How to Fall Asleep Fast Even When You’re Not Tired
Nothing is worse than lying in bed wide awake, watching the clock tick as a million thoughts go through your head. Or worse, knowing you have to get up early and getting frustrated when you can’t fall asleep.
Whether you are experiencing stress, bouts of insomnia, or have habits that keep you awake – like late-night screen time or drinking caffeine in the evening – some helpful hints may help you get the sleep you need.
Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep
Many of us have problems falling asleep, but we shouldn’t ignore it even though it is a common problem. A good night’s sleep is vital to your well-being, physically and mentally.
- Sleeping impacts your energy balance, reflexes and your ability to focus during the day.
- Your body’s capacity to rest affects how effectively you interact with people.
- While you sleep, processes like heart rate, breathing and blood pressure influence your cardiovascular health.
- Hormones released while you sleep play a role in how your body repairs cells and uses energy. Hormone production can also impact your weight.
Why Can’t I Fall Asleep?
According to the NIH, “about 70 million Americans of all ages suffer from chronic sleep problems. The two most common sleep disorders are insomnia and sleep apnea.”
The National Institute of Aging (NIA) explains that older adults require about the same amount of sleep as the general adult population, about seven to nine hours per night. However, older adults may experience difficulty falling asleep due to illness, pain, or medication side effects.
Nutrition and sleep individually contribute to overall health, and they also act on each other. Diet can influence your ability to sleep better. Likewise, sleep deprivation can increase your inclination to eat more and choose high-calorie foods. PubMed Central (PMC) is a source of peer-reviewed studies of the complex interrelationship between sleep and optimal nutrition.
Let your doctor know if you have trouble falling asleep. A diagnosis of the underlying cause may lead to treatment that resolves the problem.
Risks of Not Getting Sufficient Sleep
If you are not feeling tired, you may think you need less sleep than other people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests a range of sleep hours based on age, and for adults, seven hours is the recommended minimum.
Not getting enough sleep can lead to:
- Low mental and physical productivity
- Tendency to think slower, get confused and make mistakes
- Slower reflexes that can subject you and others to injury
- Errors in judgment that can lead to accidents
- Serious health conditions like obesity, hypertension, diabetes, depression and cardiac disease
Falling Asleep Fast Even When You’re Not Tired
What do you do when you are struggling to fall asleep? If you ask people this question, you are probably getting advice on falling asleep, spanning from counting sheep to hypnosis. Here are tips for falling asleep fast that may not yet be in your arsenal.
The 4-7-8 breathing technique
The 4-7-8 technique is a breathing exercise based on an ancient practice of India known as Pranayama. If you are a yoga enthusiast, you may be familiar with the concept of harnessing the power of your mind by controlling your breath.
WebMD suggests that “practicing deep, slow breathing techniques such as 4-7-8 breathing can trigger your body’s relaxation response and help you get to sleep.” This breathing technique involves inhaling through your nose for four seconds, holding your breath for seven seconds and exhaling through your mouth for eight seconds.
Ensure your bedroom is conducive to falling asleep
The National Sleep Foundation recommendations include:
- Keeping your bedroom temperature at a range of 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit
- Trying earplugs or white-noise devices to reduce noise distractions
- Hanging blackout shades and dimming digital clocks to darken the room
How to Fall Asleep Using Mind Games
Think about the times when your alarm went off, you rolled over to get a few more minutes of sleep and ended up oversleeping. The National Institutes of Health (NIA) suggests making believe you have to be up in five minutes and only need a few more minutes of sleep.
Try counting to 100 slowly: 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, etc. Pretend you are floating on a cloud while you are counting.
Find the most comfortable position for you, and relax one body section at a time. Start with your head, then neck and shoulders, and work your way down. Imagine stress and tension releasing out through your toes.
How Do I Fall Asleep and Get Quality Rest?
Some people who have trouble falling asleep also have poor quality sleep. The NIH suggests behaviors you can try to improve your quality of sleep so you can awaken rested and refreshed:
- Schedule a consistent routine that commits you to sleep the same time every night and wake up the same time every morning.
- Keep your bedroom dark, quiet and comfortable.
- Exercise daily, but keep the routine to daytime hours. Don’t exercise just before bedtime.
- Stay away from electronics before bedtime.
- Find a bedtime ritual that you find relaxing. For some people, it’s taking a warm bath or reading a book, and others prefer meditation or soft music.
- Refrain from alcohol and caffeine toward the end of the day.
- Avoid the use of nicotine.
Sleep well, and sweet dreams.
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