Ways to Fall Asleep Faster & Sleep Better: 10 Strategies for Better Sleep

You’re looking for ways to fall asleep faster and sleep better after too many nights tossing and turning, or thinking and overthinking, or reading one more chapter or finishing one more level while repeatedly calculating how much sleep you could get if you fell asleep right now. Then waking too soon, too tired, and not rested. Lack of sleep can add to stress, anxiety, and depression and makes life in every area harder. Please use these ways to fall asleep faster and sleep better to get more rest and feel better overall.

1. Evaluate your bedroom and your bed.  Is it comfortable, cozy, and restful?  Or is it full of clutter, screens, and a lumpy mattress?  If your mattress is uncomfortable and you can’t afford a new one, try a mattress topper.  Make sure your sheets and pillowcases are clean and soft, and tidy up your room.  A soothing paint color on the walls wouldn’t hurt either, if it’s doable for you. Room-darkening curtains can be excellent as well.

2. Create and follow a bedtime routine.  It doesn’t have to be elaborate or complicated, or even very long.  Lock the doors, turn off lights, brush your teeth and pee, turn back your covers, climb in and adjust your pillows just so, and read for a few minutes or listen to some music.  Or use any combination of activities that works for you and your lifestyle.  As long as you are consistent and do the same few things in the same order each night, it will help prepare your body for sleep and make it easier and easier to fall asleep over time.

3. Limit caffeine, avoiding it completely at least 4 hours before you need to fall asleep.  Caffeine is a stimulant that can chase sleep away.  Some people find that chocolate has the same effect, while milky drinks are often considered more relaxing.

4. Limit alcohol.  It may make it easier to fall asleep, but you will be more likely to wake up in the night, and you won’t feel as well-rested the next day.

5. Adjust your lighting. Dim your lights an hour before you want to fall asleep.  Turn off overhead or fluorescent lights completely, avoid blue light, and try using lower-wattage lamps instead.  It’s amazing the difference lighting can make.

6. Minimize screens in the bedroom, and if you can’t avoid them entirely for whatever reason (no judgment here!), then adjust the brightness setting of the screen to a dimmer level, use the night-time settings on your phone, or wear an eye-mask to block out someone else’s screen light.

7. Cover the face of your clock or position it so you can’t see the time.  Avoid watching the clock, as it will just increase your stress levels, making it even harder to sleep.  (This goes for time-tellers on phones as well.)  Yes, worrying about not sleeping will keep you awake!

8. Keep a notepad by your bed so you can jot down worrisome thoughts or random to-do list items that demand to be remembered. Empty your head onto the paper and tell yourself that those items will be there in the morning, so you can think about them tomorrow.

9. Use a relaxation technique or guided imagery or mindful breathing.  Meditation Oasis is an excellent source for guided relaxation and guided imagery, with many options to choose from.   A helpful and simple mindful breathing technique is to breathe slowly and deeply, while counting to four in your head on each inhale and exhale.  Repeat.  Keep repeating.

10. Listen to something soothing or boring. For example, Sleep with Me podcasts are designed to bore you to sleep!  Or you can listen to an audiobook of an old favorite that you know and love.  It will be comforting and without suspense to keep you awake, since you already know what’s coming. Or listen to soothing or familiar music, music that doesn’t bring up or feed unpleasant or restless thoughts or emotions. Classical music, lullabies, and songs in a language you don’t understand can be good choices. Aim to find something that you can listen to every night, as it will become more effective with repetition. If listening to stories or music doesn’t work for you, then try white noise.  You can use a fan, a white noise machine, or a white noise app.  You can always add earplugs, too.

Avoid anything too suspenseful or exciting!

If you simply cannot fall asleep yet and you have tried all of the above, don’t stay in bed worrying about it.  (Worry chases sleep away.)  Instead, get up and spend time doing a quiet activity that you find relaxing, like reading or knitting or playing solitaire.  Wait until you start feeling a little more sleepy, then try again.

For the best and longest-lasting results and change in habits, keep a sleep diary for at least a week as you try new things to help you sleep.  Note what you tried, how well it worked, and how you felt upon waking.  If nothing worked, try something different.  This will help you find what works best for you.

If you suffer from chronic insomnia and none of these ideas are working for you, consider talking to your doctor about melatonin or a sleep aid and/or finding a good therapist to help you sort out any thoughts and feelings interfering with your sleep.

There you go, sleepyhead, some effective and lasting ways to fall asleep faster and sleep better overall. Please comment below to share what bedtime tips work best for you. And sleep sweet, friend.

Recommended reading: Self-Care Activities 

8 Replies to “Ways to Fall Asleep Faster & Sleep Better: 10 Strategies for Better Sleep”

  1. I remember a particular time where I had a big test coming up, on the night of the test I couldn’t fall asleep.
    The thought of not being able to sleep, just made me more stressful, which of courses caused be to be even more awake.

    I got reminded that someone once told me that if you simply lie there on the bed with your eyes closed and rest your body, it would be helpful and the body would get som sort of rest. So that’s exactly what I did. I just pretended to go to sleep.

    Once I thought to myself that pretending to sleep would have a close effect to sleeping, I simply relaxed, and in minutes I was out.

    Is it true? If we rest our body, even while we are awake, will it have a similar efffect as sleeping?

    1. Nothing is as good as sleeping, but savasana (“corpse pose”) in yoga is the next best thing. If you can deeply relax your body and your mind, it will definitely have benefits. 🙂

  2. Fantastic advice here. I’ve always had trouble sleeping, ever since I was a child. I felt like I’d tried everything and then one day I just decided to accept the fact that I was not good at sleeping. I stopped tossing and turning and started getting up and doing something else when I couldn’t sleep and it changed everything. I actually sleep better knowing that I’m not putting any pressure on myself. I think we make the situation worse for ourselves when we lay in bed obsessing about not being asleep!

    1. Yes, it’s amazing how once someone accepts sleeplessness instead of fighting, they may have a better chance of falling asleep! Thanks so much for being here. 🙂

  3. Great tips!
    For me, the biggest impact was darkening the room as much as possible – removing all sources of light (including the alarm clock) and trying to quite down all the noises around me. Also using the f.lux app on my PC was a good move. You enter your location and it predicts when the sun sets and adjusts the lighting (colors) of the screen.

    1. Darkening the room is a must for me, too! I have room-darkening curtains and turn off every light and block the light form my alarm clock. It helps so much! The f.lux app sounds interesting–I’ll have to check it out. Thanks!

  4. Oh WOW. Believe it or not, but I’m writing this while being extremely tired. I couldn’t get much sleep last night. Well I did get to sleep – about 11 pm. But when I woke up about 1.30 am, I simply could not get back to sleep at ALL. My mind was so active, I couldn’t relax, I was tired but my mind wouldn’t let me go to sleep. I hate it when that happens. All up, I eventually got about 4 hours sleep. I was up until about 5.30 am before I nodded off. I hope I don’t experience that again.

    After reading your article, it looks like I won’t be, since I’ll be implementing everything you said.

    Thanks a lot!

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