Sleep is one of the most fundamental needs we have as humans. Because sleep is so crucial to our wellbeing, everything starts to suffer when we aren’t getting enough of it! I have personally struggled with having difficulty falling asleep for many years now, and I know how hard it can be. I’ve tried a lot of tips and tactics over the years trying to solve my problems with falling asleep!
And while it hasn’t been easy, I’ve discovered some methods along the way that are definitely helpful. And since I know that sleep problems are pretty common, I thought it would be a good idea to share my sleep tips with you today! Below you’ll find 9 tips that will help you fall asleep quickly, as well as 3 tips for sleeping through the night and 4 tips for waking up. (After all, sleep problems aren’t limited to falling asleep!)
My hope is that these tips help you get the rest you need, regardless of what you happen to struggle with the most. And if you try one tip and it doesn’t work for you, try a different one next! You never know what’s going to work until it does. :-)
9 Ways To Fall Asleep Faster
1. Try “4-7-8 Breathing”
This breathing practice is based on pranayama, an ancient Indian practice meaning “regulation of breath.” It takes a little getting used to, but many people who use it say it helps them fall asleep within just a minute or two!
Start by inhaling for 4 seconds through your nose. Then hold your breath for 7 seconds, and exhale steadily through your mouth for 8 seconds. Repeat the cycle at least 3 more times for a total of 4 repetitions.
2. Recite Information
When I’m trying to fall asleep, I find it helpful to count backwards from 100. Something about this activity keeps my mind from running amok, but it isn’t so mentally taxing that it makes me feel more stressed. Reciting other information can be useful as well!
For instance, you can make it a bit more challenging by counting down from 99 by 3s (“99, 96, 93, 90…”) Or you can avoid numbers altogether and simply repeat a restful mantra instead.
3. Take A Warm Shower
Taking a warm shower or bath an hour before bed can help prepare your body for sleep. But it isn’t just the shower itself that makes you sleepy. It’s actually the temperature drop between the warm shower and the cooler air that does the trick! The temperature drop helps slow your metabolism, signaling to your body that it’s time to get ready for sleep.
4. Wear Socks To Sleep
I recently wrote a post about the benefits of wearing socks when you go to sleep. One of the potential benefits of wearing socks to bed is that it may help you fall asleep faster! Find out more by checking out the full post at the link below.
5. Use Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is one of the best oils you can have on hand if you’re experiencing sleep problems. It can help you fall asleep, and even experience more restful sleep! In a 2005 study at Wesleyan University, sleep study participants who smelled lavender oil at intervals before going to sleep experienced a higher percentage of deep (or “slow-wave”) sleep than those in the control group.
There are several ways you can incorporate lavender oil into your pre-sleep routine. You can use it in a diffuser placed on your nightstand, or rub lavender oil directly onto the soles of your feet. You could also mix lavender oil with water and spritz it onto your pillow before you climb in bed!
6. Take An Epsom Salt Bath
There are few things more relaxing than a warm soak in the tub. It’s a great way to wind down before turning in for the night! And adding Epsom salt or magnesium flakes is an easy way to increase your magnesium intake. Magnesium plays a crucial role in hundreds of our bodily functions, so getting enough of it is vital! Read more about the benefits of magnesium at the link below.
7. Drink Banana Tea
Drinking warm milk before bed is a classic pre-sleep ritual. But you can get even more relaxing benefits from drinking a warm cup of banana tea instead! Get all the details about how banana tea works, plus how to make it, at the link below.
Related: How To Make Banana Tea For Insomnia
8. Listen To Sounds Or Music
For me personally, it’s really difficult (and sometimes next to impossible) for me to fall asleep in a completely silent environment. I just need some sort of noise going on or I’ll lie awake for hours! (Some people suspect there’s an evolutionary aspect to this quirk, since our ancestors would have found it easier to sleep if they heard the sounds of someone keeping watch through the night.)
As far as what you can listen to while you fall asleep, the list is virtually endless! Here are a few popular options:
- Podcasts, like Sleep With Me
- Soothing music
- ASMR videos or recordings
- Guided meditations on YouTube
- Sleep sounds
9. Do Something Active
If restless energy is keeping you awake, it can help to do something active around an hour before bedtime. Do some gentle yoga poses to feel more relaxed, or go for a short walk. You’ll be sleeping like a baby in no time!
3 Tips For Staying Asleep
1. Don’t Check The Clock
Worrying about what time it is or how long you have left to sleep is a surefire way to keep yourself awake. If you have a digital clock, point it away from your bed so you don’t keep staring at the time.
2. Keep The Room Dark
Invest in some blackout curtains if street lamps or other outdoor lights are keeping you awake. You can also use an eye mask to block out light, no matter where you’re sleeping!
3. Keep Sleep Sounds Going
If you rely on sleep sounds or white noise to fall asleep, it can be helpful to keep those sounds playing throughout the night. If they stop after just an hour or two, it could be enough to pull you out of sleep and keep you awake.
4 Tips For Waking Up
1. Wake Up Gradually
Waking up gradually can help you feel more rested when it’s time to get up, as opposed to getting roused out of a deep sleep. One way to wake up gradually is to program an alarm that will start playing soft white noise about 45 minutes before you need to get up. The soft noise will trigger a more gradual awakening, and you’ll feel more well-rested when your “real” alarm goes off.
Another option is to use a daylight alarm, which gradually turns on a bright, sun-like light when it’s time for you to wake up. My daughter-in-law Kaitlyn uses the Philips Wake-Up Light and raves about how much she loves it. (They also offer a less expensive version here.)
2. Don’t Snooze
Once your alarm goes off, your REM cycle is pretty much over. So hitting the Snooze button and going back to sleep won’t give you the benefits of another sleep cycle. It will just make you sleepier, so resist the urge to hit that Snooze button!
3. Be Consistent
Make it a goal to wake up at the same time every day. It can be hard, but being consistent about waking up makes it much easier to get out of bed when your alarm goes off.
4. Make It Easy
Make your morning routine as easy as possible for yourself! Set out your outfit the night before, set up the coffee maker, and set everything you need to take with you by the front door. You’ll find it much easier to get out of bed if your morning routine is quick and easy!
What’s your best tip for getting a good night’s sleep?