Best Ways to Fall Asleep Fast
Don't Hate Me Because I Fall Asleep Quickly
Every morning, my spouse tells me how much I am hated. The reason is that I can fall asleep almost anywhere at anytime in a matter of a few seconds. Every night when my head hits the pillow, I know I'm going to be fast asleep in just a few seconds. I always like to say it's from clean living, but we both know that's not true.
Fact is, some folks can fall asleep faster than other folks. But that's not why you're reading this article. You want to know how to fall asleep fast.
I've heard all the supposed remedies like putting on a sleep mask, spraying lavender on your pillow, the old standard warm milk and even following the same routine each night before bedtime. The fact is that many of these do indeed work and will help.
These remedies may work for many folks, however, they may not work for everyone. For some folks, a simple pillow adjustment puts them right to sleep. For others, having a powerful and extremely loud and large industrial fan operating at top speed in the room is the only way they can get a solid night's rest.
After many years of studying the sleep patterns of friends and family members - including a child who has always had trouble falling asleep - I have discovered a few things that really do help. Remember that some things work for some people and not for others. Sometimes these methods need to be tried in combination with other methods.
Hopefully, you can find just the right combination for you and finally train yourself to fall asleep fast. Here's a few things I have learned that have helped others...
Eating, Drinking and the Good Sleep Connection
Have you ever had one of those nights when you slept all the way through but you just didn't feel rested? I have had a few of those unrestful nights, myself. I discovered that the kind of sleep you get is at least as important as the amount of sleep you get each night.
What I found was that drinking alcohol before bedtime may actually help you get to sleep, but it can be very disruptive to sleep restful patterns. Most people who drink, especially if they drink rather large amounts of alcohol, find that they wake up just a few hours after going to bed or experience fitful, restless sleep.
Large meals that include fatty, spicy or heavy foods that take longer to digest will also likely cause low quality, restless sleep. One thing I have discovered since I turned 50 years of age is that I cannot eat pizza or any other heavy Italian food for at least 5 to 6 hours before bedtime. I know I'm going to have reflux problems along with poor sleep.
If you want to fall asleep faster, avoid alcohol in large amounts (or avoid it entirely several hours before bedtime) and don't indulge in heavy meals that may be greasy or spicy too soon before bedtime. Doing either of these will likely lead to light or restless sleep.
Switching Off Your Mind for Better Sleep
This was always a big issue for me in earlier years. I worked in the advertising agency business which is very, very stressful and fast-moving. When I was at the agency, I had to be 100% ON the entire time.
That was great for working but bad when it came time for sleeping. I would lay my head down and everything was still going inside - i liken it to a high-speed freight train running through my mind - very fast, very noisy, very big and not easy to stop.
Here's what I discovered that helped me fall asleep faster. The brain actually becomes more active when we go to sleep, however, it's a different type of brain activity.
Parts of your brain that are off during waking hours are suddenly switched on at bedtime. The normal brain before sleep begins turning on to all the things inside the mind and turning off from all the external stimuli.
As I would drift off to sleep, I would be less and less aware of the outside reality and more aware of the "reality" that was going on inside my mind (This is why some dreams seem so vivid and lifelike.).
In my case, everything that was going on at the agency was also going on in my mind. That's why it seemed like I just couldn't switch it off. Take a look at the tips in the column to the right to find out some of the ways I switch off my mind.
The 5 Best Ways to Shut Down a Brain and Fall Asleep Fast
Restful Environment. One of the absolute best ways to fall asleep fast is to make a place exclusively for sleeping. Make the bedroom a place for rest and relaxation, a place associated with good, positive and relaxing experiences.
Replace bright lights with dim, warm colored light. Remember, your brain has photoreceptors that sense light even when your eyes are closed. The darker the room, the better the sleep.
Eliminate Electronics. Surfing the web, working on the computer, playing video games or watching television keep the brain active and delay the onset of sleep. To fall asleep fast, you need to eliminate all visually stimulating electronics and allow your brain to prepare for sleep.
Reading is helpful because it mimics inner focus - the brain uses a similar process to help you fall asleep fast. Unlike electronic and visual stimuli, reading doesn't stimulate the orientation response (this allows your brain to focus on to new images) and keep you awake.
Eating and Drinking. While you can fall sleep fast after drinking alcohol or eating a big meal, your sleep is more likely to be light, fitful and in interrupted. Sometimes it's about the quality of sleep rather than the quantity.
Sure, alcohol can help you fall asleep but it will likely wake you after just a few hours. Going to sleep after a big meal can lead to acid reflux or other digestive problems. If you're over 50 years of age, you may be very familiar with this potential problem.
Write Down Worries. Worrying is perhaps one of the most common problems for those trying to fall asleep fast - or fall asleep at all. Now, I'm not going to tell you to stop worrying - that would be so simple, but probably not effective. A worrying mind is a stimulated mind and not ready for sleep. The challenge is handling worry properly.
Turn Off, Tune Out. Getting your mind to "switch off" at the end of the day can be a difficult challenge for some people. The trick is to get the mind to focus on internal things and cease focusing on external stimuli. This is why reading works so well - it allows you to focus inside your mind and turn off to the external.
Take a look at the next section to the lower left titled "My Method to Shut Down and Fall Asleep Fast" for some helpful tips on a method that works for me everytime.
The Link Between Blue Light, Electronics and Non-Restful Sleep Patterns
Research conducted at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School compared effects of blue light and green light present at night.
The study showed that volunteers who were subjected to the blue light had quicker reaction times, had fewer lapses in attention and were less sleepy when compared with those volunteers exposed to green light. Researchers also noted brain activity patterns which indicated a more alert state.
Research has also revealed that the human eye is used for more than just seeing things. The human eye has certain photoreceptors that are used to detect light for purposes other than sight and reset the body's internal clock to the 24-hour day.
Some people who are completely blind are still able to sense colors of light through these photoreceptors. This allows them to follow a regular work-in-the-day/sleep-at-night pattern even though cannot see the difference between day or night.
If you have a television or computer in your bedroom or if you are surfing or watching television before bed time, you may not feel as sleepy. Photorecptors in your eye may be detecting the presence of blue light in your bedroom and may be keeping you up or even affecting your sleep patterns after you've gone to asleep.
Read more about this study -CLICK HERE.
Here's the bottom line - avoid computer time, gaming, surfing, FaceBook, television, etc. - anything with a blue screen - for several hour before your bedtime. Prepare your brain ahead of time and you will likely fall asleep faster at bedtime.
I know from personal experience that this does work. My own daughter, who has difficulty falling asleep anyway, was staying up late watching television or sitting in front of a computer. When she went to bed, her brain was still alert.
We suggested she alter her schedule a bit, allow for about an hour of quiet reading time before bed and she was indeed able to fall asleep faster at bedtime.
Best iPhone Apps to Help You Fall Asleep Fast
- Ten Top Sleep Aid Apps for the Desperate Insomniac -- AppAdvice
A listing and review of the best sleep aids available on the iPhone - most of them free!
Some items That Others Have Found Helpful to Fall Asleep Fast...
My Method to Shut Down and Fall Asleep Fast
Try this simple and easy method for falling asleep fast:
Assume a comfortable sleeping position and find a single spot on which to focus your eyes. Make a mental note of the things you can see in your peripheral vision. If the room is dark, imagine seeing these things in your periphery.
With your eyes still open and focused on a single spot, begin to make a mental note of the sounds you hear. Next, begin to focus on any physical sensations that you may feel - the softness of the pillow, the warmth or coolness of the sheets, even the movement and rhythm of your breathing.
Now close your eyes and do the same thing in your mind. Imagine 3 places that are quiet and restful. Then imagine 3 sounds that are comforting and relaxing. Finally, imagine 3 physical sensations that make you feel relaxed. Continue doing this until you become relaxed. You will eventually fall asleep.
Tip: When I use this technique, I rarely get past the first imaginations of relaxing things seen and I'm off to sleep. What helps me to fall asleep even faster is restful music or sounds.
If you have an iPhone, you can get these types of soundscape Apps to use in helping you fall asleep. My favorite is the quiet forest rain complete with occasional distant thunder or the distant chirping of crickets - so peaceful.