5 Hacks to Fall Asleep Faster
We get it, we get it–sleep is important. If we’re not getting enough, we’ll be less productive and more prone to accidents and disease, but there’s nothing worse than crawling into bed early only to toss and turn for hours. If you’re serious about improving the quality of your sleep, however, here are five tips and tricks for falling asleep faster!
The jury is still out on whether it’s the actual smell of lavender or just the fact that it’s used in a regular bedtime routine that helps us fall asleep. Regardless, you can take advantage of this old-world-therapy-meets-new science by using scents such as lavender, bergamot, and cardamom to help you drift off into happy slumber.
You can use essential oils in a diffuser or apply topically or use a room or pillow spray.
Or a hot shower. Something about the warmth and quiet noise of the water can do wonders to relax your body and quiet your brain so you can fall asleep quickly. Not a big fan of baths? No problem! Take a hot shower, instead. Either way, coming out of the warm water into a cooler bedroom will cause your body temperature to drop, which tells your brain that it’s sleep time.
Also, the change in body temperature dilates your blood vessels, which allows more blood and oxygen to flow through your body. This helps to release muscle tension and stress, sending yet another signal to your brain that sleep is imminent.
Progressive muscle relaxation involves tensing muscles while you breathe in, followed by relaxing those same muscles as you breathe out. The idea is that the release of tension in your muscles leads to physical relaxation, which in turn leads to mental relaxation and allows you to fall asleep quickly.
Most experts recommend this tensing-relaxing exercise be done in a certain order, and some even claim that saying the word “the” can be just as effective. Scientists call this a blocking strategy and explain that it helps the mind to stop racing.
A recent study gave insomniacs caps with circulating water at cool temperatures to wear to bed. The study authors found that the caps enabled the so-called insomniacs to fall asleep just as fast as the non-insomniacs, and stay asleep for just as long, too! Scientists speculate it’s because people who have trouble sleeping have higher-than-normal activities in their brains, raising the temperature of their heads to a level not conducive for sleep.
Don’t have a special water-circulating cap? Trying dropping the temperature in your bedroom so your overall body temperature will fall.
Melatonin is a hormone produced naturally by your body. It’s not a drug and won’t make your eyes close all on their home, but it does help your body drift into what’s called a state of “quiet wakefulness.” If you’re having trouble falling asleep quickly at night, there’s a chance your body might not be producing enough of the chemical on its own.
Melatonin isn’t normally recommended for long-term use, but it can be used short-term to help you overcome insomnia, deal with jet lag, or get back to a regular sleep routine. Experts recommend taking it about two hours before bed, and using other good sleep practices (like a warm bath) to assist.