A good night’s sleep is essential for our health and wellbeing. Sleep helps us recover from the day’s activities, recharge and get ready for the next day. When we fall asleep, our body works hard to heal damaged cells and boost our immune system. Many of us suffer from sleep deprivation and insomnia. If we don’t get enough quality sleep, we wake up drowsy, irritable and depressed. A sleep-deprived person finds it tough to make decisions and tends to crave unhealthy food. Lack of sleep can place a lot of stress on our nervous system and overall health. But we often wonder – how to fall asleep fast? Let square this topic in steps.
- Also read: How much sleep do I need?
Here are the six main reasons why we must sleep well
- Memory: Our brain works overtime to commit new information to our memory as we sleep. So sleep is vital for a good memory.
- Weight: Chronic sleep deprivation can cause weight gain as it affects the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates.
- Safety: Lack of sleep can lower our emergency response time, which can lead to accidents.
- Concentration: Lack of sleep affects our focus, which affects our work. It also makes us irritable and impatient.
- Heart health: Hypertension, irregular heartbeat and increased levels of stress hormones in the body are all linked to lack of sleep.
- Lower immunity: Lack of sleep affects the immune system in the body and makes us more vulnerable to diseases.
How to fall asleep fast? – Tips and tricks
Healthy sleeping habits, also known as sleep hygiene, can have a positive effect on your life. Follow these tips to help you to fall asleep fast and also improve the quality of your sleep:
1. Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol around bedtime
Caffeine is a stimulant that can keep you awake, so avoid having caffeine based drinks like tea and coffee around bedtime. Smokers should also avoid smoking before their sleep time for the same reason.
Alcohol may make you sleepy initially, after a few hours it becomes a stimulant and can affect the quality of your sleep. Avoid having these stimulants at least four hours before you sleep time.
2. Keep electronic products out of your bedroom
We are surrounded by electronic products all through the day. However, we must refrain from using these products around bedtime. Our bodies react to light, and this can interfere with our sleep cycle. The blue light of our smartphones and laptops affects our sleep. Eliminate as much artificial light from your bedroom as possible to get a good night’s sleep.
3. Have a calming pre-sleep routine
Have a relaxing bath, take a shower with warm water, read a book or listen to music (study) before you sleep. These activities help you calm down and sleep better. Avoid stressful activities before bedtime as these activities release the hormone cortisol which will keep you alert and awake.
4. Don’t be a clock watcher
If you can’t fall asleep, staring at the clock won’t help. Looking at the time and counting the hours left to get up only increases your stress and will not help you sleep. Instead, turn the face of the clock the other way and indulge in pre-sleep routine to fall asleep quickly.
5. Have a light dinner
Keep your dinners light and have them at least three to four hours before you sleep. Avoid having food that may cause indigestion. If you feel like snacking late in the night, snack on foods that do not disturb your sleep.
6. Exercise early
Regular exercise is good for your health and can help you sleep quickly. However, make sure that you exercise at least four hours before you sleep. Exercise releases the stress hormone cortisol which can keep you alert and awake.
7. Sleep on a comfortable mattress
Ensure that your mattress is supportive and comfortable. The average lifespan of a good quality mattress is 9 or 10 years, after which you must replace it. Ensure that your pillow is comfortable. Ensure that your mattress and pillows free of dust and allergens. Try to make the décor of your bedroom soothing and comfortable.
8. Choose a comfortable sleeping position
You may be used to sleeping in a particular position, but it may not be the best suited for you. Whether you sleep on your back, your side or on your stomach, each of these sleeping positions has its pros and cons. Be the best judge as it will also help you fall in sleep instantly.
9. Avoid napping during the day
Afternoon naps may be one of the reasons why you can not sleep during the night. Avoid napping during the day and if you must have a nap, ensure that you get up before 5 pm. Naps can decrease your sleep drive and keep you awake during the night.
10. Drink a glass of water before you sleep
Drink water before you sleep to avoid dehydration and waking up thirsty. However, don’t overdo your fluid intake or you may end up making midnight trips to the bathroom.
11. Maintain regular sleep schedule
Going to sleep and waking up at the same time every night sets your body clock. This is very helpful for sleeping quickly and getting quality sleep during the night.
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12. Sleep when you are tired
Don’t toss and turn on your bed if you can’t sleep. Go to another room and do some activities that will help you relax. Avoid TV or other electronic items at this time.
13. Try breathing exercises
Try some simple breathing exercises to help you relax and sleep. Inhale through your nose, hold your breath as you count to seven and then exhale through your mouth. Repeat this simple exercise for a few minutes every night before you sleep. These exercises will help you relax and sleep instantly.
14. Increase bright light exposure
Exposure to natural light or bright sunlight helps improve our daytime energy and nighttime sleep quality. Our body’s circadian rhythm (natural time-keeping clock) stays healthy with exposure to natural light.
15. Try aromatherapy
Several studies suggest that Lavender helps you to relax and have a quality sleep instantly. Some studies have also discovered that lavender is helpful to women who are suffering from insomnia.