Things You Can Do to Fall Asleep Faster
It’s frustrating when you realize that sometimes tossing and turning at night, doesn’t work at all. You lie under the covers and think that it’s the same amount of time that’s going to be sliced off from your total sleeping hours. You close your eyes, in a hope to spend every second in dreamland and to wake up as a fully functioning person the next morning. But all you can hear is, clock ticking and time passing. No matter how hard you try, you end up staying awake and everything, just doesn’t work.
Placing your head on the pillow, shutting your eyes and sleeping, is not as simple as it sounds. When your mind is full of thoughts, tensions and discomfort, it prevents you from falling asleep.
Sleep is very essential to keep us fully active and functional all-day round. The Doctor suggests that deficiency of sleep or poor sleep can affect every organ system in our body. It affects digestion by increasing our hunger and makes us eat more and unhealthy foods. It also increases hypertension risk, diabetes risk and causes improper cardiac functioning and immune system functioning. People who find it very hard to sleep are proving to be less productive and tend to be moody. Ultimately, the brain is severely affected by lack of sleep that may lead to cognitive impairment.
If you are among the unlucky ones who find it very difficult to sleep, don’t worry, because here we are going to discuss some effective ways and strategies that will help you to fly to dreamland. All you need to do is, make some bedroom or environment changes, or follow some long-term lifestyle changes. Try these techniques and return to your normal sleep cycle.
- How Much Sleep do we Really Need?
- Sleeping Requirement Depends on Age:
- External Factors that Affects/Influence Quality Sleep
- Factors Affecting Bedroom Environment Are:
- Lifestyle Changes:
- Useful Supplements for Falling Asleep Faster
How Much Sleep do we Really Need?
Do you know that a person spends one-third of their life asleep? We can say that, throughout our lifespan, sleep health remains our priority and an essential question, as it’s a vital indicator of our health.
Getting a good night’s sleep is very essential, but unfortunately only few can make those eight hours and rest suffer sleep debt. External factors like coffee and energy drinks, lights, electronic devices, alarm clocks, are sometimes responsible for disturbing our natural sleep cycle.
Sleep needs vary across people with different age groups, health and lifestyle. In order to determine how much sleep you require daily, first it is important to know where you fall on the “sleep needs spectrum”. Then you can also examine what are the lifestyle factors that affect the quality and quantity of your sleep. Such factors can be work, stress, etc.
For adults, 7-9 hours of sleep per night is best for their normal functioning. Teenagers need more sleep of 8-10 hours. As sleep needs decline with age, older people need at least 7 hours of sleep.
Sleeping Requirement Depends on Age:
You must look at the bigger picture to know how much sleep you need on the daily basis. According to the result released by National Sleep Foundation, below is the updated guidelines on sleep requirements depending on one’s age.
Maybe Appropriate Hours
Not Recommended Hours
|Newborn: Between (0-3 Months)||14 – 17||11 – 13
18 – 19
|Infant: Between (4-11 Months)||12 – 15||10 – 11
16 – 18
|Toddler: Between (1-2 Years)||11 – 14||9 – 10
15 – 16
|Preschooler: Between (3-5 Years)||10 – 13||8 – 9
|School-age: Between (6-13 Years)||9 – 11||7 – 8
|Teenager: Between (14-17 Years)||8 – 10||7
|Young Adult: Between (18-25 Years)||7 – 9||6
10 – 11
|Adult: Between (26-64 Years)||7 – 9||6
|Older Adult: (≥65 Years)||7 – 8||5 – 6
This chart features minimum and maximum hours of sleep recommended for health benefits. Thus, it’s very important to know your own sleeping needs and follow it to live a healthy life.
External Factors that Affects/Influence Quality Sleep
There are several external factors that can influence the quality of your sleep. Scientists understand how and why these factors affect our sleep. It is proven that people who experience bad sleeping habits, most often overlook simple factors that cause them to miss out on their daily need of sleep.
Here are few common factors that can ruin your sleep:
1. Switch Off the Light:
Light is considered to be one of the important external factors that affect our sleeping habits. It makes it difficult for people to fall asleep by indirectly influencing our internal clock timings.
In the retina of our eyes, “light sensitive cells” exist. Light influences our internal clock through these cells which occupy the same space as the rods and cones.
Note: Rods and Cones are photoreceptor cells present in the retina which are responsible for color vision. These cells inform the brain whether it’s day or night and accordingly sets our sleeping patterns.
Nowadays, we are more exposed to light at night, after the invention of electric bulbs. Thus, this tends to delay our internal clock phase and lead us to sleep late at night. When we are exposed to light in the middle of the night, our internal clock resets, making it difficult for us to return to sleep again.
2. Shift Timings:
The way we work today has changed a lot and this change is, of course, not necessarily for the better. Our sleeping habits are now dependent on demanding work schedules. With the rise of consumerism, companies have started working on various shifts to provide 24/7 services to people. This work schedule has a negative on one’s sleep-wake cycle.
It is found that people who work in odd shift timings mainly suffer from lack of sleep disorders, called Insomnia, a condition when they try to fall asleep at timings, outside of their internal phase. The exact opposite is also possible when people, mostly night shift workers, nodes off or sleep at their work, as their internal phase cycle reminds them they need to sleep at this particular moment.
3. Physical and Psychological Medical Conditions:
Both physical and psychological conditions may affect the distribution of sleep. These can be medical conditions like pain, gastroesophageal reflux disease, menstrual pain or other physical pain. These discomforts tend to limit our sleep and allow only few hours of sleep.
It also depends on people of different age groups. Individuals who experience more stress, depression and anxiety are prone to sleeping disorders. Even when they fall asleep, they usually wake up at low noises. The reason behind this is that, there are certain programmed ways to which our body responds. So, whenever we come across these factors, our body responds to it by staying awake. Even our daily-life concerns can stimulate this arousal response and make it really difficult to fall asleep.
Consumption of certain types of Medication also causes sleep deprivation. The medication includes alpha blockers, beta blockers, antidepressants and antihistamines which can have a heavy impact on our sleeping patterns.
For instance, beta-blockers cause low levels of REM (Rapid Eye Movement). They also cause more daytime sleepiness.
Note: Beta-blockers are used to treat high blood pressure glaucoma, migraines and heart failure.
6. Substances like Alcohols, Caffeine and Smoking:
Substances like alcohols, caffeine and smoking also affect your sleeping habits. Adenosine is a kind of chemical compound produced by the brain which is responsible for inducing sleep. In taking caffeine slows the production of this chemical compound, thereby preventing us from sleeping.
On the other hand, alcohol also affects our sleeping habits. After consuming alcohol, our body produces Adenosine, a sleep-inducing chemical in the brain. This chemical subsides as quickly as it is produced. It helps us to fall asleep quickly, but also responsible to wake us up in the middle of the night.
Factors Affecting Bedroom Environment Are:
Our bedroom environment significantly influences the quality and quantity of our sleep. There are several factors that add to make up a peaceful sleep environment. These factors are light, noise and temperature. By being aware of these sleeping factors and eliminating those that may cause stress, one can get a better sleep. These factors are:
1. Change your Pillow:
Sleeping on the wrong pillow often causes chronic back and neck pain, making it more difficult to fall asleep.
Whenever you experience neck and back pain, consider buying a proper pillow that will keep your neck straight. You can also use two pillows, if required, to keep one below the neck and other between your knees which will help to keep your hips in a balanced and neutral position.
2. A Quality Sleep Surface is All You Need:
Sleeping on the uncomfortable mattress is one of the primary reasons for bad sleep. According to a sleep survey, 9 out of 10 participants have reported mattress as the main reason that affects their quality sleep. Therefore, scientists have found a correlation how sleep can be improved by making a small change in the support of a mattress.
You can consider buying a new mattress if your old one is saggy, pokey or torn out. This will definitely take you a step closer to a better sleep.
3. Say Goodbye to the Television / Mobile:
Using smartphones or watching Television before going to bed disrupts the quality of your sleep. According to the recent study, more exposure to blue screens can cause harm to your eyesight and responsible for bad night sleep.
It is better advised to switch off your TV and neglect using smartphones, an hour prior to your sleep.
4. Clothes Matters: Wear Comfortable Clothes
We all know that sleep is intrinsically linked to the physical and emotional health of our body. It is important to wear the right fabric attire to bed every night so that our body temperature should be maintained properly while we dream. When we wear wrong fabric clothes or tight clothes, our body fails to produce an adequate amount of growth hormone and melatonin. These are the hormones responsible for repair and anti-aging. Therefore, it is advised to wear comfortable or no clothes at night, as it helps to regulate our body temperature and make us sleep faster.
5. Lower the Room Temperature:
Temperature also plays a vital role to make you sleep faster. It should neither be too low nor too high. As discussed earlier, our bodies maintain its temperature at night. By lowering the room’s temperature, we can make it easier for the body to lower down its heat and fall asleep quickly.
6. Put on your Socks to Bed:
Sounds funny, right? Wearing socks before going to bed causes your feet to get warm. Research shows that a person can quickly fall asleep if they have warm feet and hands. Cold feet obstruct you from falling asleep faster. Thus, before going to bed, prepare your body for sleep by wearing socks.
7. Scent your Body or Bedroom with Lavender:
The aroma of Lavender helps to release anxiety, relax the body and to sleep faster. It is suggested to apply lavender oil before going to bed as it lowers blood pressure and calms your mood. It may also lead you to deeper sleep levels and you wake up feeling refreshed in the morning. One can also spread a lavender scent into their room.
It may seem irrelevant, but there are several factors that affect your sleep at night. The things that you do during daytime have the highest impact to your night sleep. The food you eat, the drinks you consume, your physical activities, your stress level, and many more are the main reason which directly or indirectly affects your sleeping habit.
Taking all these into consideration, scientists have found that, if you include some lifestyle habits into your routine, it will be very easy for you to fall asleep faster when you hit the sack.
1. Sleeping Position Matters:
You may not have noticed but everyone has probably one sleeping position that’s their favorite for slumber. But unfortunately, your comfortable position might cause you several health problems. Follow these few tips and make your sleeping position a bit better for your health.
2. Back Sleepers:
It is considered as one of the best positions to sleep as it follows the natural curve of your neck and back position. It’s better if you slightly elevate your head by a firm pillow. This position is good for arthritis and also for your organs, as in this position your body weight is evenly distributed.
3. Side Sleepers:
This position follows the natural curve of your spine and prevents snoring. It’s best for people suffering from acid reflux problems. For pregnant ladies, this position is considered best as it increases blood and nutrient flow to the baby.
4. Stomach Sleeper:
This position helps open upper airways and reduces snoring. But this position is not good for the neck.
5. Practice Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness:
Stress and anxiety are the main reasons contributing to insomnia and other sleeping disorders. With the running thoughts in your mind, it’s very difficult to achieve deep sleep. So, the best way to deal with depression and stress, is through meditation and yoga. Mediation helps to calm your thoughts and make you sleep fast. Daily 10-15 minutes of meditation is enough to make a difference.
Related Read: 5 Soothing Yoga Poses That Will Help You Sleep Better
6. Avoid Naps During the Day:
Researchers found that taking a nap during daytime can interfere with your sleep cycle and trouble you from falling asleep at night. We know, it’s quite relieving taking a nap at afternoon, but sometimes, a few minutes of happiness can cause problems later.
It’s proven that even 30 minutes of nap in a day can cause poor night’s sleep by reversing your hormonal impact. Thus, one should try to limit naps during daytime and if it’s necessary, it shouldn’t be more than 30 minutes.
7. Listen to Some Good Music:
A soothing music is all you need at bedtime. Slow music can boost sleep quality and make your mind relaxed and ready to sleep. For people suffering from severe depression, classical music makes the best option.
8. Read Something:
Our body need to wind down before going to sleep, so doing some calm activities helps in getting sleep earlier. Reading your favorite novel or a magazine may help you fall asleep faster as it put our consciousness on another plane, which results in inducing sleep. This makes the best way to get an early sleep.
9. Drink Some Milk:
Mom was right! Drinking milk before bed really helps to induce sleep. Milk and other dairy products contain Tryptophan, a kind of amino acid that induces sleep and Melatonin, a hormone that helps in regulating the sleep-wake cycle.
10. Stay Away from Alcohol
Unfortunately, alcohol and sleep is not the best combination. Consumption of alcohol is one of the primary reasons for poor sleep. Though it helps you to fall asleep faster, it significantly affects the quality of your sleep reducing Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. Next day when you woke up, you feel as if you haven’t slept and your memory cannot be stored.
People should remove the misconception that Alcohol helps you from falling asleep fast.
Useful Supplements for Falling Asleep Faster
There are various supplements containing vitamins, minerals and healthy herbs that helps to stimulate the sleep receptors present in the brain so that you wake up refreshed, the next morning.
Here are some best-proven sleep supplements:
It helps to replenish the serotonin hormone that we lose naturally as we age. Serotonin is chemical compound that regulates all moods like happiness, anxiety, etc
GABA stands for Gamma Butyric Acid. It is a kind of naturally occurring chemical compound that calms the excitability of neurons in the brain.
L-Theanine is a kind of amino acid, especially found in green tea, that increases alpha wave activities in the brain. It increases the production of dopamine, GABA, serotonin that promotes sleep.
4. Vitamin B-6:
This supplement converts a small amount of the tryptophan to serotonin, a kind of neurotransmitter that helps to induce sleep.
It is best known as a natural cure for jet lags. Just 1.0mg of melatonin improves many sleep aspects. It is very effective in fighting against insomnia.
Many people face a lot of problems in getting an early sleep, which can be frustrating sometimes, especially if it continues on regular basis. That’s the reason a good night sleep is given more importance.
Follow some or all the ideas given in this article, as it could really prove to be beneficial in enhancing your sleep quality.
Lack of Sleep Increases Risks of Falling
– 5th Dec 2018
According to a recent study, lack of sleep among both men and woman lead to lower control over their sleeping posture and this, in turn, resulted in people falling. This study was conducted by the University of Warwick and proves that most adults who had a disturbed sleep witnessed sleeping posture problems and falling from their bed. The participants in the study were studied on a two-day basis in order to understand if this phenomenon happened on a daily basis.
The study attached sleep monitors such as wearable sensors when sleeping at home in order to test their subjects. However, the study figured out that lack of sleep leads to dizziness and the inability of oneself to control their posture and tend to fall. However, this problem is found among most older people. Moreover, the study concluded that lack of sleep may lead to a person constantly falling or feel dizzy.
A Weird Cure for Insomnia. It Might Just Work!
– 20th July 2018
The cases of Insomnia in adults has peaked in the recent years. Yes, we are talking about that tossing and turning at night, ticking of a clock and that God-I-am-still-awake feeling which you experience every night. You have tried all the crazy tricks, even thought about pink elephants but still facing a problem to fall asleep at night.
We have brought you good news! It’s not a trick, it’s not bogus, though it falls into the list of those cranky sleeping ideas. It’s a really good way to end up insomnia forever.
So, here’s the secret! The therapy is known as Paradoxical Intention. It is a concept termed by a neurologist and psychiatrist Dr. Viktor Frankl, who was the founder of Logotherapy. He invented this therapy for patients with severe forms of anxiety disorders.
According to a psychologist Arash Emamzadeh, the only thing one needs to do in this therapy is “try as much as you can to stay awake”. Crazy stuff, isn’t it? The way this therapy works is to convince ourselves to stay awake rather than anxiously trying to force ourselves to sleep.
A report in Psychology Today suggests that Paradoxical Intention guides us in the opposite direction. In layman’s term, when you repeatedly tell yourself to stay awake, the brain may follow the opposite way as it does when you force yourself to sleep.
Skeptical? Think in a reverse way when you made a plan to stay awake till late night for an exam but unable to, or when you had tried so hard to stay awake for a late-night conversation with your friend but unable to. Think again, how you wanted to sleep late in your weekends but woke up at 5am and didn’t fall asleep later. This makes you feel as if you are powerless to fight against the unexpected nature of sleep.
So, follow this new weird cure and remember that the next time when you race against falling asleep faster, don’t struggle to fall asleep but instead lie in bed with each intention of staying awake. Don’t fake it otherwise the body will know. You will soon experience going .