Here’s How to Fall Asleep Quickly
We’ve all had those nights. Hours of sleep are wasted on tossing and turning, struggling to turn off our brains. Falling asleep is difficult for those of us who struggle with sleep disorders, often experience sleep disturbances, or just don’t like going to bed at a good time. You feel sleepy throughout the day, but when it comes time to hit the hay, you’re wide awake. Why? Is there a way to fall asleep faster?
Good quality sleep is incredibly important to our sleep. If you want to improve your sleep, learning how to fall asleep fast is key. The quicker you fall asleep, the better your sleep quality, and the longer you stay in that restful stage of sleep – Stage 3, Non-REM, or “Delta (Slow Wave) Sleep.” Here are our tips for healthy sleep and how to fall asleep quickly.
Get your steps in during the day
Exercise is good for a lot of things: managing our weight, promoting better mental health, reducing our risk of injury, and it’s rather beneficial to healthy sleep as well. If you want improved sleep quality and to fall asleep faster, consider implementing regular exercise. Depending on your physical fitness, that could be anything from a light 30-minute walk to an intensive HIIT session.
Exercise has been proven to boost the production of serotonin in your brain while also decreasing levels of cortisol, otherwise known as the stress hormone.
That being said, while exercise is great for better sleep, too much of a good thing can be bad. If you train excessively or work out late in the day, you could experience more trouble sleeping than you anticipated. Try for moderate to vigorous exercise earlier in the day, take adequate rest, and start slow.
If you need to nap during the day, limit the duration
People who have trouble falling asleep at night often resort to taking power naps throughout the day. This can negatively affect your nighttime sleep quality, resulting in a vicious cycle that prevents you from getting a good night’s rest.
While naps that have a short duration have been linked to an increase in wellbeing and alertness, physicians advise those who have difficulty sleeping at night to cut out the naptime altogether. Regular napping of a duration of 1-2hrs has been proven to poor nighttime sleep quality. If you must nap, do so earlier in the day, and limit the duration of your naps to 20-30 minutes at a time.
If you find yourself craving a nap later in the afternoon, after 3 or 4 pm, try a light, healthy snack instead! This can boost your energy just as much as a nap, and it might just be what your brain needs to power through the rest of the day.
Read up on breathing techniques, mindfulness, meditation, and yoga
If you struggle to shut off your brain before bed, practising some wellness techniques might help you to fall asleep faster. Yoga is a great one. Try your hand at stretches proven to improve sleep, like the wide-knee child’s pose, the standing forward bend, or simply rest your legs on a wall and breathe deeply.
There’s a reason wellness professionals rave about the benefits of mindfulness, meditation, and stretching. Turn on soothing music or ambient sounds, budget 30 minutes before your allotted bedtime, and try one or all of these techniques. If it’s a lot to bear at once, read up on breathing techniques. They’re simple and resemble the benefits of meditation and yoga, but they’re easier to start with. The 4-7-8 breathing method is popular, initially developed by Dr Andrew Weil to promote muscle relaxation and calmness. This is how you do it:
- First, put your tongue tip behind your upper row of front teeth.
- Exhale through your mouth completely.
- Inhale through your nose and close your mouth. Count to 4 in your head.
- Hold your breath and count to 7 in your head.
- Open your mouth, exhale completely, and count to 8 in your head.
This technique is proven to help you relax and fall asleep faster.
Implement a sleep schedule for bedtime and wake-up
The dreaded alarm clock. Many people find that falling asleep is much easier when you do it at about the same time each night. Obviously, there will always be some deviations, but it’s best to roughly stick to the same bedtime to ensure your body can adjust. See, your body functions based on a regulatory system called its “circadian rhythm.” This internal clock cues your body to feel awake and alert throughout the day but sleepy at night.
By going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each day (yes, an alarm clock will help with this at first!) can encourage your body to maintain a regular schedule. Once you’ve adjusted, you may find you won’t even need an alarm clock!
Budget for 7-9 hours each night. This is how many hours of sleep an adult human will need in order to feel refreshed and rejuvenated. A brand new pillow can also make a difference in helping you sleep.
Try to experience daylight and darkness
Did you know that natural daylight and darkness can influence your body’s circadian rhythm? By exposing your body to bright light during the day (and first thing in the morning), you’ll be much more alert when you need to be. When it starts to get dark, you’ll feel sleepier.
This is because darkness boosts the natural production of melatonin in your body, which is essential for sleep. If you have trouble falling asleep, it could be due to the lack of melatonin production in your body. Dim the lights a little if it’s starting to get late. Avoid screens and artificial light.
It’s easy to get into the habit of struggling to fall asleep fast, losing out on precious hours and being forced to compensate for them during the daytime or, worse, feeling groggy and unproductive. We hope these tips have helped you fall asleep faster and improve your sleep quality!