10 Ways to fall asleep faster (Health Digest)

10 Ways to fall asleep faster (Health Digest)

Good sleep is incredibly important. It helps you feel good and makes your body and brain function properly. Poor sleep can have negative effects on many parts of your body and brain, including learning, memory, mood, emotions and various biological functions.

Some people have no problem falling asleep. However, many others have severe difficulty falling and staying asleep through the night.  Many run through our days and don’t think about sleeping until our heads just hit the pillow. In order to sleep better, you need to prepare for sleep during the day, give yourself a bedtime and get yourself into a bedtime routine in a controlled environment. Here are 20 simple ways to fall asleep as fast as possible.

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1. Doing regular exercises during The Day

Physical activity is often considered beneficial to healthy sleep. Exercise can increase the duration and quality of sleep by boosting the production of serotonin in the brain and decreasing  levels of cortisol the stress hormone . However, it is important to maintain a moderate-intensity exercise routine and not overdo it. Excessive training has been linked to poor sleep. The time of the day when you exercise is also critical. To promote better quality sleep, working out early in the morning appears to be better than working out later in the day. Therefore, moderate-to-vigorous exercise in the morning could significantly improve the quality and quantity of your sleep.

2. Experience both daylight and darkness

Light can influence your body’s internal clock, which regulates sleep and wakefulness. Irregular light exposure can lead to disruption of circadian rhythms, making it harder to fall asleep and stay awake. During the day, exposing your body to bright light tells it to stay alert. At night, darkness promotes feelings of sleepiness. In fact, research shows that darkness boosts the production of melanin, an essential hormone for sleep. Get out and expose your body to sunlight or artificial bright light throughout the day. If possible, use blackout curtains to make your room dark at night.

3. Learning stress management skills

Managing your stress can help rid your mind of obsessive and upsetting thoughts that can creep in as you are replaying your day in your head right before you fall asleep.

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4. Avoid naps during the day

Due to poor sleep at night, people with insomnia tend to be sleepy during the day. This often leads to daytime napping. While naps of short duration have been linked to improvements in alertness and well being, there are mixed opinions about the effects of napping on nighttime sleep. Some studies have shown that regular, long (two hours or more) and late naps may lead to poor nighttime sleep quality and even sleep deprivation . One study showed that among 440 college students, those who reported taking three or more naps per week, those who napped more than two hours and those who napped late (between 6 and 9 p.m.) had the poorest nighttime sleep quality .

Another study found that older adults who napped frequently had lower quality nighttime sleep, more depressive symptoms, more limited physical activity and were more likely to be overweight than those who rarely took a nap. Other studies have revealed that naps do not affect nighttime sleep . To find out if naps are affecting your sleep, try either eliminating naps altogether or limiting yourself to a short nap (30 minutes or less) early in the day.

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5. Watch what you eat and when you eat

It seems that the food you eat before bed may affect your sleep. For example, research has shown that high-carb meals may be detrimental to a good night’s rest. A review of studies concluded that even though a high-carb diet can get you to fall asleep faster, it will not be restful sleep. Instead, high-fat meals could promote a deeper and more restful sleep.

In fact, several studies agree that a high-carb/low-fat diet significantly decreased the quality of sleep compared to a low-carb/high-fat diet with the same amount of calories for both diets. If you still want to eat a high-carb meal for dinner, you should eat it at least four hours before bet, so you have enough time to digest it. Although most Americans eat a large dinner, you’ll find it’s best for your digestion and sleep if you eat a large breakfast, moderate lunch and smaller dinner (at least 2 hours before bed). Reduce caffeine and alcohol, and drink most of your fluids before dinner.

6. Lower the room temperature

Preparing your body for sleep and keeping the same sleep/wake times will help you fall and stay asleep longer. Your body temperature changes as you fall asleep. Core temperature decreases, while the temperature of your hands and feet increases. If your room is too warm, you might have a hard time falling asleep. Setting your thermostat to a cool temperature between 60–75°F (15–23°C) could help. Individual preferences will vary, so find the temperature that works best for you. Taking a warm bath or shower could also help speed up the body’s temperature changes. As your body cools down afterwards, this can help send a signal to your brain to go to sleep

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7. Get on a schedule 

Many people find that setting a sleep schedule helps them fall asleep easier. Your body has its own regulatory system called the circadian rhythm. This internal clock cues your body to feel alert during the day but sleepy at night. Waking up and going to bed at the same times each day can help your internal clock keep a regular schedule. Once your body adjusts to this schedule, it will be easier to fall asleep and wake up around the same time every day. It is also important to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. This has been shown to be the optimal sleep duration for adults. Lastly, give yourself 30 minutes to an hour to wind down in the evening before getting in bed. This allows your body and mind to relax and prepare for sleep.

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8. Adjust Your Sleep Position

Good quality sleep may depend on your body position during the night. There are three main sleeping positions: back, stomach or side. Traditionally, it was believed that back sleepers had a better quality of sleep. However, research has shown that this might not be the best position to sleep in, as it could lead to blocked airways, sleep apnea and snoring. In fact, a study done on 16 people determined that the participants who reported consistent poor sleep spent more time on their back. Although individual preferences play an important role in choosing sleep position, the side position seems to be linked to high-quality sleep.

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9. Limit Caffeine and Drink a Soothing Beverage

Caffeine is widely used among people to fight fatigue and stimulate alertness. It can be found in foods and beverages like chocolate, coffee, sodas and energy drinks. Unfortunately, caffeine can have disastrous effects on your sleep. Although the effects of caffeine vary from person to person, it is recommended that you refrain from consuming caffeine at least six hours before bedtime. Instead, you could drink a soothing tea like chambomile tea, which has been shown to promote sleep and relaxation.

10. Turn off all electronics

Using electronic devices late at night is terrible for sleep. Watching TV, playing video games, using a mobile phone and social networking can make it significantly harder for you to fall and stay asleep. It is recommended that you disconnect all electronics and put away computers and mobile phones so you can ensure a quiet place, free of distractions. You will be able to fall asleep much faster.

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