Have you ever had times where you were just rolling around in bed and couldn’t sleep?
Does your mind tend to wander around right when you are going to bed, making you anxious and stressed?
You are not alone, and more and more are people experiencing sleep problems and having a tough time falling asleep.
In this article, we are going to go over a few simple tips and tricks to help you fall asleep fast and get a restful night’s sleep during the night.
Let’s get started.
Back to basics
Before we get into the tactics and methods you can use to fall asleep fast, it feels necessary to bring up the basics of what constitutes a good night’s sleep.
In today’s digital age it is extremely easy to fall into bad sleep habits without even realizing it.
These bad habits can include irregular sleeping patterns, being on your screens before bed, drinking too much caffeine during the day, not exercising enough or during the wrong time, eating too late in the evening, and also consuming alcohol.
There are many more factors that can contribute but you get my point.
There are many things that can negatively impact your sleeping patterns. It is important to mitigate those first so that you can get back to a regular sleeping routine and fall asleep fast.
In this article, we’re going to talk about sleep latency (the time it takes to fall asleep), as well as the sleep hormone melatonin, as well how food, exercise, and technology all impact the degree to which you will be able to fall asleep.
First, keep a sleep schedule
Having a sleep schedule is one of the best ways to make sure that your body knows when to wake up, and therefore also knows when to go to bed.
Having any sleep schedule is better than not having one at all. If you don’t know your ideal going to bed and wake time, then there are many ways you can find that out by using resources such as with this “Power of When” quiz.
With this quiz, you can find out which type of chronotype you are to help determine when your ideal times for sleep and waking are.
If you are a part of at least half the population, then your chronotype is the “bear”. With this chronotype your ideal sleeping and waking time should land somewhere around 10pm and 6am.
If you mess with this natural cycle by for example staying up late, your body’s systems like hormone and blood sugar regulation will mess up.
This will in turn impact your sleep latency and the quality of sleep you get.
To reset your sleep schedule and normalize your circadian rythym, make sure to expose yourself to sunlight as soon as possible from waking up.
Then when it gets dark in the evening, you will be able to fall asleep faster because then your circadian rhythm is in tune.
Making it a priority to go to bed and waking up around the same time every day will ensure you will quickly be able to fall asleep when you go to sleep.
This means that if you would like to go to bed at 10 pm, start your wind down around 9-9:30 pm and allow for 30 minutes to fall asleep. Then, set your alarm for somewhere between 5-7 am to get your 7-9 hours of sleep, depending on your needs.
If you need more tips on resetting your sleep schedule, check out this article here explaining how to do it.
Exercise during specific times
Of course, exercise is an incredibly important habit in order to feel and be at your best, but it is also super important to help you to fall asleep fast and get good quality sleep.
That being said, there are certain times where exercise will be extremely beneficial for lowering your sleep latency.
To fall asleep fast in the evening, try exercising lightly for 20-30 minutes in the morning and preferably outside in the sunshine.
This will help to normalize your circadian rhythm by waking your body up first thing in the morning.
If you exercise regularly by going to the gym for example, then doing your gym session in the afternoon will yield the best performance, and can also be really beneficial for sleep.
To fall asleep fast and get a good night’s sleep you want to make sure to not exercise too late in the evening, preferably no later than four hours before bed.
That’s because doing so will increase your heart rate and your core body temperature which can make it harder to fall asleep.
If you can only exercise later in the evening, then try taking a cold shower afterward to cool your core body temperature down.
Doing so will help your body to fall asleep faster if you exercise in the late evening.
Avoid screens, seriously.
A lot of modern technologies have created such a wave of sleep deprivation in the modern age.
Screens that emit toxic blue light are seriously detrimental to your body’s natural circadian rhythm.
In fact, this study shows that just one hour of iPad reading instead of regular book reading dropped melatonin levels by over 20%, and didn’t arrive at peak melatonin levels until 3 hours later.
This negatively impacted sleep quality and next-day alertness levels, and even the following nights of sleep.
Instead of your body being tired and wanting to go to sleep, people jet lag themselves by tricking their body and mind that is still daytime when they look at their screens.
Even though you might have an easy time falling asleep even if you look at your screens in the evening, it will seriously impact the quality of sleep that you will get.
It will be harder to get to deep sleep, and it will be harder for you to feel rested when you actually wake up.
That’s why you should avoid screens completely for the last hour of the evening, or if you can’t do that, have an orange filter setting on your computer or use a pair of blue light blocking glasses.
Do whatever you can to follow the natural rhythm of light. This means that when it is light outside, expose yourself to light. When it is dark, expose yourself to the dark.
Don’t mess up your body because of technology!
Obviously, you won’t be able to fall asleep fast if you overconsume something that will stimulate you to be awake.
If you drink caffeinated drinks, coffee, or anything else with caffeine in the late afternoon or even in the evening, then of course you will have a hard time falling asleep later.
If you in the afternoon feel that you need to drink coffee because you get tired, then listen to your body and take a power nap if you can instead!
Taking a short power nap of 20 minutes for example, will most likely not impact your sleep later in the evening.
Other things that you can do if you get tired in the afternoon are:
- Meditate for a few minutes
- Do a short exercise (a few pushups, situps, etc.)
- Talk to a friend
- Go outside and get fresh air
Instead of ignoring your body’s signals, listen to your body and act from there.
This will help you to make better choices which will overall help your progress of falling asleep fast.
Avoid eating too late
Not only can the above-mentioned factors impact the degree to which you might be able to fall asleep fast, but so does eating too late in the evening.
Make sure you try to avoid eating too late, as this can seriously impact your sleep latency and sleep quality.
Not only this, but to ensure you fall asleep as fast you’d like, avoid eating any high carb high sugary foods later than four hours before bed.
That means that if you are fancying having a dessert, consider having it in the late afternoon instead of in the late evening (something I usually do).
Make sure your last meal of the day is also rich in protein so that you feel full when going to bed, and remember no late-night snacking!
How to prepare for sleep
Once you have implemented a foundation of a healthy and sleep-promoting lifestyle as mentioned above, you can then turn to more specific activities to help you prepare for sleep.
The activities listed below will help you wind down, relax, and promote a restful night’s sleep.
Have an evening routine
An evening routine can really help to program your body and mind into winding down for sleep.
Just like a morning routine should help program your body to start the day, the opposite should be said for your evening routine.
In this article here, André outlines a three-step evening routine taking less than 30 minutes to do.
These 30 minutes should help you wind down for sleep, and should absolutely forbid the usage of phones, computers, or anything else with a screen.
One of the most potent activities I can recommend to have during your evening routine is the following:
Journaling does wonders to help get your worrying and anxious thoughts on paper so that you don’t have to think about them when going to bed.
It’s easy to start thinking about all your problems when you are finally going silent when preparing to go to sleep.
That’s why it is all the more important to get those thoughts out of your mind before going to bed so that you can release, relax, and fall asleep quickly.
Journaling is a perfect way to do this since you put those worrying thoughts on paper so you don’t need to think about them anymore.
Every time I have a hard time sleeping, I will take out my journal and write down what I’m feeling and thinking.
After I’m done, I usually fall asleep incredibly quickly.
Listen to this podcast episode down below where we talk about all the benefits of journaling!
More tips for falling asleep
Here is a list of a few more tips, after you have gotten the basics down, that will help you to fall asleep faster.
These tips are based on research and have been shown to help people fall asleep faster and get a more restful night’s sleep.
Sleep in a cool room – Our bodies not only respond to darkness to fall asleep but also the temperature. Sleep in a cool room to make sure your body gets cooled down and ready for sleep.
Wear socks and gloves when going to sleep – A tip by Mathew Walker, saying that this can help cool your core body temperature down.
Use an analog alarm clock – So that you don’t need your phone in your room which might disturb you when going to sleep. Also in general, having a phone in your room can be stressful which can impact your ability to relax and therefore your ability to fall asleep.
Don’t look at the time – Don’t stress yourself by looking at the time when you are going to sleep, find activities and ways to relax your mind instead.
Visualize positive scenarios – For example, visualize your desired future, and feel gratitude for it to ease your mind into relaxation.
Read a fiction book – Don’t read non-fiction as it may stimulate your problem-solving brain, fiction can instead help you to take your thoughts off of the day and relax.
Do breathing techniques – Controlling your breath and focusing on it, may help to take your mind off of stress and get you to relax. Try out some of these breathing techniques in this article.
Do an evening meditation – That will help you relax your body, listen to this one that André made!
Take a warm bath before bed – Something that the Romans used to do, and actually really helps to relax your body.
Bonus tip: Drink this special drink
Have you ever heard of a drink that mixes honey and apple cider vinegar? I first heard of this tip by Tim Ferris many years ago, and have lately begun using it again to help with falling asleep fast.
Apparently, the mixture of apple cider vinegar and honey helps people fall asleep incredibly quickly.
According to Tim who was a life-long insomniac, this cocktail helped him and many of his friends to basically cure their sleep problems and fall asleep directly.
The science and biochemistry of this drink are still pretty unknown so I cannot say for sure what happens to your body when you drink it.
And since I haven’t had that many problems with falling asleep I cannot say for sure that it has helped me like crazy, but every time I have had this drink before bed I fall asleep instantly!
Of course, you shouldn’t substitute this for medicine or anything of the likes, and the above is not medicinal advice at all!
However, if you are having a hard time falling asleep then I would definitely recommend trying this out, by mixing ½ – 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with the same amount of honey into a hot glass of water or your evening caffeine-free tea.
Reach out in the comments and let me know how it worked for you!
So that’s it! Hopefully, these tips will help you to fall asleep faster and sleep like a baby.
What do you think? What more should you do to fall asleep fast and get a good night’s sleep? Comment down below!
Also, to check out the resources used for this article, I have gathered them down below:
- Ben Greenfield’s article on sleep
- Joe Rogan Experience – Matthew Walker
- Tim Ferris evening routine
All the best and sleep tight!
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