There are some that have no trouble falling and staying asleep at night. Once they hit their pillow, it is lights out. However, for those who are not so lucky when it comes to their sleep schedule, it can feel like they are tossing and turning for hours before they are able to finally doze off. Lacking sufficient, high-quality sleep puts a damper on every other aspect of your life, including job performance, safety, mood, and health. That being said, all is not lost when it comes to your sleep patterns. We’ve created the ultimate guide of tips and tricks to falling asleep at night so that you can teach yourself how to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep.
Start Your Bedtime Routine Earlier in the Day
It is pretty easy to fall asleep watching TV only to realize that you have your clothes and makeup on, and contacts in your eyes. Unfortunately, because of this you usually can’t transfer from the couch to your bed right away, as you must brush your teeth, wash your face, take your contacts out, etc. By the time you finally are in bed you likely will be too stimulated from your bedtime routine to fall asleep again right away. Instead, try to do your bedtime routine earlier in the night, such as right after you eat dinner so that you can go straight to bed when you are ready.
Optimize Your Ambient Noise
Noise has an enormous affect on how we sleep, and it affects everybody differently. If you are the type of person that needs silence to sleep, then try your best to eliminate all noise. If you live in a noisy part of town, then consider using earplugs so that you can get a restful night’s sleep. Alternatively, if you like some background noise to help you sleep then consider purchasing an ambient sound or white noise machine.
Wine Drinkers Beware
Although you may think that alcohol helps you sleep, in fact it may conk you out, but you’ll experience a substantially lower quality sleep. If you make it a habit of having a few glasses of wine before going to bed, it’s often the case that you will wake up several times during the night both parched and not able to fall back asleep. If you’re a wine drinker, then try drinking your wine earlier in the night so that its effects are not so strong right before you go to bed. Additionally, make sure that you drink plenty of water with your wine so that you do not go to bed dehydrated.
Distract Your Brain
Distracting your mind right before bed is an outstanding way to fall asleep. For example, reading a book before bedtime is an excellent way to lull your brain to sleep, especially if you tend to get stressed out about falling asleep. Tossing and turning is often a stressful experience that can even cause your body to release cortisol or adrenaline, which makes it even harder to get a good night’s rest. Try distracting your mind by reading a book and let your body’s natural fatigue take over.
Create a Sleep Alarm
Instead of a wake-up alarm, which you likely need as well, set an alarm that reminds you to get into bed. Often, the reason that we do not get a full night’s rest is because we get distracted before bed. By setting an alarm, even if you get wrapped up in an activity, you can remind yourself that you wanted to get some extra sleep. Even if you do not fall asleep right away, getting into bed at an earlier time means that you’ll fall asleep at an earlier time and as a result get more of the sleep you need.
Relax Your Mind and Body
Feeling relaxed before getting into bed is a key to falling asleep. Try relaxing your body by doing some gentle stretches or light yoga. You can also use progressive relaxation techniques by tightening every muscle in your body for ten seconds and then releasing. This relaxes your body and also helps reduce any muscle pains or aches that you are having. Additionally, it’s important to relax your mind as well. Try keeping a journal that allows you to release any busy or worrying thoughts that you are having right before bed. Also, visualize soothing images such as a peaceful place or clouds floating through the sky. This will help to quiet your mind and stop it from racing with anxious thoughts.
Use Cherry Juice or Melatonin
If you require a bit of help falling asleep, then it is best that you avoid using sleeping pills if possible. Instead, try using as natural supplements as you possibly can. For instance, taking a melatonin capsule is a natural remedy to help you dose off, as is drinking cherry juice concentrate mixed with some water. If you decide to take melatonin, then it is best that you do so while you are reading a book or lying down to go to bed. It will help gently nudge you to dreamland, but it won’t do much if you are still active.
Don’t Look at the Clock
Once you shut your lights off, avoid looking at the time even if you do end up waking up at night. If you do give in to the temptation of looking at what time it is you’ll start worrying about how long you have been in bed and exactly how many hours are left before you have to get up in the morning, which will just create even more anxiety and keep you up even longer.
Be Aware of Your Posture
The position that you sleep in does matter. Find a sleep position that is comfortable for you, but that still supports a healthy sleep posture. Ensure each part of your body is comfortable, and it is recommended that you purchase a high-quality pillow that will give your neck support and align your body properly. Sleep doctors usually recommended that you get used to falling asleep on your side, but if you must, sleeping on your back is fine too. Try lying in the same position every night so that your body gets accustomed to falling asleep the same way each night.
Don’t Drink Caffeine in the Evening or Late Afternoons
For obvious reasons, drinking coffee after 4pm won’t aid you in falling asleep. If you feel like you need a little boost in the afternoon, then try drinking something that has a bit less caffeine than a cup of coffee. For instance, try your hand at drinking green or black tea. If you love the flavor of coffee, then try drinking decaf instead. Only drinking coffee in the morning and forgoing it the rest of the day will ensure that there is no caffeine left in your system when it is time to hit the sack. Coffee isn’t the only type of beverage that interferes however, as any alcohol will too. Additionally, it’s best to avoid drinking too much water right before you go to bed, as you’ll end up getting up several times during the night in order to use the restroom.