The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.
~ Robert Frost
How to fall asleep? You’d think that something so natural would be so easy. But sadly it’s not. There are so many of us who are having difficulty falling asleep and so many of us who have trouble getting enough asleep each night.
We are a nation of insomniacs. The CDC suggested that as many as one half or more of us might have trouble sleeping and that up to 35% of us are getting less than 7 hours of sleep a night.
There are generally 3 identified types of insomnia:
This is a condition where your inability to sleep much lasts less than a wee and has similar effect to sleep deprivation. This type of insomnia can have a wide variety of causes from depression to illness and other disorders.
This is where you have trouble sleeping or getting very much sleep that lasts up to a month. For this condition to be diagnosed it must impair your daytime abilities to function properly. Acute insomnia is the inability to start sleeping or continue sleeping or sleep that is non-refreshing when all opportunities to allow sleep are present.
This level insomnia is considered if sleeplessness or the inability to obtain refreshing sleep lasts more than a month. Naturally this will develop physiological and psychological symptoms depending on the severity and the length of insomnia as well as individual insomniacs.
That is insomnia, but many of us just struggle to get a good night’s sleep or the ability to fall asleep and many of us wake up during the night and this all leads to unrewarding sleep and leaves us feeling lethargic, spacey and dull during the day.
So here are some techniques that I have learned based on how to fall asleep and stay asleep for a good 7, 8 or more hours depending on your needs.
Using as many of the tips to fall asleep quickly as I outline will help and have a cumulative affect rather than picking and choosing. Try to use as many of these tips on how to fall asleep fast.
1. Just say no to drugs
One of the best ways to fall asleep or at least start learning how to fall asleep again is to cut out the root of the problem. Often that has to do with drugs. And no, I don’t mean hard drugs.
Of course, if you are using illegal drugs you should stop doing that right away. But I’m talking about caffeine and nicotine primarily.
Some of us are sensitive to caffeine and perhaps without even knowing it, having just one cup of coffee or even tea per day in the morning might be wrecking havoc on our sleep without us even knowing it.
The first thing to try when you find that you can’t fall asleep is to cut out caffeine all together. Give yourself at least a month to see how you feel without caffeine. And I mean no caffeine. So no coffee or any caffeinated teas.
2. Take your pound of flesh
The more weight you have to lose the more you will have a hard time getting the best night’s sleep you can. How to make yourself fall asleep is harder when you’re carrying even 10 pounds more weight than you need.
And of course the more weight you carry the harder it is on your body and your respiratory system. So lose that weight. This will take time… think months rather than weeks. But it will be well worth it. Sleep apnea will rob you of deep restful sleep and one of the main culprits of sleep apnea is being overweight.
3. Empty your body
If your body is empty or as empty as it can be the better it will be able to sleep and repair the damage from the day. The primary purpose of sleep is both mental and physical repair.
I like to make sure that I don’t eat anything within 4 hours of bedtime. I also like to make sure I don’t drink anything 2 hours before bedtime.
If you go to bed with a full belly not only is it hard to fall asleep but your body is taking up precious sleep time in digesting your meal and not repairing the body which is what it really should be doing.
Not drinking helps to ensure that your bladder is not filling up with liquid only to wake you up at 3am for a potty break. If you struggle to get to sleep, don’t make it harder yourself by having to get to sleep twice in one night. Once in the beginning and once in the middle of the night after a pee break.
4. Empty the mind
One of the best ways to have an empty mind is to review the day you just had and take the time to reflect on tomorrow before you get to bed. Turn off electronics an hour before bed. No TV, no computers and just listen to some peaceful, relaxing music and think of the course of your day.
Allow yourself to plan for tomorrow and make some written notes if you have to to remind yourself what you need or want to accomplish. Put the day to rest before you put yourself to rest. Forgive any transgressions against you and seek peace with any transgressions you might have made.
5. Herb can be a restful friend
Some folks have found that valerian and/or St. John’s Wort can be helpful in relaxing the body to help you get a good night sleep.
If you take any of the relaxing herbs as a tea, be sure to follow number 3. Drink your tea up to 2 hours before bedtime. For convenience you can also take valerian and/or St. John’s Wort in pill form with a few sips of water up to an hour before bed.
Though many herbs are safe, you should consult your doctor before taking any herbs especially if you are on pharmaceutical medication. St. John’s Wort for example is contraindicated with many pharmaceutical drugs.
6. Make sleep a habit
Having good habits around your sleep routine is very helpful. Try to get to bed at the same time each night even on the weekends. Perhaps this is 11pm or 10pm. Whatever it is, try and stick to within a half hour each night of your scheduled sleep time.
We are creatures of habit and our bodies like habit too. So give them a habit and routine to count on. These tricks to fall asleep will help.
It is especially important if you are having trouble falling asleep that you put yourself on a set routine. Same time to bed and same to wake 7 days a week. I recommend that everyone get to bed before midnight. For some reason I can’t explain, I have found that I always fall asleep easier if I’m in bed before midnight and I wake up feeling more refreshed.
Aim for a minimum of 7 hours of sleep a night for optimum functioning throughout the day. More if you feel you need it.
7. Tire the body to help it fall asleep
Although exercise right before bed is contraindicated if you need help falling asleep, exercise 4 or more hours before bedtime can help.
It doesn’t need to create great effort from the body. But both anaerobic and aerobic exercise will help you to fall asleep. Even some calisthenics done at home in the evening a few hours before bed can be beneficial.
Jumping jacks, push ups, sit ups, burpees, mountain climbers and the like can help tire the body so that it seeks sleep at the appropriate time.
8. More suggestions for sound somnolence
Some have found help falling asleep with taking a warm bath or shower just before bed. That is something you might like to try.
Meditating before bed or listening to some quite relaxing music that is set to play all night or just for an hour or two can help calm the mind and help you learn how to fall asleep instantly.
I have found a mental exercise to be helpful in causing me to fall asleep fast.
I hope you’ve found these many ways to fall asleep fast to be helpful. If you are trying to relearn how to fall asleep then this should help. The key is patience. Your scurrying mind will not help you get to sleep quicker if you let it loose as a gymnastic’s gerbil in your brain.