How To Fall Asleep Quickly: Practical Tips

A woman is lying in her bed at night trying to fall asleep quickly.
How to fall asleep fast?

While we sleep our body is recovering, gaining strength and energy. An eight-hour slumber greatly contributes to our immunity, skin health, a fresh look and good mood for the entire day. But sometimes falling asleep is not so easy. 

Thoughts about work, life situations, or the expectation of an important event can interfere with sleep or completely deprive us of it. In this article, we will talk about the causes of difficulties falling asleep and how to overcome them.

What prevents us from falling asleep?

There are many causes of restless sleep: stress, hormonal changes, bad habits, neurological or mental illness, emotional stress, etc. Of course, these are serious reasons that should not be put off the shelf, but solved as soon as possible, turning to specialists for help if necessary. But it happens that it is we who interfere with our sleep, or rather, our daily habits or living conditions.

On average, a person needs about 7 minutes to fall asleep. But sometimes 30 minutes is not enough to fall asleep. Why it happens?

Main reasons of sleep disturbances

  • Light: light emitted from lamps and other sources outside the window, night light, glow of the TV screen, laptop, smartphone screen, alarm clock with backlight. Any light source that violates natural darkness can “deceive” our circadian rhythms, which means that the production of sleep hormone - melatonin - is disrupted.
  • Microclimate: It is easier for our body to fall asleep in comfortable conditions: it is a low level of carbon dioxide concentration, optimal temperature and humidity. Stale (i.e., with a high level of CO 2 ), dirty air can enhance the manifestation of allergic reactions, cause general weakness of the body and adversely affect immunity.
  • Food and drinks: Coffee, alcoholic beverages and junk food prevent a person from diving into the deep phase of sleep. Caffeine and alcohol stimulate the nervous system, and heavy foods are being processed for a long time. The result - no matter how tired a person may be, active processes in the body impede sound sleep.
  • Bedroom hygiene: The bed should not be a workplace or a kitchen table. The perception of the bedroom as a place to sleep is disturbed if you spend a lot of time in bed with a laptop or a tray of food.
  • Psychological and physical activities: even reading books excites the imagination, making it harder for the brain to calm down and tune in to sleep. It is better to exercise in the morning or in the afternoon, so that towards the evening all muscles are relaxed.
  • Strong smells: Using fresheners with harsh scents, scented candles, incense sticks, and scented pyramids before bedtime can affect your quality of sleep. Since smells irritate olfactory receptors.

What to do if you can’t fall asleep

You get to the bed, fit comfortably, it seems that the dream is about to reach you, but the hand begins to reach for the smartphone, and an internal dialogue appears in the head. You recall the questions that concern you, sort out the scenarios. Sleep does not come, and the time you set aside for rest melts completely and irrevocably.

5 simple ways to quickly fall asleep

  1. Some are used to counting sheep, and sometimes this technique works. An image of a ball or ball swaying smoothly from side to side can also help. Similar to a trick of hypnotists, lulling people, swinging a round clock on a chain. Focusing on the image of the ball, trying not to be distracted by extraneous thoughts and feelings, may help falling asleep faster.
  2. Imagine an object, such as a familiar building or monument. Mentally, like a mouse wheel, zoom in or out on this object, looking at it from each side. The construction of a detailed image will help you distract from worrying thoughts and fall asleep.
  3. You can try recalling pleasant dreams. Using this method, pay attention to your own feelings. It can be an ideal dream that you will control, develop events in the right direction for you. The main thing, let it be something pleasant: after falling asleep, you can really find yourself in your ideal dream.
  4. You need to lie on your back, stretch and relax. Close your eyes, or rather, "roll" eyeballs under closed eyelids. This position of the eyeballs is considered natural for the deep phase of sleep, so it will be easier to fall asleep.
  5. Lie on your back, try to feel the relaxation of each part of the body, including arms, legs, fingertips, and also the face - cheekbones, forehead, eyes, chin.

How to fall asleep quickly in 1 minute

This method is very popular among yogis and people who are fond of meditation. The 4-7-8 breathing technique can calm and relax a person even in a stressful situation.

To fall asleep quickly, you need to take a deep breath through the nose for 4 seconds, then hold your breath for 7 seconds and slowly exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds. This breathing pattern must be repeated several times. It will help pacify the heart rate, calm the flow of thoughts and ease you into a sound sleep.

For the first time, this exercise may not seem so simple. We breathe without thinking, our inhalations and exhalations are not controlled. Having tried the breathing technique, you will realize how difficult it is to breathe correctly.

Establishing good habits during daytime

Maintaining a stable sleep cycle is good for our psychological and physical health. Some may say that the time we spend sleeping can be spent on important things. However, healthy sleep, like any other useful business, needs to be given special attention. 

A good night's sleep is dependent on our habits and routines during the day.
To improve sleep quality, it is advised to practice the following routines during the day and just before bedtime:
  • Wake up and fall asleep at the same time. A stable schedule of activity and rest helps to adjust the internal clock of your body and optimize the quality of sleep.

A sample timetable for organizing our 24-hour cycle:

  • 6:00 - the level of cortisol (stress hormone) rises so that our body can wake up independently
  • 7:00 - the production of melatonin is completely blocked
  • 9:00 - increased activity of sex hormones
  • 10:00 - the highest point of mental activity
  • 14:30 - increased level of coordination of movements
  • 15:30 - increased reaction
  • 17:00 - increased function of the cardiovascular system and muscle elasticity
  • 19:00 - high blood pressure and high body temperature
  • 21:00 - the beginning of the production of melatonin
  • 22:00 - the activity of the digestive system decreases
  • 2:00 - deep phase of sleep
  • 4:00 - low body temperature
This is just an approximate schedule of our rhythms, as each person has individual characteristics of the body.

Routines that contribute to sleep quality

  • Make up the bed in the morning. Let this be a special ritual for you. By making the bed in the morning, we give ourselves the installation that a new day has come. In the evening, the undone bed will signal that the day is over and it's time to rest.
  • All physical activity should be completed no later than 3 hours before bedtime. If you go in for sports before going to bed or, say, do a spring cleaning at home, then it will be more difficult for the body to calm down and change the rhythm from activity to relaxation.
  • Walking before bedtime in the fresh air helps to calm, relax, expend energy and is useful for those who monitor their weight.
  • Warm bath before going to bed. This method is meditation for the body and thoughts. The main thing is that the water is not too hot or cold. A comfortable water temperature will not cause stress for the body, but rather, it will calm and relax.
  • Sleep in a cool, ventilated room. The air in the bedroom should be cool and saturated with oxygen, then it will become much easier to sleep. Also, the quality of sleep is affected by clean air and the absence of extraneous noise. In a big city, achieving such conditions is difficult, but possible.