How To Fall Asleep Fast
Dr. Jade Wu, PhD, DBSM
Dr. Jade Wu, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in behavioral sleep medicine. She completed her Ph.D. at Boston University, and finished her medical psychology residency and clinical fellowship at Duke University School of Medicine.
By Rosie OsmunCertified Sleep Coach
Learning how to fall asleep fast sounds difficult, right? Try these strategies all you need is your mind and your smartphone. Some nights falling asleep quickly doesnt come easy,
Learning how to fall asleep fast sounds difficult, right? Try these strategies all you need is your mind and your smartphone.
Some nights falling asleep quickly doesnt come easy, and tossing, turning and thinking about not sleeping only makes it worse. You probably know the basic ideas like reading a book and turning off your electronics, but when those dont work what can you do?
Turns out, there are some unconventional tactics that sleep experts have stumbled upon that rely on your own biology and psychology to induce relaxation.
Meditation And Relaxation Techniques
A regular meditation practice may help to promote sleep by slowing breathing and;reducing stress hormone levels.;Meditation is a technique that involves consciously directing one’s attention to an object of focus in order to increase awareness, relax the body, and calm the mind.
Some types of meditation include;guided meditation, vipassana meditation, yoga nidra, or;body scan. Also try:
- Visualization: Visualization involves actively imagining a relaxing scene. You can try it in bed for 20 minutes before falling asleep. Involve all your senses. If you’re imagining yourself on a tropical island, think of the way the warm breeze feels against your skin. Imagine the sweet scent of the flowers, look at the water and listen;to the waves. The more vivid the visualization and the more senses you involve, the more effective it will be.
- Relaxation response: This is a mind/body response that occurs after following specific instructions;patterned closely after;Transcendental Meditation.
- Mindfulness: This type of meditation essentially involves focusing on your mind on the present.
Early;evidence suggests that meditation techniques may improve sleep. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says relaxation techniques have enough evidence to say they can be helpful for insomnia. But further research is still needed.
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Foods That Help You Sleep Better
Written by Health experts, this article is fact-checked by nutritionists and based on scientific evidence.
Our team is comprised of unbiased licensed nutritionists, dieticians and health professionals. All articles posted are factually true and present both sides of the coin.
This article is backed by scientific facts. Click on the numbers to see the peer-reviewed scientific journals that we used for reference.
Getting a good nights sleep is imperative, and there are foods that can actually help you sleep better. Perhaps you already know of some foods that will keep you up past your bedtime, like coffee and cola, but there are foods that provide vitamins and minerals that trigger your bodys natural sleep signals, making you feel sleep and helping you stay asleep once youre there. Incorporate the following foods into your diet to see just how much of a difference it can make to your quality of sleep.
9. Miso Soup
11. Whole Grains
15. Bell Peppers
Create A Bedtime Ritual
Having a pre-bedtime routine will signal to your body that its almost time to snooze. Breus recommends habitually following healthy sleep habits, or sleep hygiene. Plan an hour of a low key, wind-down activities, such as dimming the lights, having a cup of chamomile tea, or applying nighttime creams.;
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Relax And Clear Your Mind In The Evening
Many people have a pre-sleep routine that helps them relax.
Relaxation techniques before bed have been shown to improve sleep quality and are another common technique used to treat insomnia (
One study in older adults determined that exercise nearly halved the amount of time it took to fall asleep and provided 41 more minutes of sleep at night .
In people with severe insomnia, exercise offered more benefits than most drugs. Exercise reduced time to fall asleep by 55%, total night wakefulness by 30%, and anxiety by 15% while increasing total sleep time by 18% .
Although daily exercise is key for a good nights sleep, performing it too late in the day may cause sleep problems.
This is due to the stimulatory effect of exercise, which increases alertness and hormones like epinephrine and adrenaline.
However, some studies show no negative effects, so it clearly depends on the individual (
Drinking large amounts of liquids before bed can lead to similar symptoms, though some people are more sensitive than others.
Although hydration is vital for your health, its wise to reduce your fluid intake in the late evening.
Try to not drink any fluids 12 hours before going to bed.
You should also use the bathroom right before going to bed, as this may decrease your chances of waking in the night.
Get A Mattress Of The Right Firmness
There is no one size fits all for mattress firmness. Different people, depending on sleep position, activity level, body mechanics, age, and other factors will sleep better on different levels of firmness or softness of a mattress. If you want to get the best nights rest, the best mattress is the one that matches your body type and sleep style.
Thats why Amerisleep offers five different types of mattresses. The AS1 is the firmest mattress ideal for stomach and back sleepers who want the firmest feel. The AS5 is the softest mattress thats ideal for side and combo sleepers who put more pressure on their hips and shoulders.
Looking for something in between? The AS3 is the perfect balance of firm and soft that supports your body, no matter which position you sleep in. The AS3 is also a good choice for couples with slightly different firmness preferences.
Finally, we wanted to make sure our customers could try our mattresses risk-free. Thats why we offer a 100-night sleep trial where you can try any of our mattresses in your own home for 100 nights.;
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Your Mattress Locks In Heat And Body Moisture Bedjet Gets Rid Of It Eliminating Night Sweats
“Cooling technology” mattresses barely move the needle on comfort for hot sleepers. BedJet is the most powerful temperature regulating and sweat-drying system available anywhere for beds. BedJet provides instant relief from night sweats, hot flashes and stuffy memory foam mattresses.
It’s not just the temperature, it’s the humidity! Cooling mattresses and water-based hydronic systems can’t pull sweat and heat out of the bed like BedJet’s air technology. Just watch the video!
Practice This Breathing Exercise
If you find yourself stressed and wide awake in the middle of the night, youll need to calm your racing thoughts and your racing heart before you can fall back asleep. Breus recommends practicing the 4-7-8 breathing method: Inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds and slowly exhale for eight seconds. Repeat this relaxation technique as many times as necessary until you lower your heartbeat to the optimal sleep rate of 60 beats or less per minute.;
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Drink Tart Cherry Juice
Cherry juice is one of the more popular home remedies for insomnia in adults. Cherries containsmallamounts of the natural sleep-inducing chemicals melatonin and tryptophan. Drinking cherry juice at night can help you fall asleep faster and sleep longer. KnudsensTartCherryJuice costs an extra couple dollars than most others but its carried at most stores. You can also buy more concentrated forms at most health supplement stores.
Purchase A Good Mattress
Do not you remember when you bought the mattress youre using now? Then perhaps its time to buy a new one.
Even with the best care, your mattress will eventually wear out, usually after 8-10 years. Following this period, it may show wear, like coils poking through or saggy borders; or it may not, kind of like a pair of shoes that you wear only on the treadmill.
Whatever the case, you run the risk of hindering your rest. You may start to have trouble falling asleep, and the time you spend asleep may be less restful than it used to be.
If you feel they become less comfortable, or if you realize that youre waking up with an achy back, it may be time to go shopping.
See Your Doctor For Chronic Sleep Problems
Everyone suffers from occasional sleeplessness from time to time, but chronic sleep problems may be a sign of a more serious underlying problem. Certain medical conditions or medications may interfere with sleep. Lack of sleep can contribute to difficulty concentrating, memory problems, and an increased risk of accidents. See your doctor about your sleep problem. Be honest about any trouble you’re having falling asleep or staying asleep. Let your doctor know if you wake up feeling unrefreshed or if you feel sleepy or even fall asleep during the day. Keep a diary of your symptoms so you and your doctor can notice any patterns that may be contributing to your condition.
Turn Your Bedroom Into A Sleep
A quiet, dark, and cool environment can help promote sound slumber. Why do you think bats congregate in caves for their daytime sleep? To achieve such an environment, lower the volume of outside noise with earplugs or a “white noise” appliance. Use heavy curtains, blackout shades, or an eye mask to block light, a powerful cue that tells the brain that it’s time to wake up. Keep the temperature comfortably coolbetween 60 and 75°Fand the room well ventilated. And make sure your bedroom is equipped with a comfortable mattress and pillows. Also, if a pet regularly wakes you during the night, you may want to consider keeping it out of your bedroom. It may help to limit your bedroom activities to sleep and sex only. Keeping computers, TVs, and work materials out of the room will strengthen the mental association between your bedroom and sleep.
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Ways To Get Better Sleep
If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, you’re not alone. Many people struggle with sleep and that’s a problem since sleep plays a crucial role in your health, energy levels and ability to function at your best. Most adults require seven to eight hours of sleep each night to feel well-rested and energized each day.
If restless nights have become the norm for you, the first step toward getting better sleep is to observe your sleep patterns. Take note of how much you sleep each night, what factors contribute to your sleep or lack of it, how rested you feel the next morning and how much energy you have throughout the day.
After observing your sleep patterns for one to two weeks, try these 5 strategies to help improve your sleep:
1. Minimize light and sound.
These two environmental factors can impact your quality and quantity of sleep. Darkness causes your brain to release melatonin for a calming, sleepy effect. As a result, it’s important to minimize your exposure to light before bedtime. Even the light from your computer, TV or other devices might make it more difficult for you to fall asleep. Ban these devices from your bedroom, and create a dark space by using blackout shades or an eye mask. Noise also can interfere with your ability to sleep. Try using a fan or a noise machine to block out unwanted noises.
2. Get comfortable.
3. Keep a routine.
4. Manage stress.
5. Get out of bed.
Keep making adjustments until restless nights become a thing of the past
Don’t Force Yourself To Wake Up Early
Some things just aren’t meant to be — if you’ve never been a morning person, it’s actually counterproductive to force yourself to get up with the sun. To get the best sleep possible, you should follow your internal circadian rhythm and sleep at what times feel most natural to you.
Of course, we all have to modify our wake up time — you may feel best sleeping in till noon, but I doubt your boss would be happy with that. The key is to fit your sleep timing to your circadian rhythm as best as possible. This may mean moving your morning workouts to after work so you can sleep an hour later, or meal prepping breakfast to save on morning cooking time.
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Natural Sleep Remedies: Sleep In Total Darkness
Again, this will help support melatonin production and is one of the best natural sleep remedies. You can invest in a dark blackout shade that covers all of your windows. If money is an issue, just use thick blankets. I know from experience; its amazing how much the darkness will improve your sleep!
You can also wear an eye mask to block out light although its not as effective.
True story: Griff recently wanted a night light on in his room for bedtime. Sure enough, within a few days, he started waking up at 5:30 a.m.! This is how light can disrupt sleep! Once we started going into his room and turning it off after he fell asleep, he started sleeping an hour or an hour 1/2 later.
If you need to get up in the middle of the night for a potty break or feed the baby, turn on as little light as possible. This will make it easier to fall back asleep.
Dont Be A Nighttime Clock
Staring at a clock in your bedroom, either when you are trying to fall asleep or when you wake in the middle of the night, can actually increase stress, making it harder to fall asleep. Turn your clocks face away from you. And if you wake up in the middle of the night and cant get back to sleep in about 20 minutes, get up and engage in a quiet, restful activity such as reading or listening to music. And keep the lights dim; bright light can stimulate your internal clock. When your eyelids are drooping and you are ready to sleep, return to bed.
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Sip On Tart Cherry Juice
Craving a drink? Pour yourself a glass of tart cherry juice instead of wine. Tart cherry juice increases your melatonin levels, says Samantha Cassetty, RD, a New York City-based nutritionist. A 2010 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that older insomniacs who drank two eight-ounce glasses of tart cherry juice a day slept for 85 minutes more than those who downed a placebo drink.
Find The Right Position
If aches and pains are preventing you from falling asleep, try changing your position. Short of ideas? Here you will find 12 great sleep positions no one talks about, represented by cute pets. Heck! We can learn from them so much!
If you suffer from, by way of instance, neck pain, sciatica or kyphosis, perhaps you should try sleeping on your back.
If digestive problems are the root cause of sleeplessness, try sleeping on your side.
Consult a healthcare professional to make certain these sleeping places are right for you. If the pain continues, your physician may recommend having analgesics, especially if you suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome .
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Exercise Improves Sleep Quality
Regular physical activity reduces the risk of insomnia and helps you get a restful night’s sleep. Studies have shown that getting as little as 10 minutes of aerobic activity per day is enough to significantly improve sleep quality. Cycling, running, and swimming are good options. To make exercise as conducive to sleep as possible, avoid working out within 3 to 4 hours of your bedtime. Mind-body exercises like yoga and tai chi are relaxing to do in the afternoon or evening. They are great for relieving stress and set the stage for you to get good deep sleep.
Take A Vacation From Your Alarm Clock
Want to really identify your individual sleep needs? Try this sleep vacation experiment. To do this, you will need two weeks when you dont have somewhere to be at a specific time in the morning. If you have a flexible job, you can do this any time, or you may have to wait until a vacation.
The experiment requires a little discipline:
1. Pick the same bedtime every night.
2. Turn off your alarm.
3. Record the time you wake up.
Chances are, you will sleep longer during the first few days, because you are catching up on lost sleep, so the first few days of data wont be useful. But over the course of a few weeks, if you stick to the scheduled bedtime and allow yourself to wake up naturally, youll begin to see a pattern emerge of how many hours of sleep your body needs each night.
Once you determine your natural sleep needs, think about the time you need to wake up to get to work or school on time and pick a bedtime that allows you enough sleep to wake up naturally.
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