try to limit these to 30 minutes or less and to schedule these in the morning or early afternoon rather than later in the day.

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  12. Don’t obsess about falling asleep.

    Have you ever found that the more you’ve tried to force yourself to sleep, the more elusive it’s proven? Try not to spend too much time trying to convince yourself to feel sleepy; don’t watch the clock and track how long you’ve been awake when you really should be sleeping. Instead, you may want to focus on clearing your mind of your daily stresses or even try to force yourself to stay awake. You might just find yourself getting sleepy the harder you fight to keep your eyes open!

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