You’re probably reading this because you want to know how to get to sleep fast right NOW, not be told that you can do it after lifestyle changes.
While exercise is often the biggest recommendation to get better sleep, what about situations where you can’t get to sleep because you have a big day you’re excited about tomorrow or your body just decides that wants to be awake for no apparent reason?
Here are some ideas to try if you want to make your body rest:
Use a blindfold and/or earplugs
Unless your body is already exhausted, outside stimulation is going to interrupt you from a restful sleep because your mind will want to pay attention to extraneous noises. Having earplugs and a blindfold can help with cutting all that out. But what if you don’t have proper earplugs or a blindfold? I found that a blanket, a spare shirt or even a hoodie can go over the eyes and for earplugs, sometimes a pair of headphones will dampen outside noise enough to get the same effect.
Some people, like myself, can only fall asleep when there is background noise in the room because we cannot fall asleep to complete silence. There are apps for your phone or tablet specifically meant to generate white noise in the form of a campfire or even light rain. Some pop in an older show or movie that they’ve seen a million times to fall asleep to and that also works, however, if you do it too often, whenever you start watching that show casually, you can also start getting sleepy because of habit. What also works is finding a 24/7 YouTube channel of easy calming music that you could drift to sleep by.
Drink something warm
Ingesting warm tea or even warm milk with a bit of honey can warm your insides and get you a bit drowsy. Certain teas, like chamomile, are meant to induce sleep. While there is a debate on the actual science of warm milk making you sleepy, as long as you are not lactose intolerant, it can’t hurt to try it.
Melatonin is the wonder supplement of a hormone that your body already produces and it said that if you have trouble sleeping, you most likely have low levels of melatonin. Doses are available over-the-counter and this is said to be helpful in some cases of insomnia. Just from experience, I will say that if you still have a bunch of outside stimulation, you may need to resort to other points on the list here.
Read a book
A calming activity like reading a book late at night can eventually cause your eyes to droop and fall asleep. It’s best to read books that aren’t too rousing to keep you up; sometimes a familiar set of stories or even a technical book can put you into that mood. It’s often why some kids want to be read the same fairy tale repeatedly when tucked into bed.
Avoid interacting with phones or lit screens before turning in
While lying in bed, we’ll try to squeeze in every last interaction on our phones or tablets before we pass out. However, lit screens tend to keep us engaged and when we’re too preoccupied with our phone and tablets, and we avoid our natural sleep signals. In fact, sometimes, you can feel your body getting more awake if you are playing a last-minute game or reading those Instagram comments so that your body prepares to respond.
Adjust the temperature of the room
We all know how hard it is to sleep in a room that it too hot or too cold. Adjusting the room temperature for your body’s comfort is important. If it’s too cold, you can easily adjust with more layers, such as more blankets. But if it’s too hot, you can use an air conditioner or a fan, but if you don’t have those options, you can put an ice pack on the center of your upper back, where cooling that down will cool down the rest of the body.
Mentally relax the body
One method that seems to work is when you are lying down and prepping yourself to sleep, you concentrate on body parts, one at a time, from the feet all the way to your head. Start with relaxing the feet, putting “them to sleep” then move towards the lower legs, then the thighs, the torso, the arms and by the time you reach your neck and hand, you could potentially pass out.
Use sleeping pills
I have saved the most obvious for last. But it’s very important that you read the directions carefully; most of these pills are active for 8 hours and shortened sleep will make you exceptionally drowsy and will impede your day. So, if you want a guaranteed sleep, this will do it, short of medically induced anesthesia.
But also, here’s another solution:
Remain awake until your body becomes exhausted
Sleep is important but depending on your situation, your body may just have extra fuel (or even extra caffeine) and the solution could be to remain awake and not feel horribly guilty right now that you’re not asleep. Most likely, your body might need that extra hour or two to stay awake until the body wants the rest it needs naturally without forcing it. This is more ideal if you don’t have any big plans or appointments the next day. And if you’re traveling, you can take advantage of opportunities to fall asleep on your way to your destination!
What are some other tips to fall asleep in under a minute?