If you have trouble falling asleep, and end up staying awake all night, then you aren’t alone.
Good sleep is incredibly important. Nothing feels more draining than peering at your clock in the dark and realizing you haven’t slept — and you need to be up in a few hours. As if the worrisome thoughts keeping you awake weren’t bad enough, now there’s the added stress of being sleep-deprived.
And this generation of teenagers and adults have the hardest time falling asleep.
Here a few tips for you that could help you sleep faster and better.
Create a schedule.
Many people find that setting a sleep schedule helps them fall asleep easier. Having a regular sleeping pattern is really important for good sleep.
It may be harder to do right now, but if you can wake up, wind down and go to bed around the same time each day, it will really help. If possible, avoid napping too.
Give yourself 30–45 minutes to wind down in the evening before getting in bed. This allows your body and mind to relax and prepare for sleep.
Prepare your body for sleep.
Having caffeine, alcohol, nicotine or a big meal too close to bedtime can stop you falling asleep and prevent deep sleep. Try to avoid them before bed and see if things improve.
Regular exercise is also great for sleep. Just remember to steer clear of anything too vigorous right before bedtime if you find it affects your sleep.
Put your devices down.
As much as you might like to unwind by scrolling through social media or even reading an article or two, exposing your eyes to blue light can actually prompt you to feel more awake.
It is recommended to discontinue using electronic devices at least 30 minutes before you hit the bed in order to fall asleep. Force yourself to avoid taking your phone or any other gadget in your hand as you’re trying to sleep.
Avoid looking at your clock/the time.
Clock-watching is common among people with insomnia.
However, this behavior may cause anxiety about sleeplessness. To make matters worse, this may cause your body to develop a routine.
As a result, you might find yourself waking up in the middle of the night every night.
Create a restful environment.
It’s generally easier to drop off when it’s cool, dark and quiet – but the right sleep environment is personal, so try different things and see what works for you.
Your body temperature changes as you fall asleep. Your body cools down when you lie down and warms up when you get up. If your room is too warm, you might have a hard time falling asleep.
Setting your thermostat to a cool temperature between 60–67°F (15.6–19.4°C) could help.
Focus on your breathing.
People who are stressed or anxious are actually under-breathing because stressed people breathe shortly and shallowly, and often even unconsciously hold their breath.
That said, to help yourself relax, work on breathing deeply while imagining a figure eight in your head. While it might seem a bit out there, doing so in unison will almost always help you slow down and unwind.
Try the 4-7-8 breathing method, wherein you inhale to a count of four, hold your breath for seven seconds, and then exhale steadily for eight seconds.
Be careful and slow with your breathing and focus on the inhaling and exhaling process.
Listen to relaxing music.
Music can significantly improve quality of sleep. It can even be used to improve chronic sleep disorders, such as insomnia.
Studies revealed that those who were exposed to soothing music for 45 minutes at bedtime had a more restful and deeper sleep compared to those who didn’t listen to music.
Lastly, if relaxing music isn’t available, blocking all noise could also help you fall asleep faster and promote uninterrupted sleep.
Practice yoga, meditation, and mindfulness.
When people are stressed, they tend to have difficulty falling asleep.
Yoga, meditation, and mindfulness are tools to calm the mind and relax the body. Moreover, they’ve all been shown to improve sleep cycles.
Yoga encourages the practice of breathing patterns and body movements that release stress and tension accumulated in your body.
Meditation can enhance melatonin levels and assist the brain in achieving a specific state where sleep is easily achieved.
And mindfulness may help you maintain focus on the present, worry less while falling asleep, and even function better during the day.