Small changes in your sleep routine may help you fall asleep faster. These might include making the room cooler, practicing the 4-7-8 breathing method, and avoiding screens before bedtime.
Proper sleep is vital for physical and mental well-being.
Poor sleep may increase your risk of:
- cardiovascular disease
- type 2 diabetes
- stress, anxiety, and depression
- impaired learning, memory, and mood
Adults require around
If you’re experiencing trouble falling asleep, here are 20 ways to help you fall asleep as fast as possible.
A hot sleeping environment may affect a person’s
Thermoregulation is your body’s internal temperature.
When you lie down and prepare for sleep, your body begins to
Gradually, your core body temperature decreases until waking up again.
A 2019 research review suggests that bathing in warm water
It also found that people who bathed in water ranging from 104°F–108.5°F (40.0°C–42.5°C) for as little as 10 minutes before bedtime reported improvements in their sleep.
More research is needed, but these findings are promising.
The 4-7-8 method is a cyclical breathing technique that may promote calmness and help you unwind before bed.
Dr. Andrew Weil, an integrative medicine doctor, developed it. The technique is based on pranayama exercises in yoga.
Steps to complete one cycle
- Place the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth.
- Exhale completely through your mouth and make a “whoosh” sound.
- Close your mouth and inhale through your nose while mentally counting to 4.
- Hold your breath and mentally count to 7.
- Open your mouth and exhale completely, making a “whoosh” sound while mentally counting to 8.
- Repeat this cycle at least three more times.
A sleep schedule may help you fall asleep faster.
Your body has its own near-24-hour regulatory system called the circadian rhythm. This internal clock cues your body to feel alert during the day but sleepy at night.
It also has an important role in maintaining
Waking up and going to bed at the same time each day could help regulate your internal clock.
Once your body adjusts to this schedule, it’ll be easier to fall asleep and wake up around the same time every day.
Lastly, research recommends giving yourself
Per research published in 2022, light exposure could
Research suggests that every additional hour spent outside may lead to sleep onset happening
Daylight exposure may also increase evening fatigue, as well as sleep duration and quality.
That said, timing is important, as too much evening light exposure may prevent you from falling asleep and
Melatonin is an essential hormone for sleep that’s produced in darkness.
Finding a balance between light and darkness is therefore important. This could be done by exposing your body to daylight throughout the day and using blackout curtains at night.
When people are stressed, they tend to have
Research suggests that yoga may
Yoga encourages the practice of breathing patterns and body movements that could help release the accumulated stress and tension in your body.
Lastly, according to research, mindfulness may have a
Waking up in the middle of the night is normal, but not being able to fall back asleep may be frustrating.
It’s common for people with insomnia to look at their clock every time they wake up. This is known as clock-watching or time monitoring behavior (TMB), which research suggests may increase brain stimulation and exacerbate anxious feelings of sleeplessness.
Waking on a regular basis without falling back asleep may also cause your body to develop a routine. As a result, you might find yourself waking up in the middle of the night every night.
Removing the clock from your room may help reduce your feelings of sleep-related anxiety. Alternatively, if you need an alarm in the room, you can turn your clock around to avoid looking at it when you wake up during the night.
Poor sleep at night may lead to daytime napping. In fact, research indicates that nearly
While short naps may improve alertness and well-being, there’s mixed research about the effects of napping on nighttime sleep.
In a small
That said, a
To find out if naps are affecting your sleep, try eliminating them altogether or limiting yourself to a 30-minute nap early in the day.
The time you eat during the day may affect your sleep quality.
Research results from the American Time Use Survey suggest that eating within 1 hour before bedtime increases your chances of waking up after falling asleep.
The types of food you eat may also affect your sleep quality.
For example, one research review suggests that even though a high carb diet may get you to fall asleep faster, it will not be restful sleep. Instead, high fat meals could promote a deeper and more restful sleep.
That said, there’s a lot of conflicting research on the effects of such dietary specifics.
Research suggests that
A small 2012 study involving 50 people suggests that those who were exposed to soothing music for
Another systematic review involving hospitalized people and published in 2023 suggests that listening to 30 minutes of relaxing music in the evening significantly increases sleep quality.
Lastly, if relaxing music is not available, blocking out all noise with earplugs may help you fall asleep faster.
When, where, and for how long you exercise may have a significant impact on your sleep.
However, it’s important to maintain a moderate-intensity exercise routine and to be mindful of when you exercise.
Working out early in the morning may help establish your circadian rhythm and lead to better sleep in the evening. Contrarily, exercising
Some activities that you could do include:
A comfortable mattress and bedding may have a remarkable effect on the onset, depth, and quality of sleep.
Your pillow may also impact your sleep by having an effect on:
- neck and spinal curve
- pillow and body temperature
Sleeping with a weighted blanket may also have
- better sleep quality and duration
- more energy for daytime activity
- reduced symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression
Watching TV, playing video games, and
Using these devices also keeps your mind in an active and engaged state.
If you need to use your devices late in the evening, consider using eyeglasses to block out the blue light.
That said, it may help to just disconnect and put away all your electronics before going to bed. This could help ensure a quiet place, free of distractions.
Aromatherapy involves the use of essential oils and may help people with trouble falling asleep.
A systematic review of 30 studies suggests that aromatherapy may help improve sleep quality and reduce:
A variety of different scents, such as peppermint and lavender, may help improve sleep.
There are also a variety of ways to use essential oils, too. An essential oil diffuser could be helpful in infusing your room with relaxing scents that encourage sleep.
Some people may struggle to fall asleep because their thoughts keep running in circles.
Journaling and focusing on positive thoughts may help calm the mind and help you fall asleep faster.
A different study found that
It may help to set aside 15 minutes every night to write about your day. Remember to focus on the positive events, your upcoming events, and how you feel at the time.
That said, caffeine may negatively impact sleep onset, quality, and duration.
Although the effects of caffeine peak within
A 2013 study suggests that consuming caffeine at least 6 hours before bedtime might still result in 1 hour less of sleep. These accumulated lost hours may have a negative effect.
Instead, drinking a noncaffeinated bedtime tea may help promote sleep and relaxation.
Good quality sleep may depend on your body position during the night.
There are three main sleeping positions:
Traditionally, it was believed that back sleepers (supine) had a better quality of sleep.
Although individual preferences play an important role in choosing a sleep position, the
Reading a print book may have many benefits, including helping you unwind before bed.
Contrarily, reading from an e-book may impact these sleep factors.
Electronic books emit blue light, which reduces melatonin secretion. Lowered melatonin levels make it harder for you to fall asleep and could lead to more fatigue the following day.
Therefore, it’s recommended to read a physical book to help improve your sleep.
Paradoxical intention (PI) is a sleeping technique that involves intentionally staying awake, rather than forcing yourself to sleep.
It’s designed to reduce performance anxiety and stress produced by forcing yourself to fall asleep.
Although the research is mixed, some studies suggest that
Engaging your imagination may be more calming than counting sheep.
Older research from a 2002 study also found that imagery distraction helped quicken sleep onset compared with people who had general distractions or no instructions.
Certain supplements may help you fall asleep faster, boost the production of sleep-promoting hormones, or help calm brain activity.
Some of these supplements include:
Before trying any of these supplements, it’s important to speak with a doctor. The supplements may have side effects or negative interactions with other medications.
Why do I want to sleep but my body won’t let me?
Trying to fall asleep but not succeeding could be frustrating. It may also lead to an anxious cycle that might inadvertently prevent you from falling asleep.
Some common factors that may prevent you from falling asleep include:
- consuming caffeine 6 hours before bed
- exercising at a high intensity during the afternoon or evening
- using electronics before bed
- eating certain foods before bed
- having a high room temperature
- being uncomfortable
How do I fall asleep ASAP?
Some initial steps may help you fall asleep faster and can include:
- healthy sleeping habits, like turning off electronics
- a comfortable, quiet, and dark sleeping environment
- healthy habits during the day, like exercising and getting enough sunlight
If these don’t work, then changing your daily habits or trying some relaxation methods might help.
Some of these might include:
- reading a book before bed
- not eating lots of carbs 4 hours before bed
- avoiding caffeine at least 6 hours before bed
- journaling at night
- trying yoga, meditating, or the 4-7-8 breathing method
- using essential oils
Having trouble falling and staying asleep is not only frustrating, but it could affect your mental and physical health.
These techniques may help relax and calm your mind before bed, which could help you sleep better and have more energy the following day.