Some people can fall asleep fast while others struggle to get a good night’s sleep. A lack of sleep can result in poor work and accidents. The average adult between the ages of 18 and 64 needs between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, according to National Sleep Foundation guidelines published in 2015. You may be aware of some things you can do to help you fall asleep quickly, but it sure helps prevent worry if you are aware of some of the more successful methods of how to fall asleep faster than it normally takes you.
Tips on how to fall asleep faster don’t work for everybody, particularly if you have a sleep disorder, and if the suggestions below don’t help you then here are some other ways that may help you to fall asleep fast. They also lead to good quality sleep that makes you feel refreshed in the morning. It is important that you follow these techniques properly and don’t try to take shortcuts. Some claim to get you to fall asleep in a matter of seconds, but this is only in rare cases. Try the tips on how to fall asleep quicker below, and find out how they work for you.
Before you do so, however, you should make sure that your bedroom is optimized to help you sleep and is suitable for helping you to fall asleep fast. Without doing this, you may find that some of our tips won’t work as well as they should – it all begins with the ambiance of your bedroom. Check out our article on sleep comfort that will help you to achieve optimal deep sleep. One important tip is to develop good sleep habits that you can use every night.
Here are some proven methods of helping you to sleep faster and maximize your sleep quality. If you are taking medications or have a medical condition then you should get medical advice or check with a medical professional before applying the techniques below.
Table of Contents
Forget the Time
The first thing you must do is to avoid looking at the clock! If you are checking the time while trying to sleep, then you are almost certain to stay awake! The faster the hands seem to be moving, the less likely you are to fall asleep faster than you would normally do. So forget the clock, or turn its face away from after setting your ‘waken up’ time on the alarm. Now here are some positive things you can do to help you sleep. Your sleep is more important than what the time is!
Image visualization, otherwise known as imagery distraction, is a simple method of helping you relax in bed. Try to avoid watching television before going to sleep, and try to imagine or visualize peaceful images from your past. Perhaps a beautiful, peaceful landscape on a warm spring day, or maybe tickling a baby in a cot, waves lapping on a seashore, the sound of a waterfall or clouds floating through the sky.
It is important to get adequate sleep to maintain good health, so lie in your normal sleeping position, close your eyes then imagine looking at the peaceful scene of your choice. Fall into it while slowly breathing, and think of yourself being there in person, listening to the sounds and try to focus only on that scene, imagining the smell and touch and even the taste of where you are and what you are doing. Try not to jump from scene to scene in your imagination, and don’t keep your mind filled with trying to sleep. If that method doesn’t work for you, then try one of those below:
4 7 8 Breathing Technique
The 4 7 8 Method of breathing involves a simple breathing exercise that will help you relax and in many cases fall asleep. It is a useful and simple technique to carry out. Follow the steps below correctly, and you may find that this is all you need to get you to sleep. If you have a breathing issue such as COPD or asthma, then speak to your doctor first since this and many other breathing exercises can aggravate the condition.
- First, put the tip of your tongue against the angle between the ridge behind your upper front teeth and the roof of your mouth and hold it there throughout the exercise.
- Slightly open your lips and keep them relaxed while you exhale through your mouth. You should make a whooshing noise while you exhale.
- Now inhale for 4 seconds with your lips closed.
- Then hold your breath for 7 seconds.
- After that 7 seconds, exhale with the whooshing sound for 8 seconds.
- Carry out this cycle for 4 full cycles. Try not to feel alert at the end of each cycle – you should become increasingly more relaxed after each cycle. Allow yourself to fall asleep if you feel like sleeping before the full 4 cycles have been completed. Click the link for a demonstration of how to fall asleep fast by Andrew Weil using this sleep exercise.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)
Online health resource, MedlinePlus, states that relaxation therapy can be used to reduce stress and so help you keep calm. This in turn means that progressive muscle relaxation should help you sleep. Progressive muscle relaxation involves the gradual tensing or tightening and then the relaxation of certain muscles throughout your body. It is most effective when simultaneously controlling your breathing throughout the procedure. Here’s how to do it:
1. Close your eyes then slowly breathe in and breathe out. Make sure you slowly breathe in and out during the 10-second intervals.
2. Wait 10 seconds while breathing in and out, and then tighten up your eye, lip, and jaw muscles. To do this:
- Raise your eyebrows as high as you can, hold for 5 seconds, and relax while breathing out.
- Wait 10 seconds then smile as wide as you can, hold for 5 seconds and relax while breathing out.
- Wait 10 seconds then squint with your eyes shut, hold for 5 seconds, and relax while breathing out.
- Wait 10 seconds then tilt your head back to look at the ceiling, hold for 5 seconds, and relax while breathing out.
- Wait 10 seconds then tense up the muscles in both your shoulders then hold for 5 seconds and relax while breathing out.
- Progressively tense up the muscles in your upper arms (bicep and triceps in each arm though blue light glasses can help you avoid this), lower arms and hands, back, chest, buttocks, hamstrings (upper legs,) and calves, holding each for 5 seconds before relaxing, while breathing out and waiting 10 seconds before the next set of muscles. You may include your hand and foot muscles if you wish.
This method of relaxation involves tightening 12 sets of muscles (or 14 if you count your hands and feet) then holding each set for 5 seconds before relaxing and waiting 10 seconds before going on to the next set.
PMR has been cited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine as one non-pharmacologic method of treating chronic insomnia. It is not recommended for those with uncontrolled cardiovascular problems, however. In addition to helping reduce stress and helping you sleep relaxation therapy can also be used to help those with anxiety disorders.
The Military Method
The ‘Military Method’ is said to have originated with US Navy Pre-Flight School as a means of helping pilots to fall asleep within 2 minutes. It took them a lot of practice to achieve, around 6 weeks of practice in all, but ultimately the pilots were able to get to sleep within 2 minutes or less – even with sounds of gunfire and after drinking coffee. Here’s how to do it:
- Relax your face, including the muscles in your mouth.
- Relax your arms by dropping your shoulders and your arms, with your hands hanging loosely by the side of your body.
- Breathe out relaxing your chest as you do so.
- Now relax your thighs, legs, and calves.
- Clear your mind, then imagine a relaxing scene for 10 seconds. This could be a waterfall, birds singing in the trees, waves lapping on a shore, or something similar.
- If you don’t feel sleepy, repeatedly say the words “Don’t think, don’t think” for another 10 seconds.
You may now be asleep. If not, then focus on your relaxation techniques and your breathing. It is doing these properly that leads to sleep quickly. It should be noted here that any feelings of anxiety can prevent you from getting to sleep. ADHD has a similar effect, and you are best to try one of the other techniques. Otherwise, the above techniques should become part of your lifestyle.
Other Ways of How to Fall Asleep Faster
Choose a Comfortable Mattress for Your Sleeping Position
You may never fall asleep, except through exhaustion, if your mattress is not comfortable for you to sleep on. The level of firmness of your mattress is extremely important if you want to sleep quicker. The mattress that is most comfortable for you depends largely on your sleeping position, your weight, your age, your level of activity, and a few other factors. If you want to sleep fast on a comfortable bed then your mattress must match your sleeping position and body type.
Here at InsideBedroom.com, we can link you to several mattresses suitable for your body type and sleeping position. For example, side sleepers, or those who sleep in different positions during the night (combo sleepers) need a softer mattress, just as side sleepers should sleep on a soft mattress. InsideBedroom can offer many suitable mattresses for combo and side sleepers, such as the Amerisleep AS3 which is an excellent balance between firm and soft while the AS5 is the softest mattress in the Amerisleep range. You can try the AS3 and if you don’t find it comfortable for you, you can return it within 100 days and exchange it free for a firmer or softer mattress.
Check also our best mattresses for back sleepers, side sleepers, and stomach sleepers. We provide enough information in our reviews to enable you to make the best choice for your needs. It is often your mattress that is the reason why you cannot get to sleep faster than you should. InsideBedroom.com offers you a large range of mattresses from which to make the correct choice. If you get no improvement with your choice of new mattress then most of those we can offer to you provide a sleep trial period, during which the mattress can be returned for a refund or replacement.
Sleep comfort is important, and while most people will think of the mattress it could be your pillow that is keeping you awake and preventing you from falling asleep quicker. Here at InsideBedroom, we offer a range of pillows. We have memory foam pillows, feather pillows, and down pillows to help improve your comfort when trying to sleep. Check out our best pillows ever review for 2021 here. If you find it difficult to choose a pillow or a mattress contact us here and we will help you.
Check Out These Tips from InsideBedroom on Getting to Sleep
InsideBedroom has published 15 proven bedtime rituals that should help you get to sleep. Click the link and make sure you apply as many of these as you can before any of the above. They include reading before sleep, excluding blue lights from devices in your bedroom (blue light can prevent sleep, though blue light glasses can help avoid this) avoiding caffeine (use herbal tea and decaf coffee/tea) and avoid spicy foods. Listen to soft music (some find classical music works) or a white noise machine, use an eye mask, and create a calm atmosphere in your bedroom. Even counting sheep can help! Make sure you avoid sunlight if you must sleep during daylight hours.
Here are some questions we have been asked about getting to sleep:
How to Fall Asleep Fast: Questions and Answers
Melatonin is a hormone that is produced by the pineal gland in the brain. The production of melatonin is promoted by darkness, so it is produced at night once your lights are out. It synchronizes your sleep-wake cycle with night and day – and its production ceases in light (daylight or synthetic light.) In doing so it regulates the sleep-wake cycle of your circadian rhythm. Many people with insomnia take melatonin as capsules or tablets or in the liquid state in order to help them sleep and to extend the duration of sleep.
A trial carried out on the use of melatonin supplements on those suffering from Delayed Sleep-Wake Phase Disorder (DSWPD) showed that 52.8% of subjects showed more than minimal improvement over those taking a placebo. It should be noted that those carrying out this trial have been found to have a conflict of interests regarding its results. Doctors say that melatonin supplements are of limited use for adults and children. The Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has concluded that scientific support is insufficient for the use of melatonin in reducing insomnia and improving the quality of sleep of insomniacs.
Yes, definitely, listening to quiet soothing music is a good way to lull your senses and help you sleep. People with insomnia and who suffer from sleep deprivation often find that a feeling of sleepiness comes quickly, that their blood pressure drops and heart rate is reduced, and that they enjoy a more restful sleep when they listen to soothing music that they like. Sleep experts agree on this and soft music also seems to calm people down after stressful events.
Studies have shown that it should take you between 7 minutes and 15 minutes to sleep once you have got yourself comfortable in bed. You will find it happens quicker if you develop a regular sleep schedule and time for sleep, have a warm bath first, and turn off any smartphones and electronic devices beeping away with artificial light! Darkness is best for restful sleep, although dim light would be better than having bright light upsetting your body clock. Get more information on how long it takes to sleep here.
If you are not tired, or you can’t sleep, then first have a warm bath and turn your thermostat down to a cool temperature between 60–67°F (15.6–19.4°C) then go to bed. Then read a book– this should relax you before you turn the lights down, or preferably off, and make sure all electronics such as a tablet, smartphone, laptop, or televisions are switched off. Make sure you don’t have to get up again to turn anything off, such as dim lights or a CD player. You want to sleep quickly, but don’t dwell on getting to sleep. You can then listen to some soothing music. Focus on the music or use any of the techniques detailed in the main article above.
* Set a regular bedtime. After a while, your body will get used to falling asleep at the same time each day. Having a constant sleep schedule is essential.
* Have a quick warm bath each night. Not hot – warm will do to keep your body temperature down. Your body is less likely to fall asleep if it is hot. The cooler it is the better.
* Reduce your room temperature to between 60 and 67°F (15.6–19.4°C). * Again, heat and sleep do not get along well.
* Use your bed only for sleep and sex.
* Make sure all lights are dimmed or off, that no electronics are bleeping and buzzing and that there is no blue light coming from any of them. Do this at least 30 minutes before you want to get to sleep.
Avoid large meals just before bedtime. If you must eat at night, make it a light snack.
* Avoid alcohol or caffeine just before bed.
* Don’t eat in bed.
* Have a warm drink of a malty drink such as Horlicks.
* Wind down by reading a book before you go to sleep.
* Put off the lights as soon as you feel sleepy.
* If you still can’t sleep, try listening to soothing music.
How to Fall Asleep Fast – Conclusion
If you follow all of the advice above, then there is no reason why you should not be able to fall asleep fast. Falling asleep quickly is a simple matter of following certain instructions that you may never have tried before. It is a simple matter of eliminating the factors that keep you awake and focusing on those that help you sleep. Sleep does not like light, it likes darkness. Sleep comes when all is calm and peaceful without worries. If you want to get to sleep quickly then eliminate the worries, eliminate the lights, particularly flashing lights, and avoid the blue light that keeps you awake. Develop a regular sleep schedule to suit your personal needs, remove worries and issues, and develop a calm mind at night through soft music or meditation. Sleep likes darkness, calmness, cool temperatures, and relaxation. That’s how to fall asleep fast or at least fall asleep faster than you are used to.