Having a hard time falling asleep? Looking for techniques to fall asleep faster? Well, you’re not the only one. Falling asleep is a nightmare of its own for a lot of people, (myself included!). But the key to falling asleep faster is getting your mind to switch to shutdown mode, so here are some tips and tricks that will send you on your way to dreamland in a jiff.
Best Techniques to Fall Asleep Easier
1. Have a Regularly Scheduled Bedtime
Your circadian rhythm is your internal clock, which responds to light and darkness and affects you physically, mentally and behaviorally. One of the best ways to regulate your sleep and wake cycle is to get on a schedule.
In other words, hit the hay at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. Set up an alarm if you have to, but make sure to get seven to nine hours of sleep to have more energy during the day. Don’t forget to leave about half an hour to one hour for unwinding and relaxing before bed time. You can’t expect to fall asleep ten minutes after going to bed.
2. Eat Carbs at Night (Yup!)
According to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating one serving of simple carbs like white rice, white bread, pasta, and potatoes four hours before bed time allows people to fall asleep quicker and get a night of more recuperative sleep.
Here are other foods that are high in sleep-promoting chemicals, (such as potassium, magnesium and melatonin!)
- Warm milk
- Chamomile tea
- Fatty Foods
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3. Try the 4-7-8 Breathing Method
Here’s a technique that could help you get to sleep as easy as 1-2-3.
Breathing patterns are known to relax the nervous system, which is why so many people practice breathing methods when they’re feeling stressed. The key to falling asleep is to relax. So, here’s what you need to do:
Step 1 – Place the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth
Step 2 – Make a whoosh sound while exhaling completely through your mouth
Step 3 – Close your mouth and inhale through your nose while mentally counting from 1 to 4.
Step 4 – Hold your breath and count to 7 in your mind
Step 5 – Open your mouth, exhale completely with a whooshing sound and mentally count to 8
Step 6 – Repeat the process three more times (or as many times as you need to calm down)
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4. Get a Mattress That’s Firm Enough
The level of comfort for mattress firmness depends on your age, sleep position, activity level and body type. So, while some people like their mattress soft, others prefer firmer beds. So, find a mattress with a firmness that is right for you.
5. Give the Military Method a Shot
You don’t have to train like a Navy SEAL to do the military method. The technique is an exercise originally designed to help soldiers fall asleep in less than 2 minutes. You can do it, too with the following steps:
Step 1 – Relax the facial muscles in your forehead, your eyes, your cheeks and jaws
Step 2 – Lower your shoulders as far as they’ll go
Step 3 – Relax your arm muscles all the way to your fingertips
Step 4 – Breathe out and feel all of the muscles in your body relax, from your chest to your legs
Step 5 – Envision a relaxing scene for 10 seconds to clear your mind
Step 6 – If envisioning a scene doesn’t work, say, “don’t think, don’t think, don’t think” to yourself for 10 seconds. Then march to your bedroom and lay down.
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6. Don’t Take Long Naps
According to some studies, taking a nap that’s two hours or longer can make it more difficult to fall asleep during bedtime. It doesn’t help if you take a nap closer to bedtime either. This doesn’t mean that a short nap is out of the question, but try to take one that’s no longer than 30 to 40 minutes to improve alertness, without disrupting your sleep cycle.
7. Try Positive Imagery Distraction
When you lay your weary head to rest, your mind often replays moments from the day or an event in the week that caused you stress and anxiety. If this happens to you, try taking your mind on an imaginary vacation, aka, go to your happy place (or one of them). A 2002 study found that imagery distraction allowed insomniacs to de-stress and fall asleep a lot faster.
8. Make Exercise a Part of Your Daily Schedule
Exercise increases the production of serotonin in the brain and decreases the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. But it’s important not to overdo it. Low intensity cardio and moderate exercise works best and can improve the quality of sleep. So, no Hiit training workouts at 10 pm!
9. Sleep on Your Left Side to Avoid Digestive Issues
Sleeping on your side is particularly beneficial for people who snore and suffer from sleep apnea, which disrupts sleep. But evidence suggests that digestive issues are linked with sleeping-related issues, too.
So, try sleeping on your left side. This is believed to help with digestion by allowing food to move through different areas of the colon.
10. Melatonin supplements
Melatonin supplements are quite popular with people who suffer from insomnia or are trying to deal with jetlag. Melatonin does not necessarily knock you out, but helps you relax, feel better and, eventually, fall asleep.
11. Try Drinking Valerian Tea
While there are many calming teas, such as Chamomile, I would suggest for you to try Valerian tea, since it is a stronger option to help you fall asleep faster, to reduce anxiety and even moderate insomnia. This tea does its job and many people replace even drinking melatonin with it.
12. Lavender Oil
Lavender oil is a top choice as a relaxation technique. Aromatherapy has been shown to help others sleep better. It is said that lavender oil can help you improve your sleep quality, and even helps with anxiety and depression.
I personally enjoy to implement this technique while having my essential oil diffusser on.
Lavender also has so many uses that promote health, wellness and relaxation. I would also recommend getting body wash and lotions with lavender since they do help you to relax a lot, especially if you take a shower or bath during the evening.
Bonus: Maybe you want to set up the mood before going to bed by putting on some relaxing zen music, use an eye mask to cover your eyes, put a face mask on, drop some lavender oil on your pillow, drink a cup of any soothing tea that is good for relieving stress and anxiety, such as chamomile, lavender, or peppermint.
Results will vary but, in the end, we hope that some or all of these techniques help you to figure out what works best for you to get some quality sleep! Sweet dreams.