September 16, 2013

How to Fall Asleep Faster: 6 Tips

I hate it when I’m falling asleep in front of the TV, but as soon as I lay in bed, I toss and turn, my mind wide awake! Has that ever happened to you?

We all know how important sleep is, and the earlier we can get to sleep, the better. So how can you get to sleep sooner?

Here are 6 tips for falling asleep faster:

1. White Noise

Setting up a source of white noise can make a big difference. It can be a machine that has various white noise settings, such as falling rain or water running, or it can be as simple as a small fan running near your bed. Some people choose to turn a radio on and listen to static as they fall asleep. Whatever it takes, get some white noise going to help you fall asleep faster.

2. Make Lists

Nothing seems to keep you awake more than a racing mind. Take a moment before falling asleep to write down the next day’s plans and to-do list, and if you need to, note down brief steps you plan to take to solve immediate problems. If it’s the long term you’re worried about, make a list of long-term goals and the steps necessary to accomplish them.

3. Put Your Body to Sleep

Used by some parents to help their babies and small children fall asleep, you can try this on yourself. Start with your toes, and “tell them goodnight.” You don’t have to say it, of course, but simply wiggle your toes a moment, and then tell them to relax. Do the same for your feet, legs, and so forth all the way up to your neck. Gradually relax each muscle group and body part. It will soon become second nature.

4. Cut the Caffeine

Ideally, try not to drink or eat caffeine-containing foods and beverages past 3pm, sources suggest. The caffeine needs time to process out of your system.

5. Is it Hot?

Your body naturally cools down when going to sleep, and experts maintain that cooling the room enhances this natural cool-down process. Turn the thermostat to a cooler setting, and use fans if you need to during summer (they may help with the white noise!).

6. Herbal Help

Chamomile and lavender are two sleep-promoting herbs that have a good safety record. Try a cup of chamomile tea right after dinner or an hour before bed (if you drink it right before you go to bed, it might get you up to go to the bathroom). Spray your sheets and pillow cases with lavender mist (mix 5-8 drops lavender essential oil with 1/4 cup water and 2 tablespoons rubbing alcohol in a mister). You can also make lavender tea from dried or fresh flowers and spray that. And sewing a little sachet of dried lavender flowers and slipping it under your pillow case can make for sweet dreams.

Another thing: it’s probably not a good idea to do what I do and watch TV right before bed. Some experts say watching TV or using the computer can make it harder to fall asleep. So if you’re like me, we should remove TV watching from our bedtime routines.

Sleep is hopefully just minutes away if you try some of these ideas. What are your strategies for falling asleep fast?

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Alexis Rodrigo

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