alling asleep is a tall order for so many people, but it doesn’t have to be!
Having trouble falling asleep can be caused by one or many different parts of a lot of people's daily lives including stress and caffeine. There are ways to make it easier to fall asleep even with those things remaining present in your daily life.
As a side note, if you have some kind of sleeping disorder, these tips may be able to help you, but contacting a medical professional is our first and most important tip for you. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get started on the strategies to help you get to sleep faster!
Get Some Sunlight
Have you ever been on a camping trip without any phones or other electrical distractions? If you have, then you know that falling asleep on those adventures doesn’t just happen quicker, but it also happens earlier than normal.
A lot of people go to be in that 11pm to 1am range on a regular basis, but on a camping trip, people tend to fall asleep not long after it’s dark out. Why? Because the shift from sunlight to no sunlight is an indication to your body that it’s time to sleep.
This principle can help you out in your daily life. Getting as much sunlight as you can during the day can make the darkness in your bedroom at bedtime an even more potent sleep motivator than it already is.
If one of the main reasons for you having a tough time falling asleep is that you don’t feel sleepy when it’s time for bed, this tip could really help you with that.
Workout Well Before Your Bedtime
This may seem like a regular tip for leading a healthy lifestyle, but our point is to make sure that you work out at least an hour before bedtime.
The point of this time distinction is to allow your body enough time to come down from the intensities of working out before you want to go to sleep. In general working out is a healthy habit, and it's especially for sleeping as it can make you feel more tired than you normally would as the day goes on (duh).
One important note about that though is if you workout a few hours before bed and need a cup of coffee to keep you awake until you want to sleep, it might be a better choice to work out earlier in the day.
The general consensus is that if you drink coffee, working out in the morning and having a cup before and/or after that to keep yourself from getting tired is the best way to go.
Pump The Breaks on Caffeine
Caffeine is amazing - we know that. But you can definitely have too much of a good thing, especially in this case.
According to sleepeducation.org, it can take up to an hour for caffeine to kick in, and it can take upwards of five hours to wear off. That’s why we suggest that you don’t drink any caffeine less than six hours before your target bedtime.
That way, you give the caffeine time to work its magic but you also give it time to completely wear off.
We all know that coffee is full of caffeine, but it’s important to remember that sodas, tea, and some other beverages also have caffeine in them. Even if the drink only has a little bit of caffeine, you should give it the same amount of time to wear off before bed as you would a cup of coffee.
Napping can be a healthy part of a tiresome day, but just like anything else, napping too much can serve as a detriment to your sleep.
Everyone who has taken naps as an adult understands the pitfalls of taking a nap and having it turn into more of a short slumber. You set your alarm for 30 minutes but you snooze it until the nap accidentally becomes a 3 hour sleep sesh.
That kind of thing can be a real sleep killer later on in the night because long naps make you stay up later and can eventually mess with your whole sleep cycle making you even more tired the next day.
That’s not to say that all naps are bad though. Napping for about 20 minutes is ideal because it’s long enough to recharge you, but not long enough for you to go into a deep sleep.
Another strategy that has been gaining popularity is what’s known as a coffee nap. A coffee nap is when you drink a cup of coffee and then immediately take a 20-30 minute nap. That way, you’ll be waking up just as the coffee starts to hit and you’ll feel extra recharged.
According to some, coffee naps are actually more effective than napping or drinking coffee alone. That comes as no surprise as this method kills two birds with one stone.
Create Your Own Night Time Routine
This is another great way to get your body in the habit of being ready to sleep. Make up a routine for when you are preparing to go to bed.
This routine can be as simple as brushing your teeth and reading a book for 15 minutes before you go to sleep. There is one thing that you should include in your nightly routine that you may not love, and that’s not using your phone.
Not using your phone 30 minutes before bedtime is important in getting a good night sleep and falling asleep in a shorter amount of time. The light from your phone triggers the same response from your body as daylight because of how close and directly the light goes into your eyes.
Take the Military’s Advice
The military has a pretty well known trick to getting soldiers to go to sleep as quickly as possible. This trick worked for soldiers, “even after drinking coffee and with gunfire noises in the background.” That’s pretty hardcore, but if it works for them, it can work for you.
The trick should allow you to fall asleep in two minutes. That almost certainly won't’ happen the first time that you try it though. This method takes at least a month to get good at, but we promise that it’s worth your time.
After a month of practicing this technique, you should be able to fall asleep faster than ever!
Focus on Being Comfortable
If you’ve tried everything else and nothing seems to be working, don’t get frustrated with yourself, just appreciate the bed you’re laying in, or the pillow your head is resting on.
Focus on the positives of just being in bed, because although you may not be asleep, that doesn't mean that you’re not giving your body some rest. Although just resting while you’re awake isn’t as important as sleep, it also has some serious benefits.
The more that you focus on how comfortable you are and how restful you feel, the closer you’ll get to sleep.
Change Your Physical Space
This one is a bit of a last resort. If you’ve given a good try to the rest of these tips and nothing is working, just for the night, try relocating yourself.
Whether that’s the couch in the living room, or the floor next to you with pillows lining the ground, it may actually help to just be in a different space.
If this helps you fall asleep or at least get closer to falling asleep, then you know for sure that the problem you’re having is totally under your control because simply moving areas allowed you to get to sleep. That means that this problem is totally under your control.
Knowing this will also help you get to bed in the future if you’re having a similar problem.
As we’re sure you’ve noticed, a lot of these tips happen before you even get to bed. Once you’re in bed, there isn’t that much you can do if you’ve had four cups of coffee and you worked out 20 minutes beforehand.
Getting a good night’s rest is something that is often a result of healthy daily habits, not just tricks that you can employ when you’re laying in bed trying to force yourself to sleep. That is unless you’ve mastered that military technique of course.
So all in all, if you’re living a healthy life, there’s a much better chance that you’ll get a healthy night sleep.
Now go get some sleep!
Image courtesy of helpguide.org.