A good night’s sleep is extremely significant for your health and well-being. It not only preps you for the following day but also keeps your bodily functions on track. But, what if your sleep is continuously disturbed every other night? Have you been struggling to keep up with your sleep of late? Read on to find the best ways to fall asleep when you can’t.
Table Of Contents
How To Fall Asleep Faster
1. Keep Your Room Cool
The temperature of your body tends to change as you fall asleep. Your core temperature might see a decrease while the temperature of your feet and hands increases.
Therefore, if your room is warm, it is a good idea to set your air conditioner to a cooler temperature (1). Taking a warm bath can also cause your body to become cooler later on, hence promoting better sleep (2).
2. Set A Sleep Schedule
The circadian rhythm is the regulatory system of your body. It acts like an internal clock that cues your body to stay awake during the day and sleep at night. If you start waking up and going to bed at the same time daily, it will help your body adjust to the schedule. This will make it easier for you to fall asleep and wake up at the same time every day (3).
3. Expose Yourself To Sunlight And Darkness
The regulatory system or circadian rhythm of your body can be influenced by exposure to light, which may affect your sleep cycle. Irregular exposure to light during the day can make it harder for you to stay awake and also make it difficult to fall asleep (4).
On the other hand, darkness (at night) promotes sleep as it boosts the secretion of one of the sleep hormones called melatonin (5).
4. Avoid Looking At Your Clock
Do you tend to take a sneak peek at your clock now and then in between sleep? That could be one of the reasons you aren’t able to sleep. The habit of “clock-watching” is common in those battling insomnia. It can also trigger anxiety issues related to sleeplessness (6).
5. Meditate And Practice Yoga
Meditating and practicing yoga can help alleviate symptoms of stress and enable you to sleep better. Yoga helps you relax and reduces the tension accumulated in your body, thereby helping you get a sound sleep (7).
Meditation helps in enhancing melatonin (sleep hormone) levels, thereby assisting your brain in achieving a state in which sleep can be easily attained (8).
6. Limit Daytime Naps
Daytime naps that last for 2 hours or more can affect your night’s sleep. They may also lead to sleep deprivation (9). Hence, you should opt for a quick nap that lasts no more than 30 minutes.
7. Try Out Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is quite useful for sleep-related problems. The aroma of essential oils of lavender and damask rose has sleep-promoting activities (10), (11). All you have to do is diffuse any of these essential oils in your room before bedtime for a sound sleep. Aromatherapy also helps reduce stress and anxiety, which allows your body to relax.
8. Limit Your Caffeine Intake
Caffeine-containing beverages are consumed widely worldwide. They are often used to stimulate alertness and fight fatigue, especially when you are sleep-deprived. However, regular intake of caffeine can prove to be disastrous for your sleep pattern (12).
Instead, opt for a soothing herbal drink like chamomile tea for a good night’s sleep (13).
9. Change Your Sleeping Position
Traditionally, it was believed that sleeping on the back gives you a better quality of sleep, but research suggests otherwise. Sleeping on your back can cause your airways to become blocked, sleep apnea, and also episodes of snoring, which may lead to poor quality of sleep (14).
Sleeping on the side is associated with improved and high-quality sleep (15).
10. Take Sleep-Enhancing Supplements
You can also take supplements to help enhance your sleep quality. Supplements containing magnesium, melatonin, and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) are available to help restore your sleep pattern (16), (17), (18). However, it is highly recommended that you consult your doctor before taking any of these supplements.
11. Try And Stay Awake
Just like forcing yourself to sleep might have the opposite effect and results in sleeplessness, putting all your focus in staying awake may actually help you sleep faster (19). This technique is known as paradoxical intention, and all it requires is for you to stay awake rather than trying to sleep.
12. Exercise More
Exercising can boost the secretion of serotonin and also decrease the level of the stress hormone, cortisol. However, exercising works best to promote sleep when done in moderation and during daytime (20).
13. Keep A Check On Your Nighttime Diet
What you eat can also have a significant effect on your sleep. A high-carb diet may prove to be detrimental to your sleep, whereas, a high-fat diet can promote deeper sleep (21). Hence, avoid binging on high-carb foods close to your bedtime.
14. Listen To Soothing Music
Music can always set the mood right, and this is no exception when it comes to your sleep pattern. Listening to relaxing music before bedtime not only improves your quality of sleep but also helps battle sleep disorders like insomnia (22), (23).
15. Read Before Bedtime
While we are not so sure about adults, kids can definitely benefit from reading before bedtime as it was observed to help with a sound sleep (24). Also, this tip is in favor of those who read from a book rather than on an electronic gadget.
16. Turn Off All Electronic Gadgets
Switching off all electronic gadgets before bedtime can also do wonders for your sleep. Whether it is your laptop, cell phone, notebook, or laptop, keep them all away when it’s time for bed. This is because the blue light emitted by these devices can interrupt your sleep pattern (25).
All these tips can help you sleep faster in the long run. However, if these tips don’t seem to help much on their own, try and complement them with the methods discussed below.
How To Sleep In 10 Seconds
This entire procedure takes around 120 seconds, but it is the last 10 seconds that actually matter.
The Military Method
- Relax your face and the muscles of your mouth.
- Drop your shoulders to release any tension. Let your hands drop to your sides.
- Exhale while relaxing your chest.
- Clear your mind and allow it to relax for 10 seconds.
- If you are unable to do so, chant “don’t think” repeatedly for about 10 seconds.
- You should fall asleep within 10 seconds.
Breathing and relaxation is the foundation of this technique. Hence, to be able to get this right, you should ace its foundation.
How To Sleep In 60 Seconds
These methods may take up to 2 minutes to work for beginners.
4-7-8 Breathing Method
- Part your lips slightly and make a whooshing sound while exhaling through your mouth.
- Close your lips and inhale using your nose to a count of 4.
- Follow this by holding your breath for 7 seconds.
- Exhale with a whooshing sound for 8 seconds.
- Practice this mindlessly while being relaxed.
- You should complete four breaths using this technique.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
- Raise your eyebrows as high as you can. Hold it for 5 seconds.
- Relax your muscles immediately. You will sense the tension drop. Wait for another 10 seconds.
- Smile as widely as you can and hold it for 5 seconds.
- Relax and pause for 10 seconds.
- Try squinting with your eyes shut for 5 seconds.
- Relax and pause for 10 seconds.
- Tilt your head to the back and hold the position for 5 seconds.
- Let your head go back to the initial position and relax for 10 seconds.
- Continue following this technique for your triceps, chest, thighs, and all the way to your feet.
- If sleep overtakes you in between, allow yourself to fall asleep without necessarily having to complete the tensing/relaxing technique for your lower body.
For this method to work effectively, focus on how relaxed your body feels every time you tense and let go.
How To Sleep In 120 Seconds
If none of the above methods work, the following may be your best bet.
- Paradoxical Intention
This method works when you tell yourself to stay awake instead of forcing yourself to sleep. Individuals battling insomnia often get anxious when they are not able to sleep. However, if you follow paradoxical intention, the chances of you falling asleep are a lot more than those who don’t follow it (19).
- Image Distraction
People who follow imagery distraction also fall asleep a lot faster as compared to others. This technique requires you to imagine your happy place or any other place that leaves you feeling relaxed. The key objective of this method is to stop fretting over your worldly worries and keep your mind at peace (26).
Try out any one or a combination of the above tips and methods and see what works best in promoting sleep for you. If nothing seems to help despite repeated efforts, consult a doctor to find the underlying cause of your disrupted sleep.
Do you have any other tips for falling asleep faster? Let us know in the comments section below.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
What foods make you sleepy?
Foods like bananas, red meat, cherries, salmon, and lettuce can make you feel relaxed, which, in turn, can also promote sleep. These foods either promote the secretion of melatonin, the sleep hormone, or generally impart a sedative effect.
How long does it take on an average for a person to fall asleep?
On an average, it should only take anywhere between 10 to 20 minutes for a person to fall asleep.
How can I sleep better at night without thinking?
Following a combination of the above tips can help you feel relaxed and sleep uninterruptedly. However, if these tips do not help, it is best to see a doctor.
- “Thermoregulation as a sleep signalling system.” Sleep Medicine Reviews, US National Library Of Medicine.
- “Night-time sleep EEG changes following body heating in a warm bath.” Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology, US National Library Of Medicine.
- “Circadian rhythms, sleep deprivation, and human performance.” Progress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science, US National Library Of Medicine.
- “Light as a central modulator of circadian rhythms, sleep and affect.” Nature Reviews Neuroscience, US National Library Of Medicine.
- “Melatonin, the Hormone of Darkness: From Sleep Promotion to Ebola Treatment.” Brain Disorders & Therapy, US National Library Of Medicine.
- “Nocturnal time monitoring behavior (“clock-watching”) in patients presenting to a sleep medical center with insomnia and posttraumatic stress symptoms.” Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, US National Library Of Medicine.
- “Yoga for improving sleep quality and quality of life for older adults.” Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, US National Library Of Medicine.
- “Meditation and Its Regulatory Role on Sleep” Frontiers In Neurology, US National Library Of Medicine.
- “Napping in college students and its relationship with nighttime sleep.” Journal of American College Health, US National Library Of Medicine.
- “Effect of lavender aromatherapy on vital signs and perceived quality of sleep in the intermediate care unit: a pilot study.” American Journal of Critical Care, US National Library Of Medicine.
- “Effect of Rosa damascene aromatherapy on sleep quality in cardiac patients: a randomized controlled trial.” Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, US National Library Of Medicine.
- “The effects of coffee consumption on sleep and melatonin secretion.” Sleep Medicine, US National Library Of Medicine.
- “Effects of an intervention with drinking chamomile tea on sleep quality and depression in sleep disturbed postnatal women: a randomized controlled trial.” Journal of Advanced Nursing, US National Library Of Medicine.
- “Sleep positions in the young adult and their relationship with the subjective quality of sleep.” Sleep, US National Library Of Medicine.
- “Sleep Position, Age, Gender, Sleep Quality and Waking Cervico-Thoracic Symptoms” The Internet Journal Of Allied Health Sciences and Practice.
- “The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial.” Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, US National Library Of Medicine.
- “Prolonged-release melatonin improves sleep quality and morning alertness in insomnia patients aged 55 years and older and has no withdrawal effects.” Journal of Sleep Research, US National Library Of Medicine.
- “The Improvement of Sleep by Oral Intake of GABA and Apocynum venetum Leaf Extract.” Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, US National Library Of Medicine.
- “Paradoxical intention and insomnia: An experimental investigation” Behaviour Research And Therapy, ResearchGate.
- “Effects of exercise timing on sleep architecture and nocturnal blood pressure in prehypertensives.” Vascular Health and Risk Management, US National Library Of Medicine.
- “Effects of Diet on Sleep Quality” Advances In Nutrition, US National Library Of Medicine.
- “Music improves sleep quality in students.” Journal of Advanced Nursing, US National Library Of Medicine.
- “Music for insomnia in adults.” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, US National Library Of Medicine.
- “Reading at Bedtime Associated With Longer Nighttime Sleep in Latino Preschoolers.” Clinical Pediatrics, US National Library Of Medicine.
- “Blocking nocturnal blue light for insomnia: A randomized controlled trial.” Journal of Psychiatric Research, US National Library Of Medicine.
- “The management of unwanted pre-sleep thoughts in insomnia: distraction with imagery versus general distraction” Behaviour Research And Therapy, ScienceDirect.
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