The importance of sleep cannot be overemphasized. According to sleep experts, you need at least 7 hours of sleep each night to enable your brain and body function properly. Lack of sleep can lead to weight gain, memory loss, mood swings, and a host of respiratory diseases.
It takes the average person 7 minutes to fall asleep. Some require longer than 7 minutes and others require less time. While some people do not have any difficulty falling and staying asleep, others do.
If you are one of those that find it hard to fall asleep without a sleeping pill or other medications, be rest assured you’re not alone. There are proven tips to help you fall asleep fast.
Why Do I Wake Up at 3 a.m. for No Reason?
Do you wake up at odd times during the night and wonder why? For some people, this is normal. It is because the body is shifting its position and you might be transitioning from one stage of sleep to another.
If you go to bed by 11 a.m., you’re likely to be up at 3 a.m. because this is when you transition from deep sleep to extended periods of lighter sleep, called REM. At the REM stage, your brain is more active so this might wake you up.
Waking up at night for no reason isn’t a problem, especially when you go back to sleep almost immediately. It becomes an issue when you can’t fall asleep. Waking up regularly at odd hours for no reason could be a sign of insomnia.
About 30% of Americans suffer from insomnia, a sleep disorder where you’re unable to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night. Having symptoms of insomnia doesn’t mean you have an underlying health issue. Sometimes it could be because of stress or other environmental factors.
7 Things to Help You Fall Asleep Fast
While some people can fall asleep as soon as they hit the bed, irrespective of the environmental factors, others need more help to fall asleep.
Below are seven things you can do to create your optimal sleep environment:
- Dim your lights
- Ensure the room is cool enough for you (air conditioning)
- Introduce noise to drown out any disturbing sounds
- Ensure you have the right bedding
- Practice yoga poses
- Maintain a consistent schedule
- Eat the right dinner
Recommended Relaxing Sounds to Fall Asleep Fast
While disturbing noise like snoring and the barking of a dog can keep you up at night, other sounds like raindrops can relax your brain and help you fall asleep fast. Some people find the silence at night disturbing, so they would require some sound to help them sleep. These sleep-inducing sounds can be listened to on a sleep machine, computer, or a smartphone. Below is a list of three best background noises that can help you sleep better.
- White Noise: This combines noise frequencies to create a steady hum that drowns out other disturbing sounds in the background. Some examples of white noise include a whirring fan, humming air conditioner, or a radio/television static. If you can’t fall asleep or stay asleep for long, a white noise machine or MP3 tracks can help you doze off quickly.
- Pink Noise: These are sounds with a consistent frequency that creates a deep sound. You can find pink noise in nature, such as heartbeats, steady rainfall, wind, or rustling leaves. Pink noises found on a smartphone app like NoiseZ can help you sleep better.
- Music: Soft tunes like classical music without lyrics are great for inducing sleep. They can also improve your memory and brainpower. A good bedtime playlist on your smartphone or your MP3 player can lull you to sleep.
Bedding to Help You Fall Asleep Fast
Although everyone has their unique sleep habits, we all need bedding that supports our body and sleep style. The foundation of good sleep starts with your beddings and selecting the right one should be your top priority.
To pick the right bedding to help you fall asleep fast, there are a few things to consider. For example, a person suffering from back pain might require a different mattress and pillow from a person with neck pain.
Sleeping on a good mattress gives great support to your body and, by extension, it can increase or decrease the quality of your sleep.
Picking the right mattress doesn’t mean a high price tag, but what you want in a mattress. If you can’t sleep because of back or neck pain, you should go for a mattress that is not too soft or hard. A soft mattress will not give your back and neck the support it needs, while a hard mattress will put pressure on your body. However, a medium-firm mattress will give your spine the right amount of cushioning and support it needs.
If your doctor has recommended you elevate your head while you sleep because of some health issues, then you should invest in an adjustable bed. You can adjust your knees and hips up to a 90-degree angle, taking the pressure off sore joints and improving sleep.
Having a hard time sleeping does not always mean the mattress you have is not right for you. It could mean it is due for a change. A mattress has a certain lifespan. When you keep them for too long, the form and other properties used in making it breaks down. When this happens, its ability to support your body becomes compromised.
If you’ve had your mattress for over 10 years, it is time to shop for a new one.
When you have difficulty falling asleep, your pillow is the last thing you would blame. However, the quality of your pillow plays an important role in the quality of your sleep.
Nowadays, organic pillows are gaining popularity, and that is because they are made from organic cotton free from pesticides and other chemicals.
Sometimes, mold, dust mites, mildew, and other microbes might cause allergies and affect your sleep quality. Investing in an organic pillow will mean supporting your head with a pillow resistant to such microbes.
Asides from being environmentally friendly, health-friendly, and comfortable to use, organic pillows are durable and easy to maintain.
Yoga Poses Before Bed
Practicing yoga just before bedtime is a great way to ease into a restful night. A quiet yoga practice aimed at taking deep breaths to calm your nerves and mind and release physical tensions. It is effective in counteracting stress because it combines breath and movement to activate your parasympathetic nervous system.
Next time you’re having a hard time falling or staying asleep, practice a few restorative poses to encourage relaxation and soothe your nervous system.
You will need a bolster, block, and blanket. Remember to take deep inhalations and exhalations.
Reset Sleep Schedule
Yes, your body can be trained on when to go to bed and when to wake up. You may have noticed you feel sleepy around the same time each night and even wake up at a particular time without the help of your alarm.
It is very easy for our bodies to follow a consistent sleep pattern, and you can use this to your advantage if you have trouble sleeping. If you have a bad sleep schedule, like going to bed late or refusing to yield to sleep when it comes, this might be a good time to change it.
These habits can disrupt your sleep schedule and make falling or staying asleep difficult. Here are a few tips to reset your sleep schedule.
- Gradually adjust your bedtime by going to bed 15 minutes earlier every two nights until you get to your desired hour.
- Do not nap. Napping during the day can interfere with your sleep at night. When you feel like napping, engage in some other activities to chase the sleepiness away. This way you can save sleep for later.
- Avoid exposing your eyes to light before bedtime. Bright lights can shift your sleep time to a later schedule. When it’s almost bedtime, it is recommended you dim your lights. That includes lights from your laptop, TV, or your cellphone.
- Stick to your bedtime no matter what because one late night can mess up your progress.
Foods to Eat for Dinner to Fall Asleep Fast
Some studies have shown that eating less functional foods is a major cause of insomnia. So changing your diet can help you sleep better because some foods have sleep-inducing properties. If you’re hoping for better sleep at night, try these foods.
- Tart cherry juice
- Chamomile tea
- Fatty fish
- Passionflower tea
- White rice
- Cottage cheese
The above foods can help regulate hormones and brain chemicals such as melatonin and serotonin. To get the benefits of these sleep-inducing foods, it is best to eat them 3 hours before going to bed. This will prevent digestive issues such as acid reflux.