Why It Helps To Fall Asleep Quickly
The speed with which you fall asleep doesn’t really have any bearing on your health. However, taking the time to fall asleep invariably eats into sleep time. This can be incredibly frustrating and self-defeating. After all, if you’ve committed to getting a good 7 or 8 hours of sleep each night, but then spend the first hour just tossing and turning, that’s just lost time.
Addressing this promptly and safely is important because of the impact that sleep deprivation or poor sleep can have on your health. It is known to adversely impact memory, mood, learning, and various biological processes including immune function and digestion.
Fortunately, you don’t have to turn to sleep medications that are themselves fraught with risks. You can use a number of proven sleep hacks to fall asleep fast. These include diet, nutritional supplements, exercise, and other activities and habits that can help induce sleep fast.
How To Fall Asleep Quickly?
The Military Method
If you’re desperately trying to figure out how to sleep instantly or at least near instantly, this is the method that you ought to try. In keeping with militaristic traditions of physical and mental discipline, this technique is extremely efficient. Alluded to by sprinting coach Lloyd Bud, in his book on performance, this technique can induce sleep in under 2 minutes. It just takes a lot of practice.
To use this method, you need to:
- First relax your facial muscles completely – that includes the jaws, cheeks, and forehead
- Roll your shoulders forward or lower them as far as is possible
- Relax all of the muscles in your arms right down to the fingertips
- As you exhale, focus on the sensation of relaxation in your chest and then every other muscle right down to the legs
- Spend 10 seconds picturing a relaxing scene and you should drift off by the time you’re done
4-7-8 Breathing Method To Mellow Yourself To Sleep
If you’ve been wondering how to sleep fast at night without thinking, then this is just the trick you need. The 4-7-8 method works as both a relaxation technique and a natural sleeping aid. Based on pranayamas, this method was first explored by Dr. Andrew Weil.
The use of counting works as a distraction technique to lower anxiety levels, which in turn improves breathing and relaxes the parasympathetic nervous system.
To put this to action, you need to:
- Bring your tongue to rest just behind your front teeth and towards the upper palate
- Exhale slowly through the mouth and then bring the lips together
- Inhale for about 4 seconds via the nasal passage
- Hold the air in for at least 7 seconds before releasing
- Part your lips and once again exhale slowly through the mouth
- Keep repeating this at least four to five times
Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)
Progressive or deep muscle relaxation may sound intimidating, but it is one of the simplest techniques that you can use to fall asleep quickly. It is a relaxation technique that is primarily used to relieve anxiety and stress, but the relaxation effect also works to promote and induce quality sleep (1).
PMR involves consciously tensing and then relaxing individual muscles in the body, which also has the effect of relaxing the mind. You can use PMR in combination with breathwork too.
To give PMR a try, you need to:
- First tighten or contract the muscles in your feet, curling them upwards.
- Inhale deeply as you contract the muscles.
- In about 5 to 10 seconds exhale and relax your muscles simultaneously.
- Rest for 15 to 20 seconds before repeating this pattern with other muscles like the calves, hamstring, glutes, and so on.
As the name suggests, this is simply a bit of reverse psychology. This means that it is particularly effective if your insomnia is caused by worrying about how quickly you can fall asleep. Many individuals have trouble falling asleep because of restlessness and the inability to stop thinking.
Unfortunately, you then also begin to worry about your inability to fall asleep, which further raises those anxiety levels, adversely affecting your ability to drift off. Not surprisingly, research shows that trying to stay awake instead can then have the opposite effect, making you feel more in control and relaxed; ergo, more conducive to sleep (2).
Visualization Or Guided Imagery
As the name implies, visualization simply involves using your imagination to visualize relaxing environments, whether it’s a beach getaway or a cabin in the woods. With guided imagery, you can even use apps or videos in which a narrator guides you through the process.
Like many of the other techniques listed here, imagery is also a relaxation technique with proven benefits for promoting sleep. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Oxford found that individuals who used the technique fell asleep much faster and with less distraction (3).
Before You Go
To improve the efficacy of sleep and relaxation techniques you need to create an optimal sleep environment and adopt diet and lifestyle habits that are conducive to sleep. Some such habits would include:
- Stop using digital screens for at least a few hours before bedtime as they can disrupt your body’s circadian rhythm. If you do use such screens heavily, take a supplement containing lutein and zeaxanthin, which are proven to protect against blue light (4).
- Use blackout curtains and shut off all light emitting devices in your bedroom before you go to sleep.
- Make sure that supper is light and try to eat at least two to three hours before bedtime. Eating a heavy dinner shortly before bedtime increases the risk of acid reflux and heartburn, which results in disturbed sleep.
- Consider taking a melatonin supplement to induce better quality sleep. It is a natural and non-habit forming solution that helps restore your regular sleep cycle.
- Take up a mild to moderate intensity exercise routine early in the evening or a bedtime yoga routine. This will help lower stress levels and improve sleep quality.
- Avoid consuming stimulants like coffee and sugary foods during the evening and for similar reasons, don’t engage in high-intensity activity during the evening.
- Have a hot soak or a warm shower about an hour or two before bed as this can induce feelings of sleepiness.
- If you are easily woken up or distracted by external sounds, try to sleep with noise blocking earbuds or use a white noise machine.
Why can’t I sleep at night?
There are various possible causes of insomnia, including worrying about sleeplessness itself. If common techniques to induce sleep quickly don’t work, seek a medical diagnosis.
How can I trick my brain into falling asleep?
Conditioning techniques and hacks like paradoxical intention are the ideal tricks to get your brain to fall asleep. You simply use reverse psychology on yourself, trying to stay away and your brain then falls asleep.
What is the best sleeping position?
The best sleeping position will vary, depending on your weight and preexisting health conditions. In most cases, sleeping on your back and left side are regarded as healthy, but sleeping on the stomach should be avoided.
How can I sleep all night?
To ensure undisturbed quality sleep, invest in a white noise machine to block out external sounds, and use light-blocking curtains to maintain complete darkness. You should also embrace other sleep hygiene practices.
How do I sleep comfortably?
To sleep comfortably, you need to adopt the right sleeping position and sleep hygiene practices. You should also pay attention to other environmental factors such as the air condition temperature, softness of your mattress, and so on.