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.
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