How To Get To Sleep Fast
Getting to sleep fast can seem tricky. By adopting a few lifestyle changes, combined with mental and physical techniques and routines, you will relax before bedtime and drift off more easily. Here, our sleep expert, Dave Gibson, gives 10 tips to help you fall asleep quickly…
Falling asleep quickly and easily revolves around your daily routine, starting from when you wake up:
- Make it as light as possible, eat a good breakfast and try to get outside
- During the day, take breaks
- Don’t drink caffeine after lunchtime
- Make a work list/worry list
- Make it darker in the evening at home
- Establish a night time/pre-bed routine
- Switch off technology and don’t bring into the bedroom
- Relaxation techniques
- Darken the lights in your bedroom
- Set a bedroom routine
As soon as you wake, let sunlight into your bedroom. Sunlight is nature’s way of telling us it's morning and time to become active again.
On a busy day, many of us will barely stop, reviewing our to-do list whilst speedily devouring lunch or stressing about it over a tea break. It is vital to lose some of that built-up adrenaline during the day so that you don’t carry it to bed later. Over the day, take a few 15-20 minute breaks to completely step away, perhaps escape for a quiet reading session or take a stroll around the block.
It takes around 6 hours for caffeine to leave our bodies, so it’s best to cut the caffeine after lunch, this way, it will be out of your body when it’s time to sleep. Switch to non-caffeinated herbal teas, hot lemon tea or water after midday. It may take a while to adjust but in the long run you will feel better – not only is less caffeine better for sleep but drinking herbal and lemon teas or water is also better for the body.
Keep a notepad handy and write down your worries and thoughts rather than have them racing around your mind, causing you feelings of stress and keeping you awake. The list (with all of those thoughts) will be there in the morning for you to return to - so you can let go and drift off without worrying.
Limit your exposure to artificial light in the evening. Instead, make it gradually darker in your home as bedtime approaches by using dimmers, low wattage lamps or candles rather than ceiling lights. Low, soft light signals to your brain that the sun is setting and naturally helps you become sleepier.
Do calming activities such as; putting your clothes out for work the next day, relaxation exercises, meditation, taking a bath, reading a paper book, and brushing your teeth (whilst avoiding bright bathroom lights). Routines tell your brain that sleep is on its way. Take a warm bath about 2 hours before bed for around 20-30 minutes. This should generate a steeper than normal drop in body temperature which typically puts you into a deeper sleep.
Too much screen time wreaks havoc on sleep patterns, as the blue light triggers our brain to think it's morning and time to wake up. Cut the tech out at least an hour before bed, as the brain associates it with work not sleep.
When forced to keep up with hectic workdays our bodies go into a hyperactive, energized and aware state of “fight or flight” mode. Adrenaline causes us to tense up and focus, which, whilst very useful in some situations, will make it difficult to switch off later. Before getting into bed, release tense muscles and slow your heart rate with easy yoga and mindfulness practices.
Having your bedroom dark will signal to your brain that it is time to sleep.
When you get to bed, try to develop a set habit, which signals that it is time for sleep. Playing a relaxing song, reading a chapter of a book or even spraying some lavender on your pillow, when done at the same time each day as a repetition (even on weekends), it becomes a signal that it is officially time for sleep. Consciously and unconsciously, your brain will understand what each part of the routine means. You should also keep a regular bedtime as this will give routine and the same amount of hours of sleep a night.