8 tips to fall asleep faster tonight and stay asleep

A white noise machine, scheduled worry times, and body scan meditation are ways to fall asleep quickly. In some cases, however, you may need professional help.

Constant stress and a disorganized environment can prevent you from falling asleep quickly. You may find it difficult to silence the mental noise of a busy day or the emotional distress of a difficult relationship. Environmental cues, like a room that’s too hot or too cold, can also prevent you from falling asleep as soon as you get into bed. Optimal sleep hygiene and the following tips can help you get quality sleep faster.

Consider spending time in the bath

You may associate a hot bath with relaxation. And, when it comes to sleep, baths may have other potential benefits. A bath before bed can help you fall asleep faster than going to bed straight away. During sleep, the body’s core temperature decreases. The drop in body temperature is a sleep signal for your brain. A hot bath can speed up this cooling process and can help your brain go into rest mode, which will help you fall asleep quickly. A 2019 systematic review and meta-analysis of studies found that a hot bath 1–2 hours before bedtime can reduce sleep onset latency (SOL), the time it takes you to fall asleep, 10 minutes or more.

Look for a white noise machine

A white noise or broadband machine emits sound on all audible frequencies at the same time. Some people think it looks like parasites. White noise can help you sleep better and faster by masking other noises or helping brain waves go into rest mode. The exact impact on the sleep cycle, however, is unclear. It seems that a white noise machine helps the quality of sleep. A small 2021 study involving 10 participants showed the device helped them fall asleep in a noisy environment. An earlier 2017 study involving 18 participants showed that broadband audio reduced sleep onset latency by 38%.

Consider changing your exercise program

Research has extensively explored how exercise affects sleep, and it turns out that physical activity can get you to sleep faster. A 2019 systematic review of 11 studies found that the most consistent benefit of exercise was reducing the time a person fell asleep. A 2021 study of a moderate exercise training program in inactive adults found several positive effects of exercise on sleep quality. The researchers found no difference between people who exercised in the morning and those who exercised in the evening. In short, introducing physical activity into your day can help you fall asleep faster at night.

Try to limit screen time

Electronic devices you have to trust: smartphones, laptops, tablets, televisions, gaming screens emit blue light. Blue light interferes with circadian rhythms, which can make it harder to fall asleep quickly. Research on the link between blue light and sleep is mixed. However, a 2022 systematic review found that blue light can negatively impact sleep quality and duration. Of the eight studies identified, three showed that blue light increased the time needed to fall asleep.

Consider turning off your screens an hour or two before bedtime. If that’s too difficult, try using your device’s brightness settings to adjust the amount of blue light it emits. Another solution is to find quality glasses that block blue light.

7 quick tips for staying asleep through the night

Getting to bed quickly is one thing, but can you stay asleep? Here are some quick tips to help you avoid waking up in the middle of the night:

Try to avoid alcohol before bed.
Consider limiting your caffeine intake before bedtime.
Consider lighter meals before bed rather than heavy dinners.
Think of a comfortable room temperature for sleeping: neither too hot nor too cold.
Examine tools that block light, such as lampshades, blackout screens, and darkened windows.
Think about your sleeping and waking times: regularity, even on weekends, can promote sleep.
Consider recreating your bedroom as a sleeping area, leaving electronics somewhere else.

Try to get into the habit of keeping a journal

Spending some time writing can help you fall asleep faster. There’s even some evidence that a specific type of writing habit, making a to-do list, can be particularly effective. In a 2018 study, those who wrote a to-do list fell asleep faster than those who wrote about activities they had already done. The more specific the to-do list, the faster participants fell asleep. So consider taking 5 minutes before bed to write down what you need to do – and leave the list to review in the morning. You can also use journal posts to explore your personal and professional goals or projects.

Try meditation if stress is a problem

Stress can make it harder to fall asleep quickly and make it harder to stay asleep. Some people may be particularly vulnerable to sleep disruption due to stress, which leads to significant problems getting quality rest. Meditation in various forms can help combat stress and facilitate natural sleep. A 2018 study found that a mindfulness body scan helped decrease sleep onset latency in adolescents. Progressive muscle relaxation and meditative movements like yoga or tai chi can also reduce average time to fall asleep.

If you want to start with the body scan method, follow these steps:

Lie down in a comfortable position.
Close your eyes.
Focus on one part of your body at a time, starting with your toes.
Focusing on each part, notice how you feel and if you need to release any tension.
Gradually go up to the head.

Try a Worry Management Program

If worry is keeping you up at night, scheduling worry times can be a helpful technique. This technique is used in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). The idea is to set aside time for worrying during the day and then allow your mind to release those thoughts.

To start scheduling worry times, follow these steps:

Set aside 15-30 minutes a day for worrying. Aim for a time slot in the morning or early afternoon so it doesn’t interfere with sleep.
Write down your worries. Don’t try to solve the problems, just let the worries come out.
If you start worrying outside of the scheduled time, remember that you will have time to worry again and you don’t need to do it right away.
After a week, reflect on the concerns you noted. Think about any patterns you have noticed.

Remember to breathe deeply when trying to fall asleep

Breathing is something you do every day, but practiced in a specific way, it can also be an invaluable tool for falling asleep quickly. Deep breathing can help you relax, clear your mind, and prepare for a night’s rest.

You can incorporate deep breathing into your sleep routine in a number of ways. You can start with a simple method of breathing slowly and steadily:

Lie on your back.
Place one hand on your belly.
Inhale slowly.
Hold your breath for a second when you feel your stomach heaving.
Exhale slowly.
Repeat the operation.

When to ask for help

If you often have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, you may want to consult a healthcare professional who specializes in sleep-wake cycles. Before your appointment, remember to keep a sleep diary in which you will note the time it takes you to fall asleep. Write down any questions you want to ask your healthcare professional, including if you want to consider natural sleep remedies, therapy, or if medication is needed.

Falling asleep faster often means a longer and better quality rest. Consider combating stress at bedtime by breathing deeply, meditating, and scheduling worry times. White noise, a warm bath, writing, regular exercise, and limiting electronic devices can all help you sleep well at night.

* Presse Santé strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the advice of a health professional.

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8 tips to fall asleep faster tonight and stay asleep

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