Don’t you just envy people who can fall asleep within 5 minutes or less? What God do they pray to, you wonder? Or maybe it’s voodoo?
No, it’s not voodoo! They’ve just mastered the four key elements to cultivate relaxation and cue the body to fall asleep faster: a quiet environment, a comfy position, a focus of attention like a mantra or breathing pattern, and finally, the ability to recognize that your mind will naturally wander when you try to focus on sleep.
The tips we’ll be laying out in this article are grounded in those four elements. Read on to find out how you too can join the out-like-a-light community.
1. Lower your temperature and quickly fall asleep
When you lie down, your body cools down and that tells your biological clock that it’s time to take a nap. So if you’re trying to fall asleep you’re feeling hot, that’s probably the reason why you can fall asleep.
The first thing you can do is to take off some of your clothes and you should even consider sleeping naked. In addition to lowering your temperature, sleeping naked has been found to have a wide range of health benefits as well.
Going commando is not your only option here. Simply peeling off some of your covers or taking a warm bath 1 to 2 hours before bed could be just the remedy you need to help lower your temperature when you finally decide to call it a night. The optimum temperature for good sleep is 15 – 19 degrees celsius. The sooner you achieve that, the faster you’ll drift into slumberland.
2. Maintaining a consistent bedtime routine helps you to fall asleep
You know that habit you have of sleeping at 10 pm today then watching movies till 2 am tomorrow? It may be making it really difficult for your body to learn when to slip into that much-desired sleep state when you need it.
Try to avoid it as much as you can and strive to create a regular bedtime routine. It informs your circadian rhythm when to release the hormones that induce sleep or wakefulness.
3. Avoid napping during the day and fall asleep faster at night
It can be very tempting to catch a daytime nap, especially on a hot afternoon or when you did not sleep well the previous night.
If you want to fall asleep faster when your head hits the pillow, avoid this as much as you can. Daytime naps, especially those that are more than 2 hours long, can hinder your ability to sleep quickly.
4. Putting away your tech tricks your brain to sleep fast
In recent times, going to bed and browsing through your phone have almost become synonymous. While lying there and checking out your latest social app, chatting with friends or reading a book till you pass out might seem like a good idea, it also increases the amount of time it takes before you fall asleep.
The blue light emitted by phones imitates the normal daylight and that confuses your biological clock. It assumes that although you are lying down, it’s still not time for bed. That’s why it’s recommended to avoid phone or computer lights at least 1 to 2 hours before bed.
Hey, we get it – completely putting away your tech might be tricky now that tech has become such an integral part of our lives. You might want to use your phone to play tunes that lull you to sleep. Still, try as much as you can to avoid its blue light. You could even place the phone facing down or turn your back on it, literally.
5. Sleep quickly by reading something
Instead of slipping into bed and reaching for your phone to keep up with the latest gossip on Twitter, try reading a physical book or magazine. Reading is a great activity to help you wind down the night and fall asleep faster.
Try to avoid material that invokes high emotions since that could keep you awake longer. You should also avoid reading e-books since they’ll expose you to your device’s blue light and that will make it harder for you to fall asleep.
6. Exercise during the day, sleep faster at night
Sleep and exercise have always had such a cute mutual relationship. Getting enough quality sleep gives you more energy during the day, which helps in working out. In turn, routinely exercising during the day can greatly improve your sleep quality.
Don’t worry if you can’t make it to the gym. You can check out home workout videos on Youtube or simply incorporate activities such as running or cycling into your day-to-day routine.
However, ensure that you don’t engage in a high-intensity workout right before bed. It can actually be counterproductive and make it harder for you to fall asleep.
7. Avoid caffeine at least 6h before bed
Caffeinated beverages such as coffee, soda and drinks with chocolate are designed to keep you alert. If you’re a coffee lover and you tend to drink that last cup just before bed, it could be affecting how fast you fall asleep.
Generally, it’s advisable to avoid caffeinated drinks at least 6 hours before bed. If you must drink something, you can explore herbal teas such as chamomile, lavender and valerian root, which have actually been shown to improve sleep quality.
8. Use the 4-7-8 breathing technique to relax and sleep faster
The 4-7-8 breathing technique is based on Pranayama, a traditional yoga technique. It helps your body to achieve a state of relaxation, which in turn, can help you to fall asleep faster.
Here’s how to do it:
- Rest your tongue behind your front teeth and at the roof of your mouth.
- Deeply exhale through your mouth.
- Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds. Hold your breath for 7 seconds. Exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds.
- Repeat this process at least four times.
You’ll find this technique to be really helpful especially if you’re stressing about something and thinking about it is affecting how fast you fall asleep.
9. Avoid trying to fall asleep
Strange advice, right? You’d be surprised how well it works. Here’s why: falling asleep is an involuntary action, which makes it very hard for you to command your body to do it. It’s like trying to force yourself to get an appetite.
Instead of forcing yourself to sleep, you should focus on just relaxing and enjoy being in bed. Paradoxical as it is, trying to avoid falling asleep puts less pressure on the act of falling asleep. Within no time, your body will recognize that it’s time for bed and you’ll drift off much faster than you had expected.
10. Get a comfortable mattress
Our customers like to joke that before they got a MoKo mattress, they’d wake up in the middle of the night to rest because their mattresses were really uncomfy. If that sounds like you and you’d like to fall asleep faster, then you need to invest in a good mattress.
This is the part where we sneak in our sales pitch and nudge you to buy a firm high-density MoKo mattress. It comes with a 45-day sleep trial period within which you can return it if you don’t like it for any reason whatsoever and you’ll get your money back. Did we mention that we deliver countrywide?
Okay, enough of the sales pitch. We’d really like to help you make an informed purchase so we’ve created an in-depth guide to help you know what to look out for when buying a good mattress in Kenya. Go ahead and check it out!
And that’s how you fall asleep quicker!
Note that it takes time to practise some of these techniques so don’t feel bad it doesn’t work the first time you try it. Breathing techniques, for example, can take up to 6 weeks to master.
We hope this helps you no longer need to pop a sleeping pill every time you need to call it a night. Start trying out these tips and watch how fast you’ll start to fall asleep. In fact, most of them will also improve the overall quality of your sleep so it really is a double win for you.