Over 50% of adults report regular problems with sleeping – are you one of them? While ongoing sleep problems require identifying and treating the cause(s), here are 17 tips to help you fall asleep faster.
- Avoid caffeine in the evenings-stick to non-caffeinated coffee, herbal tea, water, etc.
- Don’t drink alcohol in the evenings.
- Don’t go to bed hungry but also don’t eat a big meal late in the evening.
- Make your bedroom a pleasant, relaxing place to be, uncluttered, pleasant smelling, soothing decor, and a cooler temperature.
- Have a bedtime routine – go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, give your mind and body 30-60 minutes to relax and unwind before bed [turn those screens off!], and practise relaxation, meditation, or yoga before sleeping.
- Turn your clock to face away from you or get it out of your bedroom altogether. Avoid clock watching. This leads to increased worry and negative sleep thoughts.
- Listen to sleep-enhancing music that slows down your brainwaves, such as Delta-based music. If using a tablet or laptop or TV, find music that goes to black screen after 10 minutes or so.
- A warm bath (not hot) before bed can help you relax.
- Slow your breathing, taking breaths from your stomach, not your chest.
- Consciously tense and relax your muscles from the head down – eyes, cheeks, neck, shoulders, arms, back, hip teas, feet. Tense your muscles for about 5 seconds (e.g. screw your eyes tight, do a big grin, clench your fists) then relax before moving to the next set of muscles.
- Practise “image distraction.” Imagine a calm, soothing place. Focus on what you can see – the scenery, colours, shapes. Imagine the sounds and smells in the scene. Experience the physical sensations (e.g. warm breeze on your body). Let your mind become totally absorbed in this imaginary scene.
- Use aromatherapy – good scent choices are lavender, sage, and camomile.
- Make sure your mattress is right for you. Too hard or too soft or too saggy makes it hard to fall (or stay) asleep.
- Try a weighted blanket. Some people find these special blankets promote a strong feeling of comfort and therefore relaxation.
- Avoid smoking in the evening. Nicotine is a stimulant.
- If you often find yourself thinking and worrying about things you have to do, take some time before preparing for bed to write down what you need to do the next day so you don’t have to worry about remembering it.
- Then, set yourself for rejuvenating sleep by reflecting on everything you are grateful for, what you’re looking forward too, and envisioning the next day going well. This sets your mind up to continue focusing on these thoughts and images while you sleep and moves you away from initiating sleep during a stress state.
Photo credit: Unsplash, Claudia Manas