How to Fall Asleep Faster
Tossing and turning in bed, trying to fall asleep but just not being able to.
It can be frustrating and even a little bit scary.
You’re not alone. In fact, 60% of adults have trouble falling asleep at least a few nights per week.
So what can you do about it?
In this post, we’ll share with you some of our favorite falling asleep tips and tricks.
Table of Contents
Why you should fall asleep quickly
The purpose of falling asleep quickly is to give the body the rest it needs to stay healthy and function properly. Sleep plays a crucial role in repairing cells, regulating hormones, and forming memories, as well as helping the body fight illnesses and infections.
To maximize the benefits of sleep, it is important to create an environment that is conducive to sleep and it is important to go to bed only when feeling sleepy in order to optimize the onset of sleep. With practice, it is possible to learn how to fall asleep in less than two minutes.
However, if you find yourself falling asleep too easily and struggling to stay awake during the day, it may be time to visit a sleep specialist. Falling asleep too quickly can be a sign that you are not getting enough sleep, which can lead to serious health and mental health issues if left untreated.
What causes insomnia and how to deal with it?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that can be caused by many different factors. It is characterized by difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, and feeling rested after sleeping.
Common causes of insomnia include stress, anxiety, stimulant medications, alcohol consumption, sleep apnea, and delayed sleep phase syndrome. In order to address insomnia, it’s important to first identify the cause. Once that is done, various solutions can be employed to help the individual fall asleep faster and stay asleep for longer. These include
- lifestyle changes such as avoiding stimulants and alcohol in the evening
- relaxation techniques like Yoga Nidra or breathing exercises, deep pressure acitivities.
Certain medications may be prescribed for certain causes of insomnia, such as OTC melatonin for delayed sleep phase syndrome.
Creating a sleep-conducive environment can also be beneficial. It is important to address any underlying anxiety or stress that might be causing the insomnia, like a tootpain or trying to sleep in a moving car during a vacation.
The best tips and tricks for falling asleep fast
1. Establish a Consistent Sleep Schedule
Establishing a consistent sleep schedule helps someone fall asleep faster by regulating their internal clock, also known as the circadian rhythm. It is a good idea to determine your chronotype. Going to bed and waking up within the same two-hour window every day reinforces the circadian rhythm, making it easier to feel tired and fall asleep at night.
Avoiding too long naps and engaging in relaxation activities such as reading and mindfulness before bed can help to create a regular routine that will train the body to recognize when it is time to sleep. Proper sleep hygiene and light exposure during the day also play a role in helping to establish a healthy sleep schedule.
2. Use a Sleep Aid If Needed
Yes, it is acceptable to use a sleep aid if you’re having trouble falling asleep. Melatonin, which is available over-the-counter, is a safe option to try at low doses. Other medications, such as those containing diphenhydramine or doxylamine, may be effective but may have higher risks of side effects and should only be used for a few weeks.
If sleep aid is needed for a longer period of time, it is recommended to speak with a board-certified sleep physician and receive cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTI).
3. Create a Bedtime Routine
Creating a consistent bedtime routine can help you fall asleep faster by setting your internal body clock so you know when to wind down for the night. By having a simple nightly ritual that is tailored to your self-care preferences and repeating it over and over, your brain will make an association between the activity and the fact that it indicates that it’s time for sleep.
By going to bed and waking up around the same time every day, your circadian rhythm will adapt to the pattern. The best time to go to sleep is at 10pm and consistency is key.
4. Get Enough Sunlight During the Day
Getting enough sunlight during the day can help you fall asleep faster by resetting your body clock and regulating your circadian rhythm. Exposure to natural daylight suppresses the secretion of melatonin, which helps you to sleep.
Reducing your exposure to bright light in the evening signals to your body and mind that it’s time to start winding down for sleep. To get the most out of sunlight exposure, aim to get outside for a few minutes each day and shut down devices at least an hour before bed. Installing light-blocking curtains can also help to minimize LED light emissions and distractions, and going to bed and waking up at the same time each day can help to maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Aim for seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night.
5. Practice Mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness or meditation can help you fall asleep faster by calming the mind and promoting relaxation. This is done by focusing on the breath, a mantra, or a phrase and allowing thoughts to pass through the mind without losing focus.
Mindfulness meditation can also help reduce anxiety, which can often disrupt sleep, and engage the body’s natural relaxation response. The 4-7-8 method, popularized by Dr. Andrew Weil, is a type of meditation that helps to relax the body and mind. By practicing meditation and mindfulness regularly, people can improve their sleep quality and allow themselves to fall asleep more quickly.
6. Practice Meditation
Practicing meditation can help you fall asleep faster by allowing the body to engage its natural relaxation response, calming the mind and promoting relaxation. By taking time before bed to meditate, you can clear your mind of the stresses of the day and focus on the present moment.
Research has shown that focusing on the breath and using mantras, visualizations, and body scans can help engage the body’s relaxation response, allowing you to drift off to sleep sooner. Additionally, guided meditations and imagery can help calm the senses and create a mental image of peace and happiness, which can further aid in the process of falling asleep.
7. Use a White Noise Machine
Using a white noise machine can help you fall asleep faster by masking other noises in the environment and providing a sense of calm and relaxation. Evidence suggests that a white noise machine can help with sleep quality, reducing sleep onset latency by up to 38%. White noise can help restless sleepers settle into bed and fall asleep faster, as the noise drowns out distracting sounds. The ambient noise of white noise is evenly spread across the sound spectrum and can be combined with other popular relaxing sounds such as rain, instrumental music, and guided meditation. By that way that is the reason why you sleep better when it rains.
8. The Military Method to fall asleep
The Military Method is a technique developed to help soldiers, and now anyone else, achieve sleep in two minutes or less. It entails a muscle relaxation, breathing and mental visualization techniques that have been proven to help people fall asleep faster and more efficiently.
- Get into a comfortable position. Either lie down or sit up, but make sure you are in a position where you can relax.
- Close your eyes and deeply inhale and exhale slowly. Gradually, relax every facial muscle, starting with the forehead and gradually working their way downwards. Everything should be relaxed, including the mouth, tongue, cheeks, and jaw.
- Relax your neck and traps. Then progressively relax your biceps, forearms, and hands, starting with the top of your right arm and repeating on the opposite side. Throughout this process continue to breathe deeply and slowly.
- Relax your chest as you exhale. This should be easy if you’ve already relaxed your shoulders and arms.
- Relax your legs, starting with your right thigh and then your foot, ankle, and calf. Make sure to repeat the same process with your left leg.
- Clear your thoughts and imagine a peaceful, soothing activity if you find it difficult to not think about anything. Picture yourself peacefully snoozing in the dark.
- Repeat these steps until you feel yourself relax and fall asleep.
Remember that consistency is key. The more frequently you practice this military method, the better your body will be trained to relax, even if it doesn’t initially help you fall asleep more quickly.
The visualization part of the technique then involves picturing yourself lying in a dark room on a couch or bed and imagining a peaceful setting, such as beautiful countryside, a quiet lake, or a cozy room. If intrusive thoughts come up, you should recognize them and try to move beyond them.
9. Use The 4-7-8 Method
The 4-7-8 method is a type of meditation that can help people relax and fall asleep faster. It involves breathing deeply and slowly, focusing on counting with each breath. To practice the 4-7-8 method,
- Lay down in bed, relax your tongue and rest it on the roof of your mouth
- Slowly exhale through your mouth, completely emptying your lungs
- Then, breath in through your nose for four seconds
- Hold your breath for seven seconds
- Exhale for eight seconds
Repeat this process at least four times. This technique is based on Pranayama, a traditional yoga technique, and research supports that it can ease anxiety and lull people into a state of calm, helping them to fall asleep faster. When the 4-7-8 method does not work for you, you should try other calming techniques.
10. Don’t Worry If You Don’t Fall Asleep Instantly
If you’re having trouble falling asleep fast, there are some steps you can take to try to make it easier. Start by
- setting up a sleep-friendly environment
- Drink some water,
- read a book using ambient lighting,
- challenge yourself to keep your eyes open in the dark.
- avoid consuming caffeine or alcohol before bed, as this can make it harder to fall asleep.
Lastly, if you find yourself lying awake in the middle of the night and not falling asleep after 15 minutes, get up and do something else. This could be a brain or hands-on activity such as a puzzle or coloring book.
Don’t try to stay awake and watch Netflix as this won’t help you fall asleep faster. If all else fails, try something counterintuitive—try not to fall asleep and then watch sleep come to you.
11. Visualisation techniques
Visualisation techniques are an effective way to help people fall asleep faster. These techniques involve imagining a peaceful and happy scene or image in your head that will make you feel relaxed and calm.
Research from the University of Oxford suggests that engaging in imagery distraction can help people fall asleep faster.
My own example: using an imagery aroud being in space, floating among the stars works extremely well for me.
Other examples of imagery you can use can include walking on a beach, floating in the ocean, laying by a babbling brook, or watching the sunset.
When practicing imagery visualization, you should focus on the details of the image, such as the smell, sound, and sensation of the image – like the sensation of the sun on your skin.
12. Avoid napping for longer than 26 minutes
How long can you nap and still sleep well? Generally, it is best to avoid taking naps during the day if you want to fall asleep faster at night. If you absolutely must take a nap, try to do it early in the day and keep it short.
NASA has done some research, the perfect length for a nap is 26 minutes. This “power nap” provides the rest we need for the remainder of the day.
Naps lasting longer than 26 minutes, especially if taken in the late afternoon or evening, can disrupt your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, making it harder to fall asleep at night and may result in grogginess when you wake.
13. Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR)
Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is an effective relaxation technique that has been used for nearly a century to help people relax and manage stress and anxiety. It involves tensing and then relaxing different muscle groups throughout your body, starting at the head and working your way down to your toes. As you proceed through each muscle group, focus on the release of tension with each breath, and allow yourself up to 30 seconds to relax.
There is plenty of scientific evidence that suggests PMR can reduce feelings of pain and help people with certain conditions (such as fibromyalgia and cancer) to sleep. It may also help people with insomnia to get to sleep, although it is not as effective as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) approaches for insomnia.
The 4-7-8 method of breathing can be used to help set the stage for PMR, as it is believed to promote tranquility throughout your body. To practice PMR, begin by tensing the muscles of your forehead for 5-15 seconds and then releasing your muscles whilst breathing out gently.
Work your way through different areas of muscle, tensing and releasing from neck, shoulder, arms, trunk, hands, legs, feet, toes… all the way down your body. Once you have worked through all the major muscle groups, lay in this relaxed position until you doze off to sleep.
14. Fall asleep faster with weighted blanket
Sleeping with a weighted blanket can help people fall asleep faster due to its pressure therapy, which helps create a calming effect and stimulates the release of serotonin in the brain. The ideal weight of the blanket should be around 10% of the person’s body weight, as this level of pressure helps people feel relaxed without feeling too restricted.
Additionally, comfort levels in bed are important for a good night’s sleep, as a mattress that is too firm or a pillow that is not providing the right support can hinder a person’s ability to fall asleep fast. A cool room temperature can also help people fall asleep faster, as it encourages the person to curl up under a blanket to create a warm “microclimate” around the body that accelerates the process of falling asleep.
15. The 10-3-2-1 Method
The 10-3-2-1 Method is a sleep optimization technique developed by Dr. Peter Tierney, a performance coach and researcher. This method is designed to help people fall asleep quickly and efficiently by limiting activities in the hour before bedtime.
The 10-3-2-1 code stands for limitations before bedtime which is said to help shut off the body’s production of stress hormones, enabling us to relax and drift off to sleep quickly. The 10-3-2-1 Method, along with other techniques such as the 4-7-8 method and the Military Method, can be beneficial for those who struggle to fall asleep quickly or have difficulty managing stress.
|Time before bed||Limit|
|10 hours before bedtime||no more caffeine|
|3 hours before bedtime||no more eating and alcohol|
|2 hours before bedtime||no more work|
|1 hours before bedtime||no more blue screen|
Strange, but you even can improve your vagal tone by sleeping on your right side.
Treating Insomnia with EMDR
Studies shown that EMDR can aid in treating insomnia by helping to process traumatic PTSD memories and reducing the emotional charge of the trauma. This integrative process works by repeatedly redirecting attention during EMDR sessions, which brings about a neurobiological state similar to REM sleep.
In this state, traumatic and emotionally charged memories can be processed and converted into more ordinary, neutral memories. As this process occurs, the power of the traumatic memories and their associated negative emotions are reduced, which in turn helps to reduce symptoms of insomnia and help you fall asleep faster.
What relaxation techniques can help me fall asleep faster?
Relaxation techniques that can help you fall asleep faster include meditation, mindfulness, deep breathing, stretching, and relaxation exercises.
- Meditation and mindfulness involve focusing on your breath, repeating a mantra or phrase, or simply allowing the mind to relax.
- Deep breathing exercises bring oxygen to the body and help induce relaxation.
- Stretching and relaxation exercises help warm up the body and lower tension levels.
What is the best bedtime routine to follow to fall asleep faster?
The best bedtime routine to follow to fall asleep faster is one that is tailored to your self-care preferences. Start by creating a consistent routine that sets your internal body clock. This can include actions like playing a pre-bedtime playlist, laying in your preferred sleeping position, or taking a nightly bath.
Additionally, consider the following tips that have been proven to help you fall asleep faster:
- Read for at least 5 minutes before going to sleep.
- Take a warm shower or bath in the evening to lower your core body temperature.
- Listen to soothing sounds and calm music while in bed.
- Exercise or do some form of physical activity during the day.
- Refrain from consuming caffeine later in the day.
- Create an ideal setting for sleeping by keeping the bedroom cool and dark.
- Remove a visible clock from your bedroom.
- Watch what you eat and when and refrain from eating close to bedtime.
- Leave room in the schedule for winding down so that you’re mentally and physically prepared for sleep.
How can I reduce bedtime stress to fall asleep faster?
To reduce bedtime stress and fall asleep faster, it can be helpful to create a bedtime routine that includes time to relax and unwind before going to bed. Start your bedtime routine early enough to ensure you get the recommended amount of sleep for your age group. Avoid stressful interactions and activities, including social media.
What is the best breathing exercise to fall asleep faster?
The best breathing exercise to help fall asleep faster is the 4-7-8 method. This involves breathing in for four seconds, holding the breath for seven seconds, and then exhaling for eight seconds. This type of deep, slow rhythmic breathing is relaxing and can help induce a state of calm, which is necessary for a good night of rest. Other relaxation techniques such as yoga poses and meditation can also help with falling asleep faster.
What is the best meditation technique to help me fall asleep faster?
The best meditation technique to help you fall asleep faster is mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation is a technique that promotes relaxation and brings about a sense of presence in the current moment. To practice mindfulness meditation,
- Find a quiet place where you can sit or recline in a comfortable position.
- Close your eyes and focus on your breath.
- When your mind begins to wander, simply bring your attention back to your breath.
- You may also want to focus on a mantra or word or phrase that you repeat throughout the practice.
Other techniques that may help you fall asleep faster include body scan meditation, deep breathing, essential oil aromatherapy at night, or writing down thoughts and worries. All of these techniques are designed to bring about relaxation and reduce stress, which can make it easier to fall asleep.
It’s important to remember to practice these techniques early enough so that you leave time to obtain the recommended amount of sleep for your age group.
How can I fall asleep in 5 minutes?
How Can I Fall Asleep in 5 Minutes?
- Start to wind down with relaxation techniques around an hour before bedtime. Dim the lights, lower the temperature, and play some calming music or ambient noise.
- Do some deep breathing exercises or the 4–7–8 breathing exercise. To do this, breathe in through your nose for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and exhale for eight seconds.
- Picture a relaxing scene, like lying in a canoe on a calm lake, and drift off.
- If you’re feeling anxious, try the military method of visualization. Imagine yourself in a peaceful place, such as a beach or a meadow, and focus on the details of the environment.
How to fall asleep fast when you took a nap?
- Avoid taking naps during the day. If you absolutely must take a nap, keep it short, no more than 26 minutes, and try to do it early in the day.
- Find a comfortable position and close your eyes. Practice relaxation techniques or mindfulness to help you ease into sleep. Focus on your breath or a mantra to help you relax.
- Count backward from 300 in increments of 3 in your head. This can create a distraction from your thoughts, allowing you to drift off to sleep.
- Listen to soothing sounds and calm music while in bed. This can help you relax and fall asleep faster.
- Give yourself time to wind down to prepare for sleep. It is important to give your body and mind time to transition into sleep.
Why can’t i sleep at night if i drink coffee?
Drinking coffee before bed can make it difficult to fall asleep at night because caffeine is a stimulant that blocks the body’s natural production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for making you sleepy. Caffeine can stay in your system for up to six hours, so if you consume it close to your bedtime, it will still be affecting you when you try to fall asleep.
To avoid this, try to avoid caffeine for at least six hours before bedtime, as well as other sources of caffeine like tea, chocolate, energy drinks, and soda. If you need a drink fix before bed, try a decaffeinated drink like chamomile or lavender tea. If you have trouble falling asleep, see how to fall asleep fast after drinking caffeine.
How to put someone to sleep instantly?
The military method is one of the quickest and easiest ways to help someone fall asleep instantly. It has been used by the military for years to help troops fall asleep quickly and easily, they should eventually be able to fall asleep in minutes or less.
Is it possible to fall asleep instantly?
Is it possible to fall asleep instantly? While it may not be possible to magically fall asleep in a split second like some kind of spell, it is possible to fall asleep more quickly with practice. Different techniques and methods may work for different people, depending on what makes them feel relaxed and sleepy.
To start, it’s important to create a sleep-friendly environment in your bedroom and start winding down around an hour before bedtime. With the right sleep environment and a bit of practice, it should be possible to fall asleep in less than two minutes.
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