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Ways to Fall Asleep to Get the Rest You Need

Updated on July 26, 2015

Tips to Fall Asleep

Many people have difficulty falling asleep for various reasons. Whether you find it difficult to sleep after an eventful day, a stressful situation, a boring day or another reason, it is very frustrating to not be able to fall asleep. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to help you fall asleep sooner and more easily.

Put away those devices so you won't lay awake with your mind racing.
Put away those devices so you won't lay awake with your mind racing. | Source

Put Away the Devices

Electronic devices are often a very big part of our daily lives. However, these activities involving electronic devices should not be a part of your bedtime routine. Light emanating from your iPhone, Television, and more can cause your brain to be stimulated when it shouldn't be. Our brains are wired to wake up when there is light and to fall asleep when it is dark. Electronics often disrupt this routine. Additionally, checking twitter or playing a game on your device can cause your brain to work harder than it should when it should be winding down. Make sure you leave plenty of time before going to bed without using your devices. This will give your brain time to get ready to fall sleep. For example, I refrain from using electronic devices approximately one hour or more before I go to sleep. This gives me plenty of time to unwind and do what I need to do to get ready for bed.

Try picturing a scene in your head and a relaxing scenario.
Try picturing a scene in your head and a relaxing scenario.

Direct Your Thoughts

Though we often think we have no control over what pops into our heads, that is not necessarily the case. Keep your thoughts away from the events of the day and/or the future. Bedtime is not the time to regret what we did throughout the day or to fret about the events of tomorrow. If you begin to think about any of these events, direct your thoughts to something else. Bedtime is a wonderful time to use your imagination and think of scenarios that you would enjoy. For example, if you love nature, imagine yourself alongside the mountains or on the beach. Imagine the wildlife you would see, the sounds you would hear, etc.

If you aren’t able to direct your thoughts away easily at first, don’t worry. You will get better at doing this with practice. If you find you are having trouble directing your thoughts, write out all of the stressful events or thoughts you had about the day in a notebook right before you go to bed. This will help you get any stress out of your system. If you are worried about what needs to get done the next day, or about anything in the future, make a list on a piece of paper or notebook. This way you won’t worry all night about the forgetting the things you need to do the next day. If you happen to think of something you need to do the next day while you are laying in bed and it is really bothering you, use a book light to quickly write it down on a piece of paper and then go right back to bed. This will reassure you that you won’t forget and it won’t be in your subconscious all night.

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Read Something Uninteresting

Another activity you can do to get your brain ready for sleep is to read something that is rather monotonous. Make sure you don’t read an action story or something with an extremely engaging storyline. Try reading a textbook or a magazine with content that you are not extremely interested in. Reading will get your thoughts off of yourself, and will allow you to become drowsy and ready to drift off to sleep.

Keep it Dark

As mentioned earlier, it is important to make sure it is dark when you are getting ready for bed, and when you are trying to sleep. This lets your brain know it is time to sleep and not time to stay awake. Use curtains that are able to block out any light. Additionally, if you like at least a little light in your room, use a light that is very dim, or leave a light on in a nearby room. Leaving the television on at night can also affect your sleep. The television often flashes from dark to light and can adversely affect your sleep.

Tips to Fall Asleep

Minimize Background Noise

In addition to reducing as much light as possible, reducing noise can also help. Listening to music or leaving the television on may engage your brain without you realizing it, thus causing you to stay awake. On the other hand, sometimes white noise can actually help you to sleep. Sometimes a fan or a white noise machine can provide enough steady background noise to lull you to sleep.

Keep it Clean

If your surroundings are messy or unorganized, this could cause you to feel uneasy and prevent you from falling asleep faster or from sleeping soundly. This feeling may even be subconscious. Try to keep your room tidy to allow your body and mind to relax at night.

Try replacing soda with something like milk.
Try replacing soda with something like milk. | Source

Don't Stay Hungry

If you are hungry, you are much less likely to fall asleep. If this is the case for you, it is better to eat a small snack than lay awake hungry for an hour or more. When you go to get a snack, eat it in dim light and don’t be too hard on yourself for getting out of bed. You are much more likely to sleep now that you aren’t hungry anymore. Additionally, try not to drink or eat anything with caffeine several hours before you go to bed. Food and drinks with caffeine will cause your brain to stay awake longer. Instead of drinking a soft drink, go for something such as water or milk. If you are looking for a snack, try something like cheese, graham crackers, or cereal. These are more likely to calm your stomach and less likely to cause your brain to work too hard.

Take a warm shower or bath to relax your muscles.
Take a warm shower or bath to relax your muscles. | Source

Stay Comfortable

One important key to falling asleep is making sure you are comfortable. Sometimes we don’t even realize we are uncomfortable. Here are a few ways to make sure you are relaxed:

Relax your muscles: One method you can use is to tighten each muscle in your body separately, and then relax it slowly. This will make sure that all the muscles in your body are not tense, allowing you to fall asleep faster.

Take a shower or bath: Taking a shower or bath before you go to bed will also relax your muscles. The warm water may also make you drowsier and ready to fall asleep.

Temperature control: Another way to make sure you are comfortable is to be aware of the temperature. If you are too warm, use cooler blankets or cooler pajamas, and vice versa if you are too cold.

Don't Lose Hope

Being aware of methods to help you fall asleep faster is very important. Try out different options and see what works best for you. If something doesn't work right away, don't lose hope. Keep trying and stick with it. If it still doesn't seem to be working, try something new. There are many ways to fall asleep more easily. Sometimes worrying about falling asleep and thinking about it all the time can actually make the problem worse when it comes time to sleep. So make sure to keep your thoughts healthy, and don't give up to allow the sleep to come!

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    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      As we age our pineal gland may calcify, reducing our natural production of the substance melatonin. This is perhaps the major reason, aside from painful illness, which keeps the elderly from falling asleep. Non-toxic, melatonin can be purchased as a supplement to be taken and dissolved under the tongue about 45 minutes before sleep, It is also in common use by long distance travelers to help reset their body clocks. It is inexpensive and highly recommended for persons having difficulty getting to sleep, and for others who need a deeper sleep especially if it is to be a shorter-the-normal night's rest. Melatonin is also the body's own, powerful antioxidant protection against damages from free radicals in the body.

    • profile image

      Korinna 24 months ago

      It often takes more than an hour for me to fall asleep.

      So I tried out various things to help me.

      The best method to help me fall asleep was definitely to watch a very calming video every evening before going to bed.

      For me it's a good way to adapt myself to sleeping.

      Last night I used this video and it really worked miracles. I fell asleep in less than 10 minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRNwfRqTqb8

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