The clock is ticking.
Ding, dong. Ding, dong.
You’re about to lose it.
You’ve spent the last 2 hours in bed trying your hardest to fall asleep – to no avail.
Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. Whether it’s due to stress, poor lifestyle habits, or perhaps a medical condition, we’ve all suffered from insomnia at one point or another.
But when the situation becomes chronic – with you being unable to fall asleep night after night – that’s when things become tough.
Luckily, sleeping faster doesn’t have to be a huge challenge. With a few simple tweaks and tricks, it’s possible to fall asleep within minutes, and wake up feeling refreshed the next morning.
Let me show you how.
#1 Turn off the TV
Besides drinking coffee, watching the TV is probably the worst thing you can do for your sleep.
In fact, any kind of electronic device usage should be forbidden if you have problems sleeping.
These devices all emit blue light. We experience this kind of light from the sun, during the day.
Blue light tells our brain to stay alert and active. While that’s a good thing during the day, it’s not so much when you want to sleep.
When you expose yourself to artificial blue light at night, your brain will be tricked into thinking it’s still day. Which will make it hard for you to fall asleep. (1)
Action step: don’t use any electronic devices at least 1 hour before bed. If you absolutely must, use blue-light blocking glasses or computer programs such as flux which reduce blue light.
#2 Get 15 Minutes of Daylight in the Morning
If you’re looking to sleep faster, getting enough daily bright light is just as important as avoiding blue light at night is.
Your body has its own internal clock. This clock adjusts itself according to the environmental stimuli – such as light. When you expose yourself to daylight in the morning, your body gets the signal: “okay, it’s time to get up and get moving!”
As the dusk comes and it gets darker, your body starts producing melatonin, the sleep hormone. This tells it it’s time to fall asleep.
However, if you don’t expose yourself to light during the day, and keep staring at your smartphone at night, your internal clock will get confused. (2)
By exposing yourself to bright light early in the day, you bring balance to your circadian rhythm.
If getting sunlight in the morning isn’t an option for you, then consider buying a bright light emitting device which mimics natural sunlight.
Action step: Get at least 5-15 minutes of daylight in the morning. This resets your internal clock so it knows when it’s time to unwind and fall asleep. If this isn’t possible for you, try investing in a bright light device which essentially does the same thing.
#3 Take a Relaxing Walk
How to sleep faster?
Stress doesn’t just affect your mental state. It also ruins your physical health and makes you unable to sleep. (4)
That’s due to cortisol, a hormone which releases when you’re stressed. In combination with other stress hormones, such as adrenaline and norepinephrine, cortisol will make falling asleep seem like a mission impossible.
One of the best ways to reduce cortisol is to take a long, relaxing walk. Preferably 1-2 hours before bed. This will clear your mind, lower stress levels, and put you into a headspace where you’ll find it much easier to fall asleep when you turn to bed.
Other ways to reduce stress include:
- Positive affirmations (thinking positive thoughts before bed)
- Drinking chamomile tea
- Write what’s stressing you on a piece of paper (aka journaling)
Action step: You want to keep your cortisol low at night to sleep faster. One of the best ways to do this is to take a long walk 1-2 hours before bed. Alternatively, try yoga, meditation, or journaling.
Stretching ties in with taking long walks, in a sense that it also reduces stress.
You know that feeling when your muscles are tight?
That’s literally stress building up inside your tissues.
Sometimes, mental stress can become chronic, which your body can’t deal with on an ongoing basis. So it stores it into the muscle tissue. Especially around the shoulder and neck area.
One of the best ways to release built-up physical stress?
Yes, it’s stretching.
Action step: Stretch for at least 5 minutes before bed. Focus on stretching tight areas of your body. For most people, those are usually traps (upper back), neck, and shoulders. This will relieve the physical stress and subsequently reduce cortisol.
#5 Exercise (But not too late)
Truth be told, exercise can be a cure for almost anything. And poor sleep is no exception.
When you exercise, your body releases a cocktail of feel-good chemicals. These include serotonin and dopamine. On the other hand, cortisol (the stress hormone) levels drop down. (3)
There’s just something about a good workout session, where you channel all your frustrations out of your body. You then feel calm. Relaxed. And ready to fall asleep faster.
However, when I say exercise, I mean really intense exercise, such as sprints, weightlifting, or swimming. Something that keeps your heart rate very high for a short period of time.
Also, don’t exercise too late at night. Some studies show that while exercising early in the day improves sleep. Training too late can actually have the counter-effect.
Action step: Do some form of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) exercise which is shown to be effective at relieving stress. These exercises include sprints, weight training, and swimming. Just don’t train too late at night – this can actually distrupt sleep.
#6 Don’t Nap During the Day
The situation usually goes like this:
you can’t sleep at night, so during the day, you feel tired. As a result, you tend to take daytime naps.
However, while naps are healthy for most people, they do more harm than good to insomniacs.
Studies have shown that regular and late naps can lead to an inability to fall asleep at night. (5)
If you feel so tired that you can’t function normally, try taking a nap earlier in the day – no after 2 PM.
Action step: Avoid napping during the day. While naps do have health benefits, they’ll do more harm than good if you’re having trouble falling asleep at night.
#7 Use Lavender Essential Oil
There are certain scents which, when inhaled, promote sleep.
Lavender oil, a popular addition to aromatherapies, is one such scent. It’s shown positive effects on sleep in research. (6)
Try using a diffuser in your room at night, before going to bed. Make sure to use 100% pure essential oil from lavender. The better the quality, the better the effect it will have on your sleep.
Action step: Use a diffuser to spread the scent of lavender essential oil through your room at night. This will help you sleep faster. Make sure to use 100% pure lavender oil for best results.