Are you having trouble falling asleep? About 30% of adults report short-term sleep issues, whether it be from stress, a lifestyle change, travel, a loud party next door, fireworks over the long holiday weekend, or any other non-chronic situation. Maybe you just drank a coffee too late in the afternoon and now you’re lying on the pillow wide awake. This isn’t something to brush off. Failing to fall asleep isn’t only frustrating, it can wreck your short-term and long-term health. This is because the anxiety from not being able to sleep can actually make it even harder to fall asleep in the future. “Oh no… is this happening again?” you may worry. This starts a vicious cycle of anxiety and sleepless nights, leading to a chronic condition that isn’t so easily fixed. We don’t want this to happen to you! Let’s look at a few simple ways you can learn how to sleep fast.
Common Reasons Why it is Hard to Fall Asleep
If your mind can’t sleep, it’s really difficult for your body to follow. This is why Anxiety and Depression are two major reasons adults have a hard time falling asleep. Your brain is just too busy! There are also physical reasons as well. Drinking alcohol within a few hours of bedtime, napping too long, eating a spicy dinner, not being very active throughout the day, and consuming too much caffeine throughout the day are other common factors in a sleepless night.
How to get to Sleep Fast
Stop thinking about your inability to fall asleep! You shouldn’t be Googling “how to sleep fast in 5 minutes,” but instead making an effort to relax yourself. Since falling asleep is an involuntary process, taking your mind off of the task at hand can give your brain the break it needs for you to unwind, rest, and drift peacefully off. A few of our favorite suggestions to do so include:
Listening to music
Many experts agree that music to sleep fast is the way to go. Studies have pointed to classical music as the ideal choice to listen to before bed. Soft pop and certain types of world music are also found to largely contain the musical elements necessary to help a person relax. You don’t need to find the correct song or perfect playlist. Don’t overthink it! The speed of the music should be relatively slow, the melody should be simple, and the beat and harmony should not hold too many surprises.
Drinking a soothing beverage
Research has shown that caffeine can impact your quality of sleep up to six hours before bedtime. If you typically sleep at around 9 pm, you should probably be finishing up your last cup before 3 pm. You probably already knew not to drink coffee at night. If caffeine is wrong, what can you drink to sleep faster? You have your choice between several yummy favorites, like warm milk, decaf green tea, and pure coconut water.
Blocking out noisy distractions
Sound is one of the biggest disruptors of sleep. This means, one of the best ways to go to sleep fast is to get rid of all that background noise! If you have soft, ambient sounds in the background, your brain doesn’t focus on one sound, like the hum of the pool filter or your spouse watching TV in the living room. We carry a variety of white noise machines to achieve this. A sound machine doesn’t eliminate disruptive noises, of course, but they do help make them less noticeable to you. Want to try something different every night? Get a sound machine that allows you to change settings, like the Yogasleep Whish Multi-Sound Machine. The Whish Multi-Sound Machine has an Automatic Sleep Timer so you can choose from six hour and eight hour settings personalized to your waking schedule.
Reading a book
Reading reduces stress, which is great for turning off a busy brain. When reading a good book, your mind is distracted. It gives your mind the option to be somewhere else for a little while, away from daily stresses and tension. A study published in the Telegraph by the University of Sussex raised a number of participants' stress levels and then attempted to reduce them. Cognitive Neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis found that “reading worked best, reducing stress levels by 68%.” In fact, it only took six minutes for participants’ stress levels to be reduced!
Trying Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR)
Research shows us that people who practice progressive muscle relaxation regularly tend to have lower blood pressure, less muscle tension, less anxiety, and lower levels of fatigue. PMR is a relaxation technique where you engage and then release one muscle group at a time. You tense a group of muscles as you breathe in, and you relax them as you breathe out. To get started, work your way down through your entire body. Start with your forehead and continue down. Breathe in, and then gently but deliberately tense one muscle group. Tense the selected muscles for a few seconds and then slowly relax them over the course of 20 to 30 seconds. As you exhale, quickly and fully relax the tensed muscle group.
Sleeping with a weighted blanket
If you just can’t turn your mind off, it may help to have a nice warm hug… from a weighted blanket! Weighted blankets are heavy blankets filled with tiny plastic or glass pellets to make them heavier than a regular blanket. They are used as a form of pressure therapy to create a calming effect and help stimulate the release of serotonin in your brain. You see, when you’re stressed, your heart beats too quickly. Your brain doesn’t know you’re safe in bed; it only knows you sense danger. When this happens, lowering your heart rate can lead to relief. Pressure, like the feeling of a weighted blanket on top of you, calms you by lowering your heart rate. A lower heart rate and feeling of calmness leads to your body being ready for sleep.
Don’t worry if you don’t fall asleep the minute your head hits the pillow. Many people make the mistake of trying to fall asleep almost instantly, which is actually less healthy than taking a few minutes. Falling asleep too quickly means you're exhausted, not that you’re really good at falling asleep. For a healthy adult, going from wide awake to snoozing isn’t like flipping on and off a switch.
Begin to wind down around an hour or so before you would ideally like to fall asleep. Bedtime routines aren’t just for kids! They help your brain separate the day from the night, clear your mind and body of the day's stresses, and ease yourself into sleep. Move into a sleep-friendly environment in your bedroom, read or listen to music, dim your lights, and relax your body. You’ll be asleep before you know it!