You want to know how to fall asleep faster? So do I. Honestly, for years I’ve had trouble sleeping. If you are not one of those who fall asleep after just 5 seconds in bed, these tips might help you to fall asleep a little faster and even sleep better. I focused on providing realistic tips that might improve your sleeping habits.
Possible causes of sleep deprivation
To solve a problem we need to understand it first. So let’s take a look and then counteract those causes.
Clearly, stress in life often keeps us from falling asleep. We can’t think of sleeping as long as our head buzzes and the thoughts always drift away to that exam you just failed, the bad sales numbers from last year, the big red numbers in your bank account or your relationship, where nothing seems to go right at the moment.
During the day everything’y fine, but as soon as your body doesn’t have to work and be focused on so many different and important things anymore, there’s enough room in your head for all those thoughts. And that’s it- falling asleep just got postponed. For one hour, two hours, maybe even longer.
At least that’s how I often feel: I didn’t do all of my chores, didn’t answer that one mail that would have been important for business or didn’t call my mum. Now Im lying in bed and everything I wanted to do during the day is now more present in mind than ever.
Not being tired
Sometimes I’m just not tired when I should be. Maybe it was the green tea I drank late in the afternoon or the screen I stared at for too long. Whatever it was, I just can’t fall asleep, although I so badly want to.
Why is sleep so important?
Sleep is incredibly important. During sleep our body regenerates (faster), wounds heal and sicknesses are cured faster. Sleep is also super important for your mental health. The brain organizes what has happened during the day so we stay healthy. It puts it in boxes, lets some thoughts stay up on the surface and some stuff just sinks down into our subconscious. That’s why we wake up with a fresh mind if our sleep is of good quality.
All those little things play very well together, muscles regenerate, we get new energy and wake up kind of newly born.
Melatonin – responsible for it all
Melatonin is a hormone that is produced by our bodies to correctly set our sleep pattern. When it’s dark our body produces more of it, that’s why it is probably helpful if your day is bright and your night is really dark. This way you don’t have too much melatonin in your body during the day, but enough during the night to have a good sleep.
Too little sleep?
Too little sleep can lead to difficulties concentrating, fatigue, headache or exhaustion, as well as it might be extremely dangerous for body and mind, in the long run. The immune system suffers, as well as the cardiovascular system. Even the probability for heart stokes can rise with too little sleep.
What can you do to fall asleep faster and sleep better?
So, what can you do? Over the years I have found out and tried out some very helpful tips and tricks. I’ll show you the best ones in a second. Not all of them might work out for you, but I’m positive they at least pose a helpful overview on the topic.
What helps most is trying to follow all of my steps at once. (Apart from the sleeping drops, which I can’t “prescribe” as I’m no medical advisor.)
How to fall asleep – 10 Tips
1. Sleep pattern. Try to find out what’s your natural sleep pattern. It does not matter WHEN you go to bed. What’s important to know is the following: The first part of your sleep is the most healthy and most important one. That is why 20 minute power napping works so well.
Try to find out how your sleep pattern works best. You can probably estimate how many hours are best for you, just by experience. In my experience, this usually ranges between 6 and 8 hours for young adults. This is already the first step. The second, and more difficult one, is to always go to sleep at the same time.
So you shouldn’t suddenly shift your rhythm by 2 or 3 hours, it will mess with your body. The body can get used to just about anything as long as the basics are right. So, yes, the body can work with going to bed at 3am and waking up 6 hours later, and the next day going to bed at 12pm and sleeping for 8 hours. But you probably won’t ever feel REALLY relaxed and well-rested. So, why not give the body what actually feels best?
Having an hour too little or too much, changing every night, can leave you tired and unrested. Having a constant rhythm helps your body and mind tremendously to rest and get used to falling asleep. Also important: When you are awake you should get enough daylight, when you sleep it should be especially dark.
2. No Screens. One of the most important points and one that is difficult to stick to these days. The problem is simply that light in general, but the cold blue screen light in particular, prevents the body from producing melatonin. But melatonin is the reason why we get tired. So try not to look at any more screens an hour before going to sleep.
3. Read real books. The best alternative to fall asleep faster is to read a book and simply leave your phone somewhere away from your bed. Just try it once and you’ll notice how the tiredness sets in way faster. With an interesting story in the back of your mind, it also makes dreaming a lot easier.
“My night belongs to me.”
4. Drink Tea. One or two cups of warming herbal tea often create a cosy feeling in the evening. I drink tea all the time anyway, so there is no extra effort. Everything that calms the stomach calms the rest of the body, I assume. If you are looking for something calming, here is a short recipe that I like to use:
Sleeping Tea, 100g:
30g valerian root, 25g passion flower herb, 20g lemon balm leaves, 10g liquorice root, 5g peppermint, 5g yarrow, 5g chamomile flowers
You can get teas mixed in some pharmacies the way you want. Why don’t you try my recipe and tell me how it helps?
5. Exercise and sports. One thing is clear: if you work out and use energy naturally through your muscles, you will be more tired in the evening and will be able to fall asleep comfortably. I don’t have to explain how important sport is for the body anyway, but even for falling asleep it helps a lot to be active. Even on a lazy day- try to at least go for a short walk.
6. Don’t eat too late. Food feels almost always just heavy in the stomach when you’re trying to sleep. But when digestion has already started, it’s much easier to fall asleep. Aim for 1 hour of not eating before sleeping.
7. Enough Light/good air supply during the day/dark nights. As I mentioned above, during daylight the production of melatonin is reduced and we get into a healthy bio-rhythm, feel more alert and better. Oxygen is generally a good fatigue-killer, so air your bedroom especially well before going to bed.
8. No mobile phone / laptop / TV in the bedroom. That’s a tip worth trying. Leave your electronic devices in the kitchen. Honestly; they’re just distracting. I know, almost all of us have our cell phones on the bedside table and check the screen last thing in the evening and first thing in the morning. Not to mention that I hate being dependent on anything, it’s just incredibly distracting and also prevents me from falling asleep. How often do your thoughts wander to your mobile phone, thinking about whether you can quickly check something or write back to your friend? Simply no. My night belongs to me.
9. Red light. Quick tip: Very warm light, which contains more red light waves, does not hinder melatonin production as much as cold blue light. I have a paper lamp, for example, whose shade I painted orange-yellow. The light is incredibly pleasant for reading, and you get tired more easy.
10. Sleeping drops. If nothing helps at all, try using natural sleep drops. There are alcoholic solutions or even tablets with valerian root and other similar ingredients, like in my tea from above. You take these an hour before going to bed and you will simply get a little tired. But sometimes they don’t help at all – I haven’t really found that out yet.
I really hope these tips will help you fall asleep faster and better. I found it best to stop using screens in the evening (about an hour before going to bed) and just read in a comfortable light. This works wonders. Add a cup of tea and everything should work out fine. If you need to work on your laptop longer, try stopping half an hour before you go to bed and read a book for the last half hour, have a cup of tea or do some yoga.
If you have really bad problems with falling asleep, do not hesitate to consult your doctor. Nowadays, an extremely large number of people suffer from sleep problems, unfortunately this is relatively normal in these modern times. Be open about it and take yourself and your body and mind seriously. Then everything will be fine again.