Some falling asleep techniques are effective, but they cannot achieve the best results if one does not respect certain biological realities, which includes practicing habits conducive to good rest. In this article, we will list and explain science-backed best tips to help you fall asleep more quickly. Here are our 13 tips to fall asleep more easily!
#1st tips to fall asleep more easily: Expose yourself to daylight.
Even in winter, daylight is the most powerful “time-giver” for your circadian clock. To remind you, the circadian clock is one of two main mechanisms that incite the desire to sleep at night. It is “synchronized” by “time-givers” (light, temperature, mealtimes) that allow it to stay on schedule.
Conclusion. Don’t miss out on any occasion to expose yourself to daylight, even if it’s just a few minutes during your lunch break. And if your lifestyle or location make consistent exposure to sunlight tricky, you can always consider light therapy.
#2 Stay away from screens. (You already know this…but do you understand why?)
You’ve probably heard it a hundred times before: limit your exposure to illuminated screens during the hour before bedtime. But why? The answer is simple: screens emit blue light, the same as sunlight. This light is captured by specific cells in your retina, which are then prompted to transmit the message to your body that it is daytime — even when it’s not! The result: different areas of the brain responsible for maintaining wakefulness are stimulated. It has a significant effect on your sleepiness and overall quality of sleep.
3# Sorry — no napping.
If you struggle to fall asleep, you need to save all of your sleep pressure for bedtime. To remind you, sleep pressure is the daylong accumulation of sleep-inducing hypnogenic substances inside your body. It is one of two main mechanisms that incite the desire to sleep at night — the other being the circadian clock mentioned in Tip #1.
A micro-nap, or even the onset of sleep, allows your brain to begin eliminating some of these accumulated hypnogenic molecules. While this serves as a nice little energy boost, ideal for when you need to drive or tend to some important matter, it is rather counterproductive if your desire is to fall asleep easily at night.
#4 Turn down the temperature.
Our body temperature is one of the factors involved in synchronizing our circadian clock. Our body starts cooling down at around 7PM and reaches its coolest temperature at around 3AM. This drop in temperature is essential for sleep. What can you do about this? For starters, you can keep the temperature in your bedroom under 68°F/20°C. You can also take a shower or a bath. But wait… wouldn’t bathing be counterproductive? Well, yes and no.
It’s true that our bodies warm up from taking a shower or bath. However, following this spike in temperature, our bodies then automatically initiate a cooling down process. This subsequent drop in temperature creates the perfect conditions for sleep. Specialists advise that you shower or bathe between 1 and 1.5 hours before bedtime so that your body has time to cool down.
Conclusion: take a shower or a bath between 1 and 1.5 hours before going to bed, but not right before.
#5 Wear your socks to bed.
It might be the strangest tips to fall asleep, but it’s a proven fact. Wearing your socks to bed actually accelerates the process of falling asleep. Hm, …how’s that work? Along with the head, our hands and feet are our main heat exchangers. By keeping them warm, while the rest of our body is cooler, the vasodilatation of our extremities’ blood capillaries increases and so the exchange surface interacts with the outside.
This lowers the body temperature, which is essential for falling asleep. Therefore, in a cool room, falling asleep can be twice as fast thanks to a simple pair of socks.
#6 of our best tips: Exercise!
The same as light, physical activity is a synchronizer (time-giver) for the circadian clock. Playing sports facilitates the falling asleep process by increasing sleep pressure, which, as mentioned earlier, is the accumulation of hypnogenic substances in our body. But that’s not the only benefit: practicing sports also has an antidepressant effect, which itself is very beneficial for sleep.
An American study has shown that 150 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity per week reduces the risk of feeling sleepy during the day by 65%. So do your intense workouts during the day, and save your more moderate physical activity, such as yoga or stretching, for the evening. This way, you can avoid an increase in your body temperature, which negatively impacts your ability to fall asleep.
#7 Respect sleep windows
Despite the accumulative aspect of fatigue, there are certain parts of the day that are more or less favorable, and even unfavorable, for falling asleep. These favorable times are called “Sleep Windows.”
How do they work? The wake/sleep cycle, in addition to being synchronized by the circadian clock on a 24-hour cycle, follows another sub-rhythm: the ultradian rhythm. This rhythm consists of 90-to-120-minute cycles that impact your ability to concentrate as well as your energy level.
That’s why during the day, you will experience regular spikes in sleepiness every two hours or so. In the evening, be sure not to miss this window, during which it is easier to fall asleep. As they are unique to every individual, you will learn to recognize your own specific warning signs, such as difficulty concentrating or the first yawns following a wakeful period.
If you learn how to recognized and use these different sleep windows, it’s probably one of the best tips to fall asleep!
#8 No excitants during the latter part of the day
The more difficulty you have falling asleep, the more it is advised that you avoid consuming excitants (tea, coffee, sweet drinks) later in the day. You should follow this advice starting eight hours before bedtime, especially if you are particularly sensitive to caffeine.
So no more coffee to close the afternoon! The effects of caffeine reach their peak around 30 to 60 minutes after consumption, and for some people, the effects can linger for 8 or more hours after the last cup has been consumed…and greatly disrupt your rest and sleep patterns.
#9 Optimize your sleep environment
Keep a cool temperature in the bedroom (between 16 and 20°C or 60 and 68°F) to maintain a body temperature that is conducive to falling asleep and having a good night’s rest.
Make sure you are in a relatively soundproof environment. Even if you have to wear earplugs or use a sound curtain to block out noise that may hinder you from falling asleep, cause you to wake up in the night, or otherwise disturb your rest.
Also, consider using blackout curtains so as not to be bothered by artificial lights or daybreak.
Finally, invest in quality bedding that is adapted to your unique morphology and preferred sleeping position. A mattress or pillow that is not suited to you can make it difficult to fall asleep as well as result in micro-awakenings triggered by pain or numbness. This is definitely one of our best tips you should take into account for falling asleep more easily!
#10 Establish a bedtime routine
Read a few pages of a book, indulge in a little meditation or some stretching…but make sure not to spend too much time awake in your bed. Following a routine will help you to form an important association between your bed and sleepy time.
One of these best tips to fall asleep is all about conditioning the body and mind to sleep, just as it’s done for children. So, establish your routine and stick to it as much as possible! In the event that you wake up at night, you can always repeat the routine.
#11 Wait to become tired!
Trying to go to bed before you are ready to fall asleep can be a source of anxious thoughts and even anguish. If falling asleep is taking too long, read a book or find another quiet activity that will distract you from the fact that you are not sleeping.
If after 20 minutes of sleep still does not come, go out of your bedroom so as not to associate being awake with this environment. Continue to calmly keep yourself busy. This type of nocturnal activity will increase your sleep pressure until you feel that you are ready to try and go back to sleep.
#12 Pushback bedtime
Although it is counter-intuitive, it’s part of the most effective tips to fall asleep more easily. Limiting the amount of time you spend in bed will help with insomnia. By shifting your bedtime later, you will increase the amount of sleep pressure you accumulate. That makes thus it easier to fall asleep. Besides, it’s one of the techniques that Dreem uses in our cognitive behavioral therapy program, with the goal to help you solve your insomnia.
Last one of our best tips to fall asleep #13 The Dreem Techniques
Dreem is a solution that can help people sleep better. 4 of the Dreem techniques are made to help people relax, and help fall asleep faster, just through sound. The good thing is, it stops right when you are starting to fall asleep to not disturb you, thanks to the accurate tracking of the Dreem headband. Here are the 4 techniques that have been proved scientifically:
1/ Classic ambiance sounds, such as the sound of the ocean, rain or else.
2/ Meditation techniques, to relax the time of a guided meditation.
3/ Sophrology to fight against the overthinking problem when we are in bed, trying to fall asleep.
4/Breathing exercises to help you relax and fall asleep faster.
That’s it! Hope you enjoyed these best tips to fall asleep more easily!