How to Fall Asleep Fast

Perhaps you are one of those lucky people who sleep like a baby most nights. However, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that almost half the population and in particular of the age 60 and older experience insomnia, a roughly 30% of the general population complains of sleep disruption, and approximately 10% have associated symptoms of daytime functional impairment consistent with the diagnosis of insomnia.

If you are among the unfortunate ones to frequently experiencing the bout of insomnia, which is defined by the National Sleep Foundation as the difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, even when a person has the chance to do so, then you might want to consider the strategies proposed in this article.

Can’t stand those sleepless nights anymore? Science has your back. Read on to know which techniques will help you relieve from this situation.

How to Fall Asleep Fast Tips And Skills

Not sure if you suffer from insomnia? Check if you experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Taking a long time — more than 30 to 45 minutes — to fall asleep
  • Waking up frequently each night
  • Waking up early and being unable to get back to sleep
  • Waking up feeling tired, and unable to function well during the day

Quick facts about sleep and the lack of it

Sleep is essential to survive. According to circadian neuroscientist Russel Foster, getting enough hours of sleeps is imperative to be in our most productive state.

Nevertheless, a recent Gallup poll indicated that 40% of Americans don’t get enough sleep.

In particular, about 60 million American adults reportedly experience insomnia in a given year, and at least 40 million suffer from long-term sleep disorders.

In fact sleep is so important that 6 in 10 Americans report craving sleep over sex.

A good night’s rest is critical not only because it affects our productivity, but also as science shows, due to the fact that a lack of sleep can be detrimental to the overall health of your brain.

9 in 10 respondents in a sleep survey cited their mattress as an important factor to get a good night’s sleep. Indeed, a mattress is worth investing as it can affect our sleep in both positive and negative ways.

The explanations for insomnia are complex. Unless you are suffering from some medical condition like depression, asthma, allergies, arthritis, etc., in most cases, stress and anxiety is the most common reason for not being able to snooze in at night, with your particular lifestyle and diet as further reasons for the nightmare of insomnia.

Regardless of the reason why you suffer from insomnia, there are different tricks and tips to follow, which basically relate to either making some instant changes when insomnia knocks on your door, or proceed with some long-term lifestyle changes which can act preventive from getting these sleep disruption incidents on a regular basis. Our concern was to pile up the most effective science-backed tips to help you sleep faster.

How to fall asleep faster: scientifically-proven strategies

Remember: the harder you try, the more likely you are to fail falling asleep. Instead, if you try to relax and practice some or a combination of these techniques, you will most likely succeed to fall asleep fast, when sleep eludes you.

The following scientifically-supported methods promise to help you hit the sack in no time. In a hurry to know more? Let’s go.

Can’t wait to read all about it? Have a look at the infographic to get the best of this post.

Change your sleeping position

Change your sleeping position

Situation: If you are having trouble sleeping because of sleep apnea or lower back discomfort, you probably are a back sleeper, as experts suggest this sleeping position causes these issues during sleep.

Action: To avoid the likelihood of blocking your airways and snoring which will probably wake you and/or your partner, switch to side sleeping which is better for your heart especially if you are pregnant.

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Adjust your pillows

Adjust your pillows
Situation: Many people experience discomfort especially in the neck during sleep due to a bad pillow. According to a sleep expert, Michael Breus, PhD, a clinical psychologist and author, “Pillows cannot only impact the quality of our sleep, but also how healthfully we rest and recharge”.

Action: Experts suggest to create a straight line for your neck. To succeed so, position a pillow between your knees to keep your hips in a neutral position. You can also use two pillows, one for the arm and one for head elevation.

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Adjust your sleeping surface

Adjust your sleeping surface
Situation: Bad, worn out, saggy or pokey mattresses are related to several health issues including bad sleep. According to a study by Research Triangle International and Drs. Andy Krystal and Jack Edinger from Duke University which evaluated more than 16,000 nights of sleep, it was evident that even small differences in mattress support (soft, medium, firm) correlated with changes in sleep and pain.

Action: Use a memory foam topper to cover your saggy mattress or consider getting a memory foam mattress.

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Wear something comfortable

Wear something comfortable
Situation: It may sound obvious, yet it is highly important that you go to bed wearing the most comfortable clothing. Some people even prefer sleeping naked to relax. In general, it is important to wear the right sleepwear to help regulate your body temperature during the night as research studies suggest.

Action:  Pick the right pyjamas to get your best night’s sleep. Choose sleepwear that feels good when you put it on.

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Wear socks to bed

 Wear socks to bed

Situation: Cold feet is closely related to having lots of restless nights. When your feet are cold, they constrict the blood vessels less blood circulated in your body. In fact, a Swiss study published in the journal Nature observed that warm feet and hands were the best predictor of rapid sleep onset.

Action: The National Sleep Foundation recommends warming your feet before going to bed and what best way to do that than wearing socks. This provides a signal to your brain that it’s bedtime.

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Switch off all electronic devices

Switch off all electronic devices
Situation: While it gets darker, our body tends to increase levels of hormones which produce sleepiness. Being on a computer or phone screen, prevents these hormones from taking effect.

Action: Scientists suggest to remove all electronic devices with bright blue screens and avoid any sort of social media contact (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat, Email, Texting) approximately an hour before sleep.

If you enjoy gaming and spend over 7 hours a week on video and computer games, consider cutting down your gaming time to reduce sleep disruption. A research study in 2012 by Flinders University, found that participants who played video games for 150 minutes or more at night experienced a delay in falling asleep of 39 minutes, whereas they also lost an average of 27 minutes in total sleep loss during the night.

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Try to force yourself to stay awake

Try to force yourself to stay awake

Situation: You have heard about reverse psychology before, right? You can’t wrong with that even in this situation as it may alleviate excessive sleep anxiety. A small study conducted at the University of Glasgow found that sleep-onset insomniacs asked to stay awake fell asleep easier than those who did not engage in this scenario. Participants in this group fell asleep easier and showed less sleep performance anxiety.

Action: Force yourself to try and stay awake and you will probably fall asleep sooner than you think!

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Hide the clock

Hide the clock
Situation: If you constantly toss and turn in your bed to fall asleep, having a bedside clock is probably the worst companion as your will likely watch the minutes tick towards morning.

Action: Keep the clock out of sight to get rid of your stress, relax your nervous system and fall asleep.

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Take a hot shower

Take a hot shower
Situation: Research studies suggest that insomniacs tend to have a warmer core body temperature than normal sleepers just before bed, which leads to heightened arousal and a struggle to fall asleep.

Action: Don’t’ think a warm shower will wake you up. Take a hot shower an hour before bed and then step into cooler air as this will cause your body temperature to drop faster. This rapid temperature decrease slows your metabolism faster and prepares your body for sleep. In addition, maintaining the same shower routine every night at around the same time, prepares your body for bedtime.

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Cool off the room temperature

Cool off the room temperature
Situation: Your internal body temperature is integral to regulating your biological body clock as you may have realised from the previous tip and in fact you want your body temperature to drop slightly to help fall asleep, according to the Harvard Medical School. More research confirms that decreasing the body’s temperature helps to slow the heart rate, digestion, and other metabolic processes—which makes it easier to fall asleep.

Action: Cooling the body is a popular way to better induce sleep, so if you don’t want to have a bath before bed, try turning down the temperature to around 65 degrees—as The National Sleep Foundation recommends that this is just the right level of room temperature for quicker sleep.

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Listen to relaxing music

Listen to relaxing music
Situation: Music is said to be able to do wonders for people who suffer from insomnia. Research evidence suggests that music with a slow rhythm of 60 to 80 beats per minute can help to lull you to sleep and boost sleep quality—and, in one study on classical music, even improve symptoms of depression.

Action: Put on a relaxing calming music and cuddle in your sheets to snooze in.

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Get rid of noises

Get rid of noises
Situation: Controlling the noise level around you is critical to a good night’s sleep. In a study conducted in 2016 examining “Sleep Quality and Factors Influencing Self-Reported Sleep Duration and Quality”, the most frequently reported reasons for poor sleep included noise (59%).

Action: Grab a white noise machine to cancel out any unwanted background sounds and distractions.

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Take up an activity for 10 minutes

Take up an activity for 10 minutes
Situation: Richard Wiseman, professor for the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University if Hertfordshire and author, suggests that an effective strategy to feel sleepy again if you wake up and can’t go to bed after 15 minutes is to do an activity that involves your hands and head.

Action: Get out of bed now and try something like a jigsaw puzzle or painting on a coloring book. One thing for sure, stay away from the TV and digital screens.

Situation: If anxiety and stress over the different tasks can’t let your mind turn off, scientists suggest to clear your mind by writing in a journal.

Action: Make notes in your journal of the tasks you have to do and what you have completed already. Getting them on paper is extremely comforting and will progressively transit you into sleep anxiety-free.

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Write in a journal

Write a journal

Situation: If anxiety and stress over the different tasks can’t let your mind turn off, scientists suggest to clear your mind by writing in a journal.

Action: Make notes in your journal of the tasks you have to do and what you have completed already. Getting them on paper is extremely comforting and will progressively transit you into sleep anxiety-free.

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Dim lights

Dim lights
Situation: Besides electronic devices like tablets and smartphones, the biggest blue-light sleep intrusions are likely fluorescent lightbulbs and LED lights, which many people use because of their energy efficiency and powerful light.

Action: Keep your bedrooms and all rooms the hours before you sleep as dark as possible, including any annoying little red LED lights that might be in the room.

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Scent your bedroom with lavender

Scent your bedroom with lavender
Situation: Lavender oil is considered soothing and calming for the mind. This is backed by a 2005 study at Wesleyan University found that subjects who sniffed lavender oil for 2 minutes at three, 10-minute intervals before bedtime increased their amount of deep sleep and felt more energetic in the morning.

Action: Get this flowering herb from a local store or your garden if you grow it, and enjoy its soothing aroma to relax your nerves, lower your blood pressure, and put you in a calming state.

Tip: Lavender also sends away mosquitos and other annoying insects.

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Practice progressive relaxation

Woman (Relaxing poolside)
Situation: Recommended by the National Sleep Foundation as a way to fall asleep fast, progressive muscle relaxation involves slowly tensing and then relaxing each muscle in your body to help your body relax.

Action: The Mayo Clinic describes the technique as follows:

“Start by tensing and relaxing the muscles in your toes and progressively working your way up to your neck and head. You can also start with your head and neck and work down to your toes. Tense your muscles for at least five seconds and then relax for 30 seconds, and repeat”.

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Imagine a relaxing scene

Imagine a relaxing scene
Situation: Practicing visualization is found to be helpful in the case of sleep disorders. In an Oxford University study published in the journal Behavior Research and Therapy in 2002, it was found that insomniacs who used “imagery distraction,” as they were instructed to imagine a relaxing scene, such as a beach or a waterfall, fell asleep 20 minutes faster than insomniacs who were told to count sheep or do nothing special at all.

Action: Rather than counting sheep which doesn’t seem to work in modern days, visualize an environment that makes you feel calm and happy.

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Use the “4-7-8” method

Use the “4-7-8” method
Situation: Best-selling author Dr. Andrew Weil—and various wellness bloggers, stress that the “4-7-8” breathing technique can help you fall asleep in under a minute.

Action: According to DrWeil.com, the method is as follows:

  • Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise.
  • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
  • Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
  • Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
  • Repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
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Have dinner by candle light

Have dinner by candle light
Situation: Harvard Health Publications highlight that light of any kind can suppress your body’s production of melatonin. However, especially blue light waves do so more powerfully, which results in shifting sleep-friendly circadian rhythms.

Action: Take time off blue light and LED, to enjoy a romantic dinner by candlelight.

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Meditate

Meditate
Situation: It has been empirically proven through multiple studies that meditation can improve the symptoms of insomnia. For instance, a 2009 study found that meditators slept longer and better thanks to the deep relaxation powers of the practice.

Action: Dedicate as little as five to ten minutes of breathing exercises to clear the mind and gently slow down the brain to get into a sleepy mood. For better results, incorporate meditation habits throughout your day.

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Try acupressure

Try acupressure
Situation: Accupressure is a technique based on alternative Chinese medical theory which sustains that a network of energy flows through specific points in your body. Pressing on these points can facilitate balance and regulate your mind, body, and spirit.

Action: There are different acupressure techniques to alleviate sleeplessness, including applying gentle pressure for a minute to a small depression on the level of your brows, right above the nose. Also, between your first and second toes, on top of the foot, there is a depression. Press that area for a few minutes until you feel a dull ache.

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Stick to a consistent sleeping schedule

Stick to a consistent sleeping schedule
Situation: The sleep-wake cycle is controlled by the body’s internal clock. When you don’t follow a typical sleeping pattern and habits, it is even more difficult to deal with sleep disorders as the body gets confused. Sticking to a regular bedtime and rising time, can help the body adapt and take the hang of this schedule so that it prepares on its own for sleep.

Action: Establish a bedtime routine which you should follow as much as possible. It might seem difficult having a busy working schedule and social life to handle 24/7, yet regulating your sleep schedule is of the most crucial strategies to get you sleeping fast. It is a good idea to sleep around the same time every night and wake up the same time every morning.

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Avoid late snacks – prefer a light early dinner

Avoid late snacks – prefer a light early dinner
Situation: It should come as no surprise that what you eat for dinner affects sleep. Your body needs substantial time to digest, and it does it best when you are sitting or standing. This means that having a late dinner or snack will take longer to digest making it difficult to fall asleep quickly.

Action: It is best that you have dinner at least three hours before going to bed and avoid sleep inhibitors like chocolate, high-protein meat, fatty and spicy foods and alcohol. Instead opt for sleep-inducing foods like milk, soybeans, walnuts, salmon and spinach, and make it a routine to eat dinner early to ensure a restful night’s sleep.

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Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol

Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol
Situation:  Drinking caffeine and caffeine-drinks within 8 hours before you go to bed means that the adrenaline surge and energizing effects are still in-play on your hormones when it’s bedtime. Several studies show a correlation between the effects of Caffeine and Technology on Sleep Duration and Daytime Functioning.

Action: It is best to stop drinking caffeine by around 2:00 in the afternoon so that your body has plenty of time to process the chemical.

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Blow bubbles

Blow bubbles
Situation:  Yes, the kind of bubbles you would blow as a kid, from those plastic bottles. It may sound silly, but it works great as a deep breathing exercise. Rachel Marie E. Salas, M.D., a professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in a recent New York Post article explained that “It’s like a deep breathing exercise, which helps calm your body and mind,” she says. “And since it’s such a silly activity, it can also take your mind off of any potential sleep-thwarting thoughts.”

Action: Take up this carefree activity now to slow down your breathing and help both body and mind.

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Don’t work out at night

Don’t work out at night
Situation: If you maintain a healthy lifestyle, working out is probably one of your routines. Nevertheless, if you tend to work out in the evening, this can keep you buzzing when you should be sleeping.

Action: Switch any exercise activity for the morning or at least avoid working out within 4 hours of heading for bed. In fact, people who work out on a treadmill or outdoors exposed in the sunshine at 7:00am sleep longer and experience deeper sleep cycles.

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Try not to nap in between

Try not to nap in between
Situation: Taking an afternoon nap when you feel exhausted is definitely your first thought when you come home. Nevertheless, scientists say this will upset your sleep cycle and make it harder to fall asleep at your true bedtime. However, a study in 2015 published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM) indicated that “a 30-minute nap can reverse the hormonal impact of a night of poor sleep,” said one of the JCEM study’s authors, Brice Faraut, PhD, of the Université Paris Descartes-Sorbonne Paris Cité in Paris, France.

Action: As much as you may enjoy a quick nap during the day, avoid it by all means if you are experiencing insomnia, or if you absolutely must take a nap, try to limit it to 30 minutes or less to keep your hormones in line.

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Treat your anxiety

Treat your anxiety
Situation: Anxiety and stress are acknowledged by experts as one of the major causes for insomnia and other sleep disorders.

Action: There are different remedies like exercise, yoga and prescription antidepressant/antianxiety meds to treat anxiety and sleeplessness, as well as aromatherapy, massage and cooling down with music, all of which have been proposed earlier.

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Visit the doctor

Visit the doctor
Situation: You have tried everything possible, including all of what this post and other informative online information suggests to deal with your sleeping problems.

Action: Now is the time to visit your doctor, as you might want to explore other options or delve deeper into the cause of your insomnia. It is certain that the several sleep specialists will help you find your way to a more proper sleep, whether it is through cognitive therapy, natural supplements, or prescribing medication.

Bottom line

You are right to be a bit sceptical of the different methods proposed online to comfort your sleeping disorders. Nevertheless, scientific studies provide with ample of examples of strategies to use which can enhance your sleeping pattern and provide with a better quality of life.

Above all, remember that a nightly routine is probably going to help you sleep better. Put a schedule and stick to it as much as possible if you are having trouble sleeping.

Obviously, you don’t want to change your lifestyle entirely, however we recommended a few techniques which can have a huge impact on your sleep. Choose among one or all if possible, to accommodate for your needs while at the same time cater for your sleep.

Remember that anxiety and stress over this issue is definitely your worst alley, so you only want to think positively of your sleep and life in general. Try to create a sleeping ritual that will involve calming music, aromatherapy, breathing exercises, dim lighting and a cool bedroom to enable for your body to relax and delve into this sleepy mood.

What you eat in the hours before going to bed, also plays an important role for your sleep. Prefer a lighter dinner and caffeine-free drinks which will make it easier for you to sleep.

In the event that you wake up and can’t go back to sleep, try a hot shower, play a jigsaw puzzle or draw on a coloring book, or even practice your imagination by visualizing your favourite place to soothe your breathing and mental state towards sleeping again.

Follow the techniques and tricks proposed in this article and you will sleep your way to better health. Also, if you have any other recommendations for sleeping faster which you have tested yourself, feel free to share them with us.

Hi,my name is Chris and used to be a mattress salesperson, now I'm a software engineer and focus on blog writing part time, I created this mattress review and rating site to share my knowledge and experiences and hope everyone can get the correct mattress at a reasonable price.

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