We all sometimes have troubles falling asleep in the evening, especially if we have a big day tomorrow and need to get a proper amount of shut-eye. Nothing is worse than lying in bed watching as the time goes by and not being able to drift off to dreamland. If we need to get up early the next day, having troubles falling asleep is the last thing we need at that moment. We can become anxious and worried about facing the lack of sleep the next day, which doesn’t help at all. If you have a hard time meeting your sleep goals and want to know how to get to sleep fast, we will suggest some things that you can try to relax and prepare your body for sleep.
Don’t Nap During the Day
It can be quite difficult to resist daily napping, but it is something that you should try if you want to sleep on time in the evening. Many people feel sleepy and tired during the day, and they decide to take a nap so that they can feel better. Of course, daily napping has its benefits, such as improved alertness and well-being. However, according to some studies, excessive, frequent and late napping can affect sleep quality and even contribute to sleep deprivation. If you can’t go through the day without a nap, you should try to limit yourself to a short nap of around 30 minutes, but not in the late afternoon or evening. However, it would be a much better idea to eliminate naps altogether if you want to find out if they are affecting your sleep quality and duration or not.
Avoid Using Electronic Devices before Bedtime
Most of us like using our smartphones, watching TV or playing video games before going to sleep, but we are often not aware that this habit can disrupt our sleep patterns. It is vital to keep in mind that the use of electronic devices late at night is horrible for our sleep as they emit blue light. Blue light suppresses the secretion of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles. When we watch TV or use a mobile phone, it may be difficult for us to fall asleep and stay asleep. It is the best idea to put away smartphones, laptops, and tablets, and stop using them a couple of hours before going to bed. We need to disconnect all electronics if we want to improve our sleep quality and make sure our bedroom is free of distractions. Unfortunately, many people are addicted to these devices and can’t imagine an evening without using them. If you are one of them, you should at least use a blue light filter. Luckily, many smartphones and tablets have this feature, and thanks to it, the screen light will shift from blue to yellow, which is less likely to disrupt your sleep and keep you awake.
Avoid Looking at Your Clock
If you toss and turn at night trying to fall asleep, or you wake up in the middle of the night, one of the worst things that you can do is take a look at your clock. Having troubles falling asleep after waking up at night can be a bit difficult, but it is even worse when we become nervous. Watching the time on the clock pass by while we toss and turn can increase our stress and make it even more difficult to sleep. It is annoying to know that you have limited time for rest, and instead of sleeping, you are just lying there in bed doing nothing. If you want to do yourself a favor, you should hide your clock if you can’t resist looking at it. Don’t wait for too long to do this as over time your body will develop a routine. If you don’t stop it on time, you may find yourself waking up in the middle of the night every single night.
Adjust the Bedroom Temperature
Another thing that falls into the category of natural ways to fall asleep faster is adjusting the bedroom temperature. It is not easy to drift off to dreamland if you are too cold or too hot. Temperature preferences vary from person to person, and it is not possible to determine the right bedroom temperature for everyone. However, most sleepers prefer setting their thermostat to between 60 and 75 degrees, as they claim it helps them sleep the most comfortably. Of course, you should experiment a bit and find out what temperature level works best for you, but keep in mind that cooler bedroom can help you drift off to sleep.
Listen to Soothing Music
In case you are wondering how to fall asleep when not tired, soothing music can help. Listening to relaxing music can help us fall asleep faster at night, no matter if we are tired or not. Falling asleep to the right music can improve our quality and duration of sleep. However, only soothing music with a slow rhythm helps. Don’t expect to drift off to dreamland listening to heavy metal or rock. Relaxing music helps prepare us for sleep. We feel calmer when we listen to it, it slows our heart rate, breathing, reduces stress and anxiety, and triggers our muscles to relax. These biological changes mirror the changes that our bodies go through when falling asleep, which makes soothing music ideal for sleeping. According to research, listening to relaxing music before bedtime has a positive impact on sleep quality and it can even decrease the symptoms of depression. Also, it can assist in improving acute and chronic sleep disorders.
Try Different Breathing Exercises
If you want to know how to get to sleep when you can’t, another very effective solution is deep breathing. Breathing exercises can help us relax and direct our mind away from thoughts and worries that keep us awake. Taking slow and deep breaths can calm down our nervous system, relax us, and prepare our bodies for sleep. Deep breathing also provides relief from anxiety and stress and slows down our heart rate. In case you have troubles drifting off to dreamland because of the stress and different worries, you can choose from several breathing exercises that can help you. The best thing about them is that you can do them anywhere, at any time, and they can provide relief from stress before different important events, such as a meeting or an exam, not just before bedtime.
Choose Comfortable Bedding
If you want to get enough quality rest that you deserve, it is essential to be comfortable in bed. If it feels good to be in your bed, you will look forward to it every day. Having the right mattress can have a positive impact on your sleep quality and duration. On the other hand, if it is not comfortable, you may have a hard time drifting off to dreamland. Your mattress should match your needs and preferences. Different firmness levels of mattresses are available on the market, and you should make a decision based on your favorite sleep position, weight, and preferences. If you are a hot sleeper, you should opt for models with excellent cooling features. If you suffer from back pain or neck pain, it is a good idea to get a model with fantastic pressure relieving benefits. The choice of pillows is also vital, and it makes a difference between falling asleep almost immediately and tossing and turning. Pillows have an impact on the sleeper’s comfort, temperature, and neck curve, and you should choose them wisely. Different types of pillows are available with different features. You should also consider getting breathable bed linens if you want to sleep comfortably throughout the night.
Engaging in physical activity is not only healthy, but it can also help us sleep better at night and fall asleep faster. Exercising increases the quality and duration of shut-eye as it stimulates the production of serotonin in the brain and makes you feel calmer and happier, and decreases the cortisol levels, which is also known as the stress hormone. Exercising during the day will also make you tired, which will reduce the chances of staying up late and not getting enough shut-eye. If you engage in physical activity of moderate intensity every other day, you will sleep better at night. However, it is crucial to choose the right time for exercising. Keep in mind that working out in the morning is the best, whereas working out in the evening is not a good idea as it can keep you awake.
Limit Caffeine Intake
Most of us grab a cup of coffee or consume caffeinated beverages to fight tiredness and improve our alertness. We especially need caffeine in the morning, when we get out of the bed and need something to wake us up and prepare for what awaits us during the day. Besides coffee, caffeine can also be found in energy drinks, sodas, cocoa, chocolate, ice cream, and more. It works by blocking sleep-inducing chemicals in the brain, increasing alertness and adrenaline production. When we consume it, it takes us several hours to remove it from our bodies. That’s why consuming foods and beverages that contain caffeine is not a good idea in the evening, and we shouldn’t consume them at least 6 or 7 hours before going to bed. Drinking coffee in the evening interferes with sleep quality and quantity.
Read a Book
Reading a book is an excellent option if you need help winding down before bed. It can help you relax in the evening and take your mind off worries and stress. However, you need to be aware that there is a difference between reading a paper book and an electronic book. Reading a paper book in the evening will help you wind down and sleep better, whereas electronic book will do just opposite as these books emit blue light that interferes with the melatonin secretion and makes it hard to fall asleep. If you want to relax and improve your sleep quality, you should try reading a paper book.
Take a Warm Shower
Taking a warm shower half an hour to one hour before going to bed can help you fall asleep faster. Our ability to drift off to dreamland depends on our internal temperature, among other things. A hot shower will warm up our body, and stepping into the cooler air once we get out of the bathroom will cause our body temperature to drop precipitously. The rapid decrease in temperature prepares our body for sleep and helps us drift off to dreamland faster.
Renata is an economist who has always had a passion for writing. She is a dog lover, Netflix addict and a sleepaholic. When she is not busy doing sleep research, she spends her time reading books, hiking and playing video games.