It seems most people have their own ways to nod off and these vary from taking a hot bath to sniffing lavender. Today we look at some of the more popular sleep-inducing tricks. We thought are not promoting pharmaceuticals that have a clinically proven track record of sending us to sleep in seconds. Instead, we are taking a look at some natural solutions for insomnia and seeing if they really do work. So what natural methods work best for sleeping? What’s the fastest way to fall asleep? Let’s take a look at – How to Fall asleep Quicker
What is causing you to not fall asleep
One of the most common causes of sleeplessness is anxiety. If you are worried about something then you will have a difficult time regulating emotions and your body will not be in a condition predisposed to sleep. What’s happening in the mind is key to allowing that sleep hormone, melatonin, to work its beautiful magic. Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland and naturally regulates sleep and it is this hormone that allows us to have a good night’s rest.
What should you stop doing that is preventing you from falling asleep faster?
First up let’s look at the things you shouldn’t be doing if you are trying to fall asleep. While it may seem tempting to have an alcoholic nightcap, and a drink or two might send us off to sleep quicker, the sleep is of lesser quality. And as we all know, sleep quality is extremely important. Alcohol affects heart rhythm and disrupts all sleep stages. Plus drinking makes us need to pee and getting up in the night to use the bathroom puts us right back out of the sleep cycle.
Also, try to avoid sleeping tablets as they can become addictive and often lead the user to suffer from the very problems (anxiety, stress) that they are prescribed to cure. You should go to bed at a regular hour and rise at the same time each day. True, you won’t feel tired every time you go to bed, but our bodies crave structure. To only go to bed when absolutely exhausted confuses our sleep patterns and promotes insomnia.
Melatonin supplements should be avoided because over the course of time our bodies will stop producing any hormone that is artificially introduced and sleeplessness will probably become a larger concern. Counting sheep doesn’t seem to work either- some small studies (including one by Oxford University) on sheep counting and similar techniques have been conducted with test groups of only 10-20 but with numbers this little it is impossible to draw a solid conclusion. (How to Fall Asleep)
One theory is that sheep counting only increases anxiety as the mind becomes aware of the concept of time, and being aware of time is one of the biggest enemies to the act of nodding off.
Steps that you can take to fall asleep quick
In battling insomnia sometimes reverse psychology might work. By forcing yourself to stay awake you may alleviate sleep anxiety. Research conducted at the University of Glasgow found that insomniacs who were instructed to stay awake with their eyes wide open eventually fell asleep faster than the other participants in this experiment who were not instructed with this paradoxical intention. (How to Fall Asleep) Further research needs to be undertaken in the reverse psychology field of sleep suggestion though.
Richard Wiseman, professor for Public Understanding at the University of Hertfordshire and author of the book Night School, suggests that people suffering from sleeplessness should get up and do an activity that requires basic motor skills such as a jigsaw or crossword puzzle. (How to Fall Asleep)
They should avoid watching television and digital screens in bed, as the blue lights have been proven to suppress the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Also, screens in the bed cause the brain to associate the bed to be an awake environment rather than one for sleep. “The key is to avoid associating your bed with a place to be awake.”
Clocks should be hidden as watching, or perhaps worse, listening to the minutes tick-tock towards morning induces your sleep-related anxiety. Your bedroom should be cool and dark and quiet. You might consider taking a warm shower or bath before bed and then stepping into the cooler bedroom. Studies have shown that the rapid decrease in body temperature slows your metabolism faster and prepares the body for sleep.
Socks may help with falling asleep
A Swiss study has shown that wearing socks may help in falling asleep faster. Shifting blood flow from the core of your body to your extremities cools down the body and helps along with the sleep hormone melatonin.
It has also been proven that splashing or immersing your face in cold water may help relax your nervous system and trigger the Dive Reflex that lowers heart rate and blood pressure. Aromatherapy may also prove helpful but the evidence is mixed with some scientific bodies officially labeling the practice as a pseudoscience.
However, lavender has long been associated with sleep. In 2005 researchers at Wesleyan University discovered that subjects who were exposed to lavender for 2 minutes before sleeping experienced deeper sleep and felt more vigorous in the morning.
Studies on how to fall asleep faster
As mentioned it is not just the space around your physical body that is important. Picturing an ideal environment in your mind may be the key to helping sleep. An Oxford University study named Behavior Research and Therapy with a tiny test pool of 17 subjects, found that insomniacs who imagined a beach or a waterfall fell asleep 20 minutes faster than those who simply counted sheep. (How to Fall Asleep)
This study is too small for our Infographics researchers to deem significant, but we thought we’d mention it anyway in How to Fall Asleep.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends something called progressive relaxation. This technique requires you to tense and then relax each muscle beginning with your toes and working your way up to your neck and head.
Visualize your skeleton and muscles and picture in your mind each part of your body relaxing. So take a hot bath or shower, make sure your room is cool, dark, and quiet find your preferred sleeping position, and visualize your ideal environment as you tense and relax your body- and who knows once sleep arrives you may find yourself visiting that ideal environment in your dream state.
Now that you are ready to fall asleep in under a minute it is time to try the 4-7-8. This popular natural method involves three simple steps that take 4, 7, and 8 seconds. (How to Fall Asleep) This 60-second technique supposedly works like this: simply find yourself in a comfortable position and breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds and then exhale very slowly for eight or more seconds. Repeat this exercise until sleep takes you by the hand. Harvard-educated MD Andrew Weil swears by this method.
He took the method from hundreds of years old yogi meditation practice and says “it’s the single best method that I’ve found for dealing with getting back to sleep if you wake up in the middle of the night. ”Slowing down the breathing rate forces the rhythm of your heart to slow down and in turn puts the body in a relaxed state. But before getting too excited keep in mind that there isn’t one research paper or any clinical studies to show that this method works.
How to fall asleep fast: 20 Tips to Beat Insomnia
Approximately 50% of all Americans who suffer insomnia have had brief periods of sleep problems, I’m not even sure why. And maybe a waking moment is affecting us more than most people would think it is. If someone fails to sleep despite having to sleep it may become too frustrating. How might stop the domino effects catching zzz’s? Here are 20 tips to beat insomnia(How to Fall Asleep):
- Stay busy throughout the day
- Change your environment at night
- Take a hot bath or shower before going to bed
- Make sure you have a comfortable mattress and pillow
- Avoid reading a book, watching TV, or using any other light sources in bed
- Keep your room cool and dark
- Try Stress Relief tea before bed
- Eliminate caffeine and alcohol before bed
- Practice some form of relaxation technique before bed
- Limit your nap time during the day to 30 minutes
- Invest in a white noise machine
- Keep a consistent sleep schedule
- Limit your intake of fluids before bedtime
- Exercise regularly, but not within 3 hours before sleep time
- Find a relaxing bedtime ritual to do every night
- When you are unable to fall asleep within 20 minutes of trying, leave your bedroom and engage in a quiet relaxing activity until you feel sleepy
- Use a sleep tracker to monitor your sleep patterns
- Take a hot bath or shower before bedtime
- Try cooling down some lavender essential oil in a diffuser before bedtime
- If you continue having troubles, maybe you can try seeking professional help from a sleep doctor