Sleep doesn’t always come easy. It should take us between 10 and 20 minutes to fall asleep (1). But how many of us have lay there tossing and turning, flipping the pillow in search of the cold side repeatedly for what seems like forever? Getting off to sleep fast surely shouldn’t be this difficult! Or should it?
There are many different things that can prevent us from being able to drop off to the land of nod efficiently. Not least of those is stress (2). Some of us replay events from the day over and over wondering what they could have done differently. Others wile away the minutes and sometimes hours worrying about what tomorrow will bring. But whatever it is that’s stopping you from falling asleep fast, let’s try and tackle it together.
Read on to unveil our top tips for falling asleep fast. The race is on so reach for those ear plugs, invest in some black out blinds and check to see if your mattress needs replacing stat.
why is it sometimes hard to fall asleep?
The inability to sleep (AKA insomnia) can be triggered by a whole number of different factors (3). Stress and anxiety are some of the biggest hurdles to overcome at bedtime while a poor sleeping environment could also be fuelling the fire. Anything from an uncomfortable bed to the less-than-ideal room temperature in your sleep space could enhance discomfort and ultimately make it make it even trickier to fall asleep fast (4).
Then there’s certain lifestyle factors that will prevent sleep from coming fast. Symptoms caused by jet lag, shift work, alcohol consumption and caffeine consumption before crawling under the covers will all effect how long it takes for the sandman to arrive (5).
Mental and physical health conditions have a part to play where falling asleep fast is concerned too. If you’re suffering from depressions, heart problems, long-term pain such as arthritis, or any other sleep disorder you’ll find that falling asleep fast is almost impossible at times (6).
But, all is not lost! We have listed our favourite tips and tricks to help you on your mission to fall asleep faster below!
our top tips and tricks to help you fall asleep faster
1. get yourself into a good sleep routine
Practicing good sleep hygiene helps to improve your sleep. This basically translates to a regular sleep routine. And to have a good sleep routine, you’ll need to set a regular time to start winding down each evening.
You should also try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day. This habit will help to program your body clock which in turn will help you fall asleep faster. And we should point our that your sleep routine should stay the same every day. Yes, that does include weekends (7)!
2. relaxation is key
Even before you climb between the sheets, your sleep routine is already in motion. With that in mind, it’s important to work some relaxation time into your evening routine. And be relaxation means ditching those electronic devices. It’s recommended that you turn off mobile phones, tablets and/or computers (ergo anything that emits blue light in abundancy) at least an hour before bed (8).
Reading or listening to music or a podcast are some great ways to help you wind down after the dramas of the day. Or, you could even give sleep meditation a go to help you fall asleep fast if it sparks your interest. It should definitely help your mind and body to relax (9).
3. practise mindfulness to fall asleep faster
Some of the key factors that affect our ability to fall asleep fast include anxiety, worry and stress (10). But small daily mindfulness exercises can help you to manage or even lessen your concerns. Simply talking to a trusted companion or jotting your thoughts in a notebook can alleviate these pesky sleep-preventing symptoms.
If you, like so many of us have at one time or another, find yourself lying awake and worrying, it’s a good time to start getting your thoughts in order. Before climbing into bed, make time to create a to-do list for the next day. Not only can it help put your mind at rest, it’ll give you a reason to ensure that you get the best sleep possible – just look at what you plan to achieve tomorrow (11)!
4. prep your sleep space
Imagine a space that’s quiet, dark and cool – are you starting to drift off already? Us too! That said, the right sleep space for you is totally personal. If you don’t find the quiet, cool darkness inviting, shake things up and find out what works for you.
As a general rule, silence is golden. And when it comes to falling asleep fast, wearing earplugs could be a great solution. You should also switch your phone to silent (or – if you can – leave it out of the room entirely). This can help to keep night-time noise disturbances to a minimum. Well, as much as is in your control at least anyway.
Light disturbance is another thing that will impact how quickly you are able to drift off. Good-quality curtains or blinds will help to keep your bedroom dark. But you should also banish any unwanted lights by keeping your phone face down on your bedside table. And now may be a good time to consider charging your electric toothbrush elsewhere too. That blue light blinking and winking all night long isn’t great for anyone’s insomnia battles.
Another thing to be aware of is your room temperature. The optimal room temperature that will help you fall asleep faster is around 18 degrees Celsius (11). Being too hot can cause restlessness. Being too cold makes it more difficult to fall asleep (12). And both scenarios have knock on effects on your health!
5. remember: a watched kettle never boils
And so, if you're lying awake and find that sleep doesn’t come fast (or at all), don’t force the issue. If you really cannot get to sleep, don’t just lie there. Get up! Get out from under that duvet, find a comfy place to perch your bottom and do something relaxing. Reading a book or listening to soft music at a quiet volume are just two examples of relaxing activities to try (12).
And you should only climb back under the covers when you feel more sleepy.
That said, if you’re lying in bed and feel tired, it’s fine to simply soak up the benefits of resting. You may even find that sleep just creeps over you naturally.
6. watch what you eat and exercise to fall asleep faster
Pair a healthy, balanced diet with regular physical exercise and falling asleep fast will be a thing of the past. Or so they say (13). So, it stands to reason that an unhealthy diet and a lack of physical activity can make it much harder to drop off to sleep fast.
Don’t eat large meals close to bedtime. Instead, try to eat you last meal of the day with at least 3 hours in play before you dive under the duvet (14).
You should also try to skip out on caffeine, alcohol or nicotine too. These substances are all different types of stimulants. And stimulants are great at making us more alert – exactly what we want to avoid when we’re trying to fall asleep faster!
And, believe it or not, regular exercise helps us fall asleep faster. That said, there are rules about when, where any why here too. Try to avoid exercise in the 90 minutes ahead of your bedtime. Exercise releases endorphins and it’s these chemicals that can create a level of activity in the brain. This is often the cause of people not being able to get to sleep fast (15).
7. comfort + support = a great night’s sleep
If you have accomplished all of the above and are still struggling to fall asleep fast, it might be time to inspect your hardware. If you’re waking up in the mornings sore, or you find your allergies are getting progressively worse, it could be time to consider buying a new mattress.
Before embarking on a new mattress shopping spree, consider the following:
- How long have you had your current mattress? If the answer to this question is more than eight years, it’s highly likely you’re in need of a new model.
- Are there visible signs of wear and tear? Visible sagging, tears or rips, holes, stains or any other signs of damage are good indications that it’s time to upgrade.
- Are there any invisible signs of wear and tear? If your mattress has become lumpy, the foam is lacking support or you’re able to feel springs poking you in the night, seize the day and invest in a sleep solution that will help you drift off to sleep fast.
At eve, we understand the importance of a proper support system to promote better sleep. This is why we offer a wide range of mattress tailored to a wide range of sleep positions. Check out our premium hybrid mattress which has been designed to support every sleep position preference while ensuring you get the kip you need to be your best self.
Well, what we’ve learned is that there are many different lifestyle factors that can affect our ability to fall asleep fast. So whether you need to get your sleep routine ironed out, practise mindfulness or would benefit from a brand new mattress – there are solutions! Find yours and fast sleep will ensue.
- Here Are The Effects Of Sleeping In A Cold Room | Sleep Advisor
- Is It Bad to Eat Before Bed? (verywellhealth.com)