Do you have trouble falling asleep at night? Or do you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep? If so, you’re not alone.
In this fast-paced world filled with screens and countless distractions, there are many things that can cause sleeping problems, from stress and anxiety, to medications and eating habits. But there’s still hope for a good night’s rest! In this article, we will discuss five tips that can help you fall asleep faster —and stay asleep.
1. Establish a regular sleep schedule
If you find yourself wide awake at 11PM, scrolling through your social media channels and wondering why you can’t fall asleep any earlier, it might be time to establish a regular sleep schedule. In fact, your habit of scrolling through social media is negatively impacting your ability to fall asleep at a reasonable hour (which we’ll talk more about later).
Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day is simply a habit that can be developed (even for you) over time, by making some small changes to your nightly routine. It all starts with establishing a bedtime. If you know you need to be up early the next day, make sure your bedtime allows for 7-9 hours of sleep.
2. Create a relaxing bedtime routine
Prior to your “lights out” time, you should have a nightly routine designed to mentally and physically prepare yourself for sleep. If you have trouble falling asleep already, you know how important it is to wind down for the night before attempting to fall asleep. This means no more work in bed, no more screens (of any kind), and no more stressful or stimulating activities.
Stop scrolling on social media —it’s poison for a calm mind. It is designed to keep the user stimulated, constantly moving from one post to the next without ever fully focusing on one thing for more than a few seconds at a time. This can turn the inside of your head into a madhouse pretty quickly (as you probably know).
Instead, opt for a relaxing activity such as reading a book, taking a bath, writing, meditating, or stretching. Writing is great for anyone who’s mind runs like crazy as you’re trying to fall asleep. Start a journal and get all of your thoughts out on paper. You’ll find that your mind is much quieter when you go to bed, and you may even end up resolving some internal conflicts along the way.
Another great tip for quick relaxation near bedtime (or anytime) is the 4-7-8 breathing technique. Relax the muscles in your face, inhale through the nose for a count of 4, hold for 7, and exhale through the mouth for 8, repeating at least 4-5 times.
3. Don’t eat large meals before bed
We’ve all been there before —stuffed from dinner and struggling to keep our eyes open. It’s not a good feeling (and it doesn’t make for a restful night). Eating a large meal right before bed can cause indigestion and heartburn, making it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. If you are going to eat dinner close to your bedtime, make sure it is a light meal.
If you are using cannabis to help you fall asleep at night, make sure to avoid strains that induce the munchies! Jokes aside though, there are many marijuana benefits you can enjoy —including improved sleep for those with severe insomnia.
4. Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption
This one should be pretty obvious, but we’ll mention it anyway. Caffeine is a stimulant, which means it will be very difficult to fall asleep —unless you have a strong tolerance for caffeine, in which case, you have an entirely different issue to remedy.
If you are someone who enjoys a cup of coffee in the evening, despite it being borderline blasphemous, drink de-caf. If you want to sleep well throughout the night, stop drinking any caffeine after 3-4PM.
When it comes to alcohol, although it might make you feel sleepy at first, it actually disrupts your sleep later in the night, as it inhibits restful sleep by pushing your heart rate into survival mode —which will undoubtedly awaken you before your alarm goes off.
5. Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet
When it comes to creating the perfect environment for sleep, most people focus on the bed. But your bedroom is so much more than just a place to rest your head —it’s an extension of your sleeping brain. So if you want to fall asleep and stay asleep, make sure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet.
This list of tips is far from exhaustive. There are plenty of other things you can do to fall asleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night. But these are some of the most effective tips that we’ve found. Give them a try and see for yourself!