We’ve all been there: you have an important meeting, a workout class, or a flight early in the morning and you just can’t fall asleep. It’s frustrating! If it happens several nights in a row, it can feel hopeless.
At GhostBed, our mission is to make sure you get enough shut-eye. So we’re here to help. Keep reading for 16 GhostBed-Sleep-Expert-approved tips to fall asleep quickly.
Preparation for Good Sleep Begins When You Wake Up
Did you know good sleep begins hours before you go to bed? If you really want to fall asleep fast, you have to start preparing when it’s light out.
Get sunlight as soon as you wake up
Your phone has survived eight hours without you. We promise it can make it a few minutes more. When you rise in the morning, skip checking your email or social media.
Instead, indulge in a big old stretch and get right outside. Leave your phone (and laptop!) indoors and take at least 15 minutes to soak in the morning sunlight. Early morning light helps regulate your internal clock, so you’ll have an easier time sleeping later in the day.
Keep a consistent bedtime and wake-up time
We know, it can be hard to hit the sack when your favorite show is on, which makes it even harder to get up in the morning. But a little discipline goes a long way here.
Going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day–yes, even on the weekends–is critical for maintaining your circadian rhythm and falling asleep easily.
In fact, the actual times you go to bed and wake up matter less than choosing the times you prefer and sticking to them consistently.
Don’t skip out on breakfast
When you have an early meeting or workout, a healthy meal can be the last thing on your mind. However, studies show eating breakfast in the morning is one way to get better sleep at night.
Break up with the snooze button
This might be the hardest tip on the list, but it’s worth it! As innocent as hitting snooze once (or four times) can feel, it actually disrupts your REM sleep. This can make you feel groggy, leading to a disrupted internal clock and poorer sleep when you get back into bed at night.
Instead, try to find a way to avoid hitting snooze this week. That might look like keeping your alarm clock (or phone) across the room from your bed or setting your coffee maker to brew at your desired wake-up time.
Be mindful of napping
However, napping for too long or at the wrong time of day can make it harder to sleep at night. To keep your siestas beneficial, nap for about 20 minutes and do it before 3pm. This is enough time to give you a refresh without leaving you feeling groggy or interfering with your sleep at night.
Move your body
One of the best ways to rest well at night? Get active during the day. According to Johns Hopkins, Regular exercise is linked to reduced stress and better sleep.
If you don’t have a gym membership, don’t fret. Walking around your neighborhood, dancing to your favorite album or following along with a YouTube yoga video all count!
Mitigate your stress throughout the day
Having high levels of stress can make it harder for you to fall asleep at night. That means it’s time to take responsibility for how much tension you let into your life. While some stress is unavoidable, you can do your best to keep your schedule manageable, spend time with folks who support you and develop routines that help you move through the day with ease.
When you’re more relaxed during the day, you’ll have an easier time drifting off in the evening.
Be cautious about caffeine
If you’ve ever had a latte too late in the day, you know the effect it can have on your sleep. While some caffeine in the morning is okay, you’ll want to stop drinking it about six hours before you plan to go to sleep.
Thankfully, there are plenty of adaptogen-rich coffee alternatives on the market to keep you feeling energized and inspired in the afternoon. (Or, grab an herbal tea or fizzy kombucha!)
Calm Evenings Lead to Restful Nights
As you wind down for the evening, you can tailor your routine to help you fall asleep faster.
Eat smaller meals later in the day
Do you tend to over-indulge at dinner?
It’s common for busy folks to skip meals throughout the day and make up for it with huge portions at dinnertime. While it’s important to meet your caloric needs, doing it all in one meal is not beneficial for sleep.
Eating a large dinner can disrupt sleep because the body requires more energy to digest a heavy meal, which can increase metabolism and make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night.
Instead, make sure you’re eating three well-balanced meals and a nourishing snack or two throughout the day so you’re not starving in the evening.
Don’t go to bed hungry
Going to bed overstuffed is not great for sleep, but neither is going to bed with a completely empty stomach.
Going to sleep hungry can disrupt sleep because hunger pangs and low blood sugar can cause physical discomfort, making it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep.
Hunger may also lead to an increase in the stress hormone cortisol, which can further disrupt sleep.
Put away your phone an hour before bed
It’s tempting to do one last scroll on social media before you hit the hay, but doing so can make it harder to drift off.
Studies show exposure to blue light emitted by electronic devices within two hours of bedtime can suppress melatonin production and disrupt sleep.
Individuals who used electronic devices closer to bedtime also had worse sleep quality and experienced more daytime sleepiness. This week, try grabbing a book instead and watch as your sleep improves.
Save your bath or shower for the evening
As if you needed another excuse to pamper yourself with a warm bubble bath!
A study from The University of Texas at Austin found a warm soak before bed can help you fall asleep faster, improve sleep quality, and increase total sleep time. The warm water helps to increase skin temperature, which then cools down and triggers the body's natural sleep mechanism.
To amplify your relaxation, add Epsom salts to your bath, which relax your muscles and help you drift off.
Before Bed Rituals
It’s finally time to get some shut-eye. Keep these good habits in mind as you turn out the lights. They’ll help you fall asleep instantly!
Try not to watch the clock
Watching the minutes tick by as you’re trying to sleep isn’t going to help you doze off. In fact, it’s likely to do the opposite. Not only is the light from your clock sending your body signals to stay awake, but the stress you feel as you tally lost sleep is dragging you further from relaxation.
If you don’t feel comfortable sleeping without a clock in the room, face it away from your bed so you’re not tempted to glance at it while you (try to) nod off.
Turn out all the lights
A small night light may not seem like a big deal, but it can have a large impact on your sleep.
In one sleep study, participants who slept in a completely dark room slept the longest and had the most restful sleep, while those in the dimly lit room had disrupted sleep patterns, and those in the bright room had the shortest and most disrupted sleep.
To get the best sleep, keep a flashlight next to your bed for emergencies and shut off all other sources of light. If there are electronics in your room that have a light on them, unplug them at bedtime or cover them with a blanket or towel.
Take a deep breath (or several)
Sometimes your body is ready for bed, but your mind isn’t. If your thoughts are racing when you’re trying to sleep, it can be helpful to practice a calming breathing technique.
In one study, participants who practiced a breathing technique fell asleep faster and had better quality sleep than those who did not practice.
What type of breathing should you do? It’s really up to you. Any technique that helps you slow down and consciously focus on your breath will do wonders.
One easy technique is the 4-7-8 method. To do it, breathe through your nose for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds and finish by exhaling through your mouth for eight seconds.
Cuddle up with your pet
This is a perfect excuse to let your dog on the bed!
In one study, participants who cuddled with their dogs at night had a higher sleep efficiency, meaning more of the time they spent in their bed was spent sleeping.
Additionally, the study found that participants who cuddled with their dogs reported feeling more secure and relaxed at night. So next time Fido gives you those pleading eyes, make room under the covers for him.
The Best Way to Fall Asleep Fast: A Better Quality Mattress
Our final sleep tip is the most important. Make sure you’re sleeping on a high-quality mattress! Trying to get good rest on a mattress that doesn’t offer the support, cooling and pressure relief your body needs is almost guaranteed to fail, even if you use all of the wonderful tips we’ve just shared.
If it’s been years since you’ve replaced your mattress or you're simply unhappy with the one you currently have, our Sleep Experts at GhostBed are standing by to help. You can take our short mattress quiz to find the perfect bed for you or talk to a real human who will help you understand your sleep needs and find you the ideal mattress. We can’t wait to hear from you!
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