Not everyone is blessed with the ability to sleep like a baby every night. So if you’re troubled with insomnia from time to time, you’re definitely not alone. Thankfully, some tried-and-tested tricks can help you fall asleep quickly – and we explore the most effective of these right here in this handy blog.
1. Take A Warm Shower Before Bed
Your mum might have suggested this technique and – guess what? – as usual, she was right. If you take a warm shower before bed, you’ll help relax your muscles and wash away the tension that builds up throughout the day.
According to a showering survey we rolled out in 2019, 29.2% of Australians shower before bed.
Here’s how it helps. The rapid drop in your body temperature after getting out of a warm bath or shower serves as a natural sleep indicator that can help you fall asleep more quickly. It’s a highly effective relaxation technique that is often overlooked but has been seen to show very positive results.
Moreover, the steam from a hot bath can also open up your pores, making it a healthy deep-cleansing ritual for the skin. Having clean and unclogged skin is also linked to better sleep quality – so make sure you hit freshen up before hitting the sheets.
2. Do Some Light Exercises
An appropriate amount of exercise in the evening can accelerate the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. But be sure to AVOID vigorous exercises such as running, boxing and heavy weight-lifting. These exercises dramatically increase the heart rate and adrenaline levels, making you too stimulated to fall asleep easily.
On the flip side, recommended exercises that can improve your sleep quality include yoga, pilates and walking.
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It’s also important to let your body wind down after you exercise so that you’re ready for bed. So, a warm shower (as mentioned in point one) might do the trick!
3. Try Meditation and Breathing Exercises
While meditation is no longer a novel concept, many people still don’t realise how powerful it can be. Mindfulness meditation encourages you to concentrate on the present – taking note of the scents in the room or the sounds outside the window. It’s an effective exercise to train the brain, enhance your attention span and relieve anxiety symptoms.
Meditation can be done with or without music, and some great phone applications come with audio instructions. The great thing about basic meditation is that each exercise may only take you a few minutes to finish. Unlike physical exercise like running or swimming, meditation is an exercise for the mind. And it’s just as beneficial.
4. The 4-7-8 Breathing Technique
A popular deep breathing method you may want to try is called the “4-7-8” breathing technique. This method involves breathing in through your nose for four seconds, holding your breath for seven seconds and exhaling through your mouth for eight seconds.
The technique relaxes the nervous system and forces your heart rate to slow down, helping the body wind down before you try to drift off.
This cycle can be repeated several times to achieve the best results. It can also be used during periods of high stress, such as before a presentation or speech.
5. Avoid Heavy Meals At Night
A light and healthy dinner doesn’t just help with weight management, it may also improve your snooze. Not convinced? You may want to familiarise yourself with the “three-hour rule”, which specifies not to go to bed within 3 hours of eating a large meal. This is to give your body a chance to digest its food.
Going to bed on a full stomach may cause you to toss and turn throughout the night while your metabolism is working hard to digest what you’ve eaten. You’re also more likely to grind your teeth and wake up to visit the loo in the middle of the night if you’ve had a heavy dinner before bed.
6. Reduce Blue Light Exposure at Night
We often find ourselves scrolling through our phones at night, which may be why so many of us have trouble falling asleep.
Blue light from devices like smartphones and tablets can affect the production of melatonin (the sleep hormone) which then affects your sleep cycle or your circadian rhythm, which will lead to sleep deprivation. To avoid this problem, you can use a blue light filter for your phone when it’s near bedtime. Or, better yet, stow away your devices at least an hour before bed.
CHECK OUT: The Ecosa Bedside Table – with smart storage for charging your devices and keeping away your gadgets right before bed.
7. Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
Good sleep hygiene begins with your bedroom being designed to be a sleep environment as a top priority. Sleep hygiene comes in many forms, from keeping your room as dark and quiet as possible to setting your thermostat at just the right cool temperature.
Black-out curtains are also recommended to keep bright light sources from entering the room, while earplugs can be useful for sleepers lying down beside snorers – keeping sleep-impairing sounds to a minimum level.
Sleep hygiene also involves being intentional in observing your sleep schedules, with a fixed sleeping time and wake-up time for the next day. It also incorporates various sleep and bedtime routines to program your mind into being in a state of sleepiness.
8. Create a Sleep Ritual
Another good step is to create a sleep ritual. This can be as simple as brushing your teeth, taking a shower, reading a book or listening to music before lights out. It’s up to you to decide what works best for your situation and what makes you feel comfortable – and sleepy.
Some other ways to signal your mind that it’s time for a good night’s sleep include: drinking chamomile tea, lighting candles for aromatherapy, playing soft piano music or white noise, reading a book, meditation and prayer – basically light activities that promote wellness and relaxation.
9. Be Mindful of What You Consume
It’s not just about what you ate right before bed. What you’ve consumed throughout the day may also have an effect and be causing sleeplessness. Excessive intake of alcohol, caffeine, and sugar during the day can affect your sleep onset, or how much time it takes for you to fall asleep.
Caffeine and sugar are also stimulants for your nervous system, so the cakes and latte you had at 3 pm may still have some lasting effect on your sleep onset.
You may think that alcohol is a sleep aid since it can make you fall asleep faster, but this is not necessarily true. We often mistake falling asleep faster with passing out, which stems more from the sedative properties of alcohol. Sure, you might be snoozing sooner, but your night is likely to be disturbed (often with trips to the bathroom) and you might not be getting healthy sleep.
10. The Military Method
The military method is a popular method created and used by the United States Navy Pre-Flight School to help uniformed men to sleep in 2 minutes or less. It takes about 6 weeks of practice and you have to commit to being mindful and following the instructions. Here’s how to fall asleep faster with the military method:
- Be in a comfortable sleeping position – lying on your back works best if that’s how you sleep.
- Relax your facial muscles, eyelids, cheeks, jaw, and brows, and slowly allow your arms to drop to your sides.
- Begin taking deep breaths calmly and repeat the deep breaths until the body feels relaxed and at ease.
- Visualisations help, so imagine a scenario like lying down on a hammock by the ocean, or lounging in the countryside – this helps clear the mind.
- If it doesn’t work, repeat the cycle and utter the words “don’t think” to yourself for 10 seconds before trying it out again.
There are plenty of sleep tips and tricks that can help with your sleep problems, especially to facilitate easier sleep onset. You’d be amazed at how being mindful of the things you do before you sleep can help you achieve a good night’s sleep! By trying out a few of these 10 tips, we hope we can help you sleep faster tonight.
Oh, and don’t forget sleeping on a super comfortable mattress can work wonders for your sleep as well!