- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
How to Go to Sleep Fast
More on Sleep and Tiredness
Are you struggling to fall asleep at night? You are not alone according to Consumer Report Magazine (September, 2008), 44% of adults report sleep trouble including falling asleep. Knowing the common reasons for this trouble is a starting place to finding your solution.
1. Caffeine consumption: If you are consuming more than 3 cups of coffee per day, you might be over consuming caffeine. Caffeine is a well-known and over used stimulant. While a cup in the morning can give a nice jolt to start the day, the substance takes hours (up to 6) to be eliminated from your body. Another consideration for your sleep is the timing of your caffeine consumption. It should not be ingested within 6 hours of your intended sleep time.
2. Stress: If your head is still whirling with thoughts from the day as you lie on your pillow, chances are, you are experiencing at least a mild level of stress. Stress is caused by the emotional, mental and physical demands in your day. High levels of stress can affect your ability to relax. In order to fall asleep your mind and body needs to reach a relaxed state.
3. Depression: Depression involves an elevated state of sadness and isolation. Though some people find themselves sleeping more when depressed, many others find themselves unable to rest. Like stress, depression tends to keep the brain and nervous system over stimulated.
4. Environment: If your sleep space is uncomfortable, it can affect your ability to fall asleep. Cleanliness, bed firmness or softness, wall color and lighting are all contributors to comfort in a bedroom.
5. Health problems: Iron deficiency, sleep apnea, hyperthyroidism, and insomnia are all health problems that effect sleep patterns. This is one reason that chronic sleeplessness requires immediate doctor’s attention.
If you are looking for a method to help you fall asleep quicker, starting off with simple, natural ways is a good start. Trying natural methods before seeking medication might save you from the nasty side effects of sleep aids.
Books on Routines
1. Create a routine: Bedtimes are not just for children! In fact, having a consistent sleep routine not only affects how quickly you will fall asleep, it also causes more restful sleep which in turn means feeling more energized during the day. Make a schedule for yourself. Write down and stick with it. Even if you find yourself initially unable to fall asleep at your intended time, lay restful in bed and wake up at your planned time. This will cause you to be more tired during the day which means you’ll be more tired the next night. Developing a routine might take time but the result with be faster and more refreshing sleep.
2. Keep it clean: Did you know a cluttered room often means a cluttered mind? Try keeping your room tidy and sparse. This will help in quieting your mind. When you feel as if everything is in its intended place, you will more calm.
3. Limit caffeine, alcohol and nicotine consumption: Each of these substances has been linked to sleeping disorders when over consumed. Use each in moderation for a more relaxed state at night.
4. Drink tea: Caffeine-free teas such chamomile has been used for centuries to soothe and calm. Try one within an hour before bedtime.
5. Exercise daily: Regular exercise leaves your body calm at the end of the day. It is best to get active no sooner than 3 hours before bedtime. Why? Exercise speeds up your heart rate and can cause an immediate boost in energy. Exercise is also credited with giving you a deeper, more restful sleep.
6. Take a bath: Taking a soothing bath within the hour you plan to sleep is another way to ensure you’ll fall asleep easily. The best part? It’s absolutely free! Warm water with the addition of a few bubbles, if you desire, is all you need to let go of your day and move on to your rest.
YouTube has great sound therapy videos!
7. Meditate: Meditation has been known to help the mind relax for centuries and throughout the world. Used daily, it can help you quiet your mind at any time of the day. To use mediation as an aid to falling asleep, meditate using any technique you like for 5-20 minutes before bed.
8. Buy the right bed: This suggestion may sound obvious but it is not. Many people suffer from sleep problems associated with simply being uncomfortable in their beds. Find the right bed might mean making an investment but it is well worth it for your health. When shopping for a bed, try out many different kinds noting your own preferences for size and firmness. If you have a mate, they should come too as buying a new bed will affect both your sleep lives.
9. Remove distractions: Turn off every electronic device, set aside anything related to work and remove anything that may keep your brain moving. Electronic items are particularly problematic when trying to sleep so it may be best to simply not bring them into your bedroom. I am notorious for checking my phone and email several times before bed. This practice often delays my rest.
10. Aroma therapy: Aroma therapy involves using essential oils or scented sprays to help you relax. Oils can be applied to your body or even in a warm bath. Scented sprays can be applied to your pillows and bedding. Popular scents for sleep include lavender, jasmine and rose.
11. Sound therapy: Sound therapy involves using relaxing sounds for soothing yourself to sleep at night. Popular sounds include waves, waterfalls and rain. Once you start to use sound therapy, your mind will associate those sounds with sleep which means over time, it will trigger a quicker fall into sleep.
12. Melatonin: Melatonin is a hormone that is actually produced in your body. If you are struggling to fall asleep it can be purchased as an over the counter supplement that has excellent results. It must, however, be taken consistently to get full results. It is used to help you gain a regular sleep cycle versus simply helping you to fall asleep immediately.
How does it work?
1. Diphenhydramine (found in brand names like Nytol, Sominex, Sleepinal, Compoz)
- Blurred vision
2. Doxylamine (brand names such as Unisom, Nighttime Sleep Aid)
- Dry mouth
3. Benzodiazepine sedative (brand name ProSom, Dalmane, Doral, Restoril, and Halcion)
- You can become both physically and psychologically dependent.
- You have to take more to get the same effect over time.
- The restfulness and depth of your sleep can be affected.
4. Non-benzodiazepine sedative (They include Sonata, Ambien), and Lunesta)
- It causes you to be groggy in the morning.
- It causes dizziness, nausea and headaches.
- You can also become dependant.
- Risk of suicidal thoughts especially in children and teens.
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