If you feel like you’re spending too much time trying to fall asleep rather than sleeping, you’re not alone. Many people struggle with this problem and end up having less quality sleep as a result. One of the primary causes of this issue is the fact that we all try too hard to fall asleep on time. This puts us into a vicious cycle of nerve-racking, anxious energy that keeps us awake when we should be letting our minds rest.
We’ll get into the specifics below, but the critical thing to remember is that there are things you can do during the day, before going to bed or when you are already there, in order to fall asleep faster and give yourself more quality sleep. We’ve listed fifteen of these methods below, and we’re confident at least a few of them can make a big difference for your sleep schedule, so read on.
Invest in a Good Quality Mattress
The average person spends about a third of their life in bed. When it comes to rejuvenating your body and mind, there is nothing as efficient as a good night’s sleep. It helps your mind and body recover in the areas of learning, memory, immunity, restoration, and growth. If you think about the fact that you will spend so much time lying in bed, and that sleep is one of the most crucial factors in remaining healthy and youthful, it’s really easy to understand why you should be spending that time on the best mattresses. If you’re a side sleeper, invest in a mattress for side sleepers. The same applies if you prefer other positions, so take a look at mattresses for stomach sleepers or combination sleepers accordingly.
Exercise During the Day
If good sleep is the best thing, you can do for your body and mind, working out is a very close second. Many people think that the positions are reversed with exercise leading the way, and there’s an argument to be had in that regard. However, since we’re a website that focuses on the matter of sleep and the importance of sleep cycles, you could say that we’re a little biased.
We still think exercise is hugely important, though, but you should be careful about working out late since that could interfere with your schedule as well. Getting a bit of aerobic exercise during the day will improve your sleep quality immensely and give you more hours of deep sleep. This will give your mind and body a chance to recover.
Get on a Schedule
Constantly changing the time you go to bed and wake up can leave you feeling groggy and confused throughout the week, so what you need is a regular sleep schedule. Simply pick a time to wake-up and stick to it to the best of your ability. This will lead to you going to bed at a similar time every night naturally. If it doesn’t, feel free also to set an evening alarm that reminds you that it’s time to go to sleep.
Ideally, you want to get anywhere between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. Although nine hours is admittedly difficult to achieve, you can consistently reach more than seven if you schedule it correctly.
Cool Your Room
The temperature of your bedroom might not have been something you’ve worried about much, except during the summer months. During that period, we all try everything we can to get close to being comfortable despite the blistering heat. What most people don’t even consider is that it could be beneficial to keep your bedroom cool throughout the year.
On top of the fact that this will improve the quality of your sleep, it has also been shown to slow down the aging process as well as prevent disease. It doesn’t get much better than that, and all it takes is letting the room get a few degrees colder. Consider investing in a cooling mattress as well if you tend to sleep hot.
Hide Your Clock
How often do you wake up in the middle of the night? Unless you need to go to the bathroom, probably your first instinct in this situation is to check the clock. If you’ve ever done this, you know that knowing what time it somehow only makes the situation worse. It’s probably because you’re already worried about not getting enough sleep.
You immediately get into the process of calculating how many hours you have left before your morning alarm goes off. The anxiety and stress related to these calculations, as well as your brain activity required for them, hurt your ability to go back to sleep.
Don’t Use Electronics Before Bedtime
If you’re like ninety percent of people in the United States, you routinely look at some sort of screen within an hour before going to bed. You might even think that this helps you relax and go to sleep smoother. Unfortunately, this kind of thinking could not be further from the truth. Using technology before bed makes it harder for your brain to settle down and harder for you to get quality sleep.
The blue light emitted by these devices is physiologically and psychologically stimulating, creating an adverse effect. Using a blue-light filter on your phone or computer will help to an extent, but the best thing you could do is initiate a digital curfew at least thirty minutes before bed.
Use “4-7-8” Breathing Method
The “4-7-8” breathing method was developed by Dr. Andrew Weil and is based on ‘pranayama’ – an ancient yoga breathing technique which gives you the ability to control your breath. This technique has been shown to help people fall asleep within a shorter period if practiced regularly and accurately.
Also known as the “relaxing breath technique,” this method involves taking four seconds to breathe in, holding your breath for seven seconds, and taking another eight seconds to exhale. Even though the scientific research supporting this method is limited, there is enough anecdotal evidence to warrant giving it a shot.
This might sound like the biggest oxymoron you’ve ever seen. How does one practice relaxation? The very concepts seem to contradict each other but bear with us for a second. Practicing relaxation can refer to a bunch of different things. You can start with something as simple as taking a hot shower or getting comfortable with a book before bed to help you relax.
Most people don’t realize that relaxing is not the same as doing nothing. Sometimes it’s a good idea to focus on doing exactly what you find most relaxing. If you’ve never tried meditating, maybe it’s time to start – there are many apps and videos out there that could guide you through the process.
Listen to Relaxing Music
One of the relaxation techniques you can use before bed to wind down is listening to soothing music each night. There’s a reason why lullabies work so well with babies, and even though you are an adult now, your brain can still feel the calming effect of a lovely tune.
Studies have shown that music can boost sleep quantity as well as quality for people with sleep disorders, although the benefits rarely happen overnight. As with anything worthwhile, it can take some time to see a tangible improvement, but it doesn’t hurt to try it for a few weeks.
Reading in bed is often listed as one of the most enjoyable and easiest ways to get a good night’s sleep. Cognitive neuropsychologist at the University of Sussex – Dr. David Lewis would agree with this assessment. His study found that getting comfy with your favorite book is probably the best way to get sleepy.
Reading a good book before bedtime can reduce stress levels by up to 68 percent, according to Dr. Lewis’ research. This is a higher number than any associated with other types of nighttime rituals, like going for a walk, sipping tea, or even listening to relaxing music.
Wear Socks to Bed
Humans have focused on keeping their feet warm in bed for centuries. We’ve done things like having our dogs sleep at our feet of putting a bottle of hot water at the end of the bed. It turns out we’ve always had the right idea, according to science, but there’s a more straightforward way of achieving this goal – simply wearing socks.
Without delving too deep into the science of it, we can say that scientists have determined that wearing socks to bed helps your body maintain constant body temperature throughout the night. This process is called thermoregulation. If your body doesn’t do it correctly, you can have problems with hot flashes and night sweats, disrupting your sleep.
Choose A Good Sleeping Position
Which sleeping position is best has been a hotly debated topic for a long time, and one everybody seems to have an opinion about. It is no secret that everyone has a favorite sleeping position, and it is also true that each position has its benefits.
However, if you are experiencing issues with sleep, or you wake up in pain, it might be time to consider switching to a different pose. Most scientists agree that sleeping on your back is the most beneficial in terms of health since it allows your spine, neck, and hips to remain in a neutral position. If you’re considering making the switch, you might want to take a look at a mattress for back sleepers.
Adjust the Thermostat
As we mentioned earlier, the temperature of your bedroom may be a crucial factor when it comes to getting quality sleep. If you’re too hot or too cold, you could run into some trouble. For some people, the acceptable temperature range is more extensive, while for others, it is quite narrow. You might not even realize that your room’s temperature has been holding you back all along.
Experts generally agree that the ideal bedroom temperature is somewhere between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Go much lower or higher than that with your temperature setting, and you could induce restlessness and adversely affect your sleep quality.
Get Up if You Can’t Sleep
Sometimes you will have taken all the necessary steps and done the best planning, but sleep will still refuse to come. You might find yourself staring at the ceiling for an extended period trying your hardest to catch some shut-eye.
When this happens, and it will happen, don’t spend too much time in your bed. If you haven’t fallen asleep after about twenty minutes, get up and leave your bedroom. This will ensure that your subconscious brain associates your bedroom with sleep, making it more likely to trigger a ‘sleep response’ when you’re there.
See a Doctor
Finally, if all else fails, you might have a psychological or physical problem that prevents you from sleeping. This is what we call a sleep disorder and it can lead to a laundry list of issues ranging from increased drowsiness throughout the day to much more severe problems caused by a lack of sleep.
If you’ve just been having trouble with sleep for a few days, it’s not time to panic just yet. However, if you experience difficulty sleeping regularly and find yourself tired throughout most days, it might be a good idea to talk to your doctor about this.
Proper sleep is necessary for your health. There are no two ways about it. Sleep is often brushed aside as an obstacle to one’s path to success. Some famously successful people even explicitly tell you that the secret to their wealth is sleeping five or six hours per night. This type of advice is dangerous, and this type of behavior can lead to some severe consequences. Our bodies and minds need sleep to be able to operate at the maximum of their potential. Getting the right kind of sleep is incredibly significant, and not all rest is created equal.
Unfortunately, falling asleep quickly takes more than merely deciding to sleep more. Short-term insomnia can not only be frustrating but cause a bunch of physical and mental problems. The techniques listed above should hopefully help you fall asleep faster and sleep better, which will lead to you having more energy throughout the day.