How to fall asleep in less than two minutes
Everyone struggles with sleep at times. Common challenges include difÅculty falling asleep, waking up prematurely, dealing with sleep disturbances and insomnia.
An estimated 68 per cent of people in the United States struggle with sleep at least once a week, while 27 per cent face sleep difÅculties most nights.
However, sleep is high on the list of necessities in life; just a few days without it and we become susceptible to cognitive impairment (including problems concentrating, creating memories and making decisions), emotional disturbances, micro-sleeps and disorientation. In some cases of longer sleep deprivation (three days and longer), people can even experience hallucinations and major cognitive deÅcits.
It’s clear that sleep is part of the foundation of a healthy life and optimum wellbeing.
Let’s have a look at some simple steps you can take to help yourself fall asleep faster (and stay asleep!).
Try to avoid consuming caffeine at least six hours prior to going to bed. As a stimulant, caffeine blocks sleep-inducing chemicals in the brain and increases the production of adrenalin.
If you’re Ånding it difÅcult to fall asleep at night, it may be worth taking a look at whether you’re consuming food or drinks which contain caffeine, such as chocolate, soft drink, tea and coffee-AEavoured sweets (like ice-cream). And be sure to avoid drinking coffee in the late afternoon and evening.
Eat a light and early dinner. It can be more difÅcult to fall asleep when your body is busy digesting, so try to eat your dinner at least two or three hours before you go to bed. Aim to go to bed feeling satisÅed (not hungry), so eat a light snack if you need to.
Snacks which can also help promote a good night’s sleep include almonds, cottage cheese with raspberries, or a small banana.
Tidy up your bedroom so it’s clutterfree and clean. Mess can be distracting and potentially stress-inducing, so it’s a great idea to keep your room as clutterfree as possible. It can also be beneÅcial to clean regularly, so there’s no dust lingering around which could trigger allergies.
You may like to purchase some indoor plants which help purify the air, such as a bamboo palm, snake plant and spider plant.
Cool down your bedroom to a comfortable temperature. It may be helpful to open a window or turn on a fan to reduce the temperature of your bedroom if it’s too warm.
At the same time, you can close your curtains, cover any lights in your bedroom (such as a digital clock) and ensure your bed is properly made. A great way to help yourself fall asleep faster is to create a cool, comfortable and dark environment.
Another simple idea for creating a comfortable sleeping environment is to invest in a supportive mattress and soft bedding. Your bed should be something you look forward to climbing into at the end of each day.
Essentially, try to create a space that you can walk into and immediately feel a sense of relaxation, calmness and comfort.
Minimise your exposure to light as much as possible. Light can inAEuence the timing of your internal body clock because the light-sensitive cells in the retina of your eyes signal to your body that it’s still daytime. When you are exposed to light at night, your body believes that it’s still daytime and the sleep-inducing hormones are less likely to be released.
Light an aromatic candle with a relaxing fragrance, such as lavender, jasmine or vanilla. Your olfactory system links up with the emotional centre of your brain, so it can be helpful to use smell as a tool to help you relax before bed. Just be sure to blow out the candle before you feel sleepy, or consider using a lavender pillow spray or vanilla body moisturiser instead.
The 4–7–8 breathing technique is a breathing exercise developed by Dr Andrew Weil. Also known as the ‘relaxing breath’ exercise, 4–7–8 breathing is a powerful way to decrease stress and promote relaxation to help you fall asleep faster.
Follow the steps below to try this breathing technique yourself:
• Empty your lungs and prepare to inhale; • Inhale through your nose for the count of four; • Hold your breath for the count of seven; • exhale completely through your mouth for the count of 8, making a whooshing (or sighing) sound; • Begin the breathing technique again and repeat until you’ve completed four cycles. It’s also important to keep your tongue placed on the tissue above your upper front teeth for the entire exercise.
Even if it takes a little longer than two minutes to fall asleep, know that you’ve done a great job to maximise your chances of falling asleep quickly. It’s normal for people to take between 10 and 20 minutes to fall asleep, so give yourself some time and continue with the breathing technique intermittently to help you relax even more.
If you’re still struggling to fall asleep, it might help to take a break from trying to sleep and engage in a calming activity, like yin yoga.