How to Fall Asleep Faster at Night
Wondering how to fall asleep faster at night? We’ve got some simple tips to help you get the quality sleep you deserve and reduce the time spent tossing and turning. Many of us experience problems getting a good night’s rest, and staying asleep at night. But, sleep is essential for both physical and mental health. Let’s take a look at what you can do.
How to fall asleep fast
- Practice deep breathing
- Improve your sleep environment
- Lower the temperature
- Regulate light exposure
- Block out all noise
- Practice mindfulness meditation
- Read a book
- Listen to calming music
- Change up sleep position
- Don’t look at the clock
- Avoid long naps
- Reduce caffeine intake
- Give aromatherapy a try
- Prepare your body for sleep
- Don’t look at your phone
- Avoid exercise right before bed
- Have a bath
- Manage your stress
- Keep it pitch black
- Trick your brain
- Eat carbs at night
- Practice visulisation1
Ways to fall asleep faster
It’s important to note that you don’t have to try all of these at once, but you do have options when it comes to falling asleep fast. There are many things you can try, so let’s take a look at some top tips that have helped others struggling to get to sleep.
1 - Practice deep breathing
Breathing exercises can be a useful tool to help you reduce the feelings of stress and anxiety, encouraging your body relax at nighttime and therefore allowing you to drift off2.
There are different methods you can try, including:
- 4-7-8 breathing: inhaling through your nose to a count of four, holding this and counting to seven, exhaling while making a ‘whooshing’ sound and counting to eight
- Abdominal breathing: deep breathing into the abdomen, rather than shallow breathing in the chest – place your hand on your stomach to ensure you’re breathing through your diaphragm
- Counting while breathing: Counting from one to ten and then backward from ten to one, pairing the counts with your exhales
Focusing on your breath can help you get to sleep, but it can take a while to get used to, so be patient with yourself and stick with it. It can be a good idea to close your eyes to shut out all distractions.3
2 - Improve your sleep environment
Never underestimate the importance of promoting a healthy sleep environment. You want to create a space that encourages you to drift off. Some ideas include:
- Upgrading your mattress
- Decluttering your bedroom
- Getting new sheets
- Buying a comfier pillow
3 - Lower the temperature
While it varies person to person, the best bedroom temperature for sleep is 18.3 degrees Celsius.4 This is recommended for the most comfortable sleep.
Our core body temperature is around 37 degrees Celsius, fluctuating throughout the night. The drop in temperature starts about two hours before you go to sleep, coinciding with the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. So, tossing and turning in a room that’s too hot might be the culprit of your lack of sleep; try ensuring the room is properly ventilated, or get a lighter duvet.
4 - Regulate light exposure
Light exposure influences your body clock, regulating how alert or tired you feel. This circadian clock plays a physical and mental role that responds to both light and dark, regulating a number of functions, including the sleep cycle.5
Irregular light exposure can disrupt this, so make sure you expose yourself to as much natural, or artificial light throughout the day, while ensuring you sleep in darkness.
5 - Block out all noise
Make sure you’re sleeping in a quiet environment so you’re not distracted by noise. It can be difficult, particularly if you’re near a main road (for example), but many people find ear plugs helpful.
6 - Practice mindfulness meditation
Mindfulness meditation is practiced widely all across the world and can help promote relaxation. We can all be more mindful in our everyday life; it’s too easy to get caught up in the rush, but slowing down and paying more attention can help us destress.
Mindfulness meditation needs no equipment and can be done at any time of the day, but can be particularly useful if you struggle to sleep. The goal is to observe the moment as it is, bringing your mind back whenever it gets distracted and focusing on breathing, to promote a sense of calm.6
7 - Read a book
Some studies have found that reading before bed could help you relax significantly and reduce stress.7 This is because it distracts your mind from daily tensions, stresses and worries, providing a form of escapism. It also helps your muscles relax and slows your breathing down.
8 - Listen to calming music
Music helps you feel relaxed and at ease, therefore it can help you sleep. One reason for this is that some studies suggest music enhances sleep because of its effects on the regulation of hormones, which includes the stress hormone cortisol.8 High levels of this hormone have been shown to promote alertness and therefore interfere with sleep.
9 - Change up sleep position
There are many out there, but the main sleeping positions are either on your back, front, or side. While some prefer to mix it up, many of us have a favourite. However, each sleeping position has different benefits and if you’re in pain, or have other health conditions, you may have to switch it up. Your sleeping position also plays a big role in the quality of your sleep,9 which is another reason change could be a good thing.
10 - Don’t look at the clock
Find yourself staring at the clock, stressed about how late it is and wondering why you’re not falling asleep yet? The solution is simple: hide the alarm clock! Allowing yourself to feel calm will help improve overall sleep quality.
11 - Avoid long naps
While a 20-minute power nap can be beneficial, napping can negatively impact nighttime sleep. Longer naps can lead you to feel groggy also. Also, try not to nap after 3pm if possible, as this can also interfere with your rest at night.10
12 - Reduce caffeine intake
here are some short-term benefits to caffeine, it can also impact the onset of sleep, as well as reducing the time spent asleep, efficiency, and satisfaction levels.11
It’s recommended you limit caffeine intake, cutting it out completely at least 3 hours before bed. One study even found that caffeine consumed 6 hours before bed can significantly disturb sleep.12
13 - Give aromatherapy a try
While it’s not for everyone, aromatherapy involves the use of essential oils and can be effective at improving sleep quality. For example, the scent of lavender has been shown to have a positive effect.
14 - Prepare your body for sleep
Help your body wind down by avoiding
- Big meals
right before bed, as they can prevent deep sleep.13 Try and break any unhealthy patterns of behaviour that could be preventing you from sleeping and prepare your body for sleep instead.
15 - Don’t look at your phone
Your phone, laptop and electronics in general should be avoided before bed. This is because they:
- Tend to delay the time you actually go to sleep and spend asleep
- Cause unwanted disruptions e.g. buzzing, flashing or other sounds
- Affect the brain: stimulating your mind and making it harder to fall asleep
- Emit blue light that disrupts the natural production of melatonin, a hormone that facilitates sleep, throwing off your circadian rhythm14
16 - Avoid exercise right before bed
Regular exercise is good for sleep, so you should do more of it where possible. However, avoid doing anything too vigorous right before bed, as it stimulates your nervous system and raises heart rate, making it difficult to fall asleep.15
17 - Have a bath
Are you a fan of having hot baths? Good news – one study found that taking a hot bath around 90 minutes before bed could help people fall asleep more quickly.16 The hot water helps change your body’s core temperature, signaling to your body it’s time for bed. It can also help you relax.
18 - Manage your stress
Stress and sleep have a complicated relationship, with one negatively impacting the other. Lack of sleep affects the body in many ways, with one of them being increasing stress levels. What’s more, when stressed, it’s harder to fall asleep. So, while it can be easier said than done, try to manage your concerns and anxieties. This could be by confiding in someone you trust, for example.
19 - Keep it pitch black
As mentioned, light helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle. Darkness helps promote melatonin, a hormone which helps us fall asleep. So, try to block out as much light as possible, including turning off any lamps, electronics and getting black-out blinds if possible.
20 - Trick your brain
We’ve all been here: trying to force ourselves to fall asleep to no avail. So, why not try the opposite? One study found that purposely not trying to fall asleep while lying in bed resulted in reduced sleep effort and anxiety for insomniacs, when compared to doing nothing at all.17 Tell yourself you’re going to stay awake – not sleep. This paradoxical intention takes the focus off sleep itself, which can make it easier to drift off.
21 - Eat carbs at night
Eating carbs (such as rice, bread and pasta) four hours before bed can help people fall asleep faster and sleep better.
22 - Practice visulisation
Visulisation can be a useful tool for relaxing and unwinding, as well as falling asleep. It allows you to focus on calming images, such as the ocean or walking in the mountains.18 Try to do this a few minutes before bed every night.
Make sleep a priority
A good night’s sleep is as important for our health as good nutrition. Plus, having trouble falling asleep is not only frustrating, but can negatively impact the body and mind. Luckily, there are many techniques you can try to help you fall asleep quicker, improve sleep quality and hopefully give you more energy during the day.
- 20 Simple Tips That Help You Fall Asleep Quickly – Healthline
- 7 Breathing Exercises for Better Sleep – VeryWellMind
- The 9 Best Breathing Techniques for Sleep – Healthline
- The Best Temperature for Sleep – Sleep Foundation
- What Are Biological Rhythms? – Healthline
- Getting Started with Mindfulness – Mindful
- What Does Reading Before Bed Do To An Adult’s Brain? – Dreams
- Music and Sleep – Sleep Foundation
- Best Sleeping Positions for a Good Night’s Sleep – Healthline
- Napping: Do’s and don’ts for healthy adults – Mayo Clinic
- Caffeine and Sleep – Sleep Foundation
- Caffeine Effects on Sleep Taken 0, 3, or 6 Hours before Going to Bed – JCSM
- How to fall asleep faster and sleep better – NHS
- Technology in the Bedroom – Sleep Foundation
- Can Exercising Before Bed Affect Your Sleep? – Healthline
- Having Trouble Sleeping? Try a Hot Bath Before Bed – Healthline
- How to Fall Asleep Fast (in Five Minutes or Less) – Ameri Sleep
- Using visualization to relax and sleep better – UNR