Good sleep is vital for good health. It provides rest, makes you feel good, and helps your body and brain function properly.
Without good sleep, you may experience adverse effects – including memory loss, mood swings, emotional disorders, and other biological conditions.
While most people fall asleep easily, some have trouble inviting the sleep fairy. According to the American Sleep Association, about 50 to 70 million US adults have a sleep disorder.
So, if you are one of them and wondering how to make yourself fall asleep, this write-up will come in handy.
Quick Ways to Fall Asleep Easily
Let’s look at some science-based methods and tricks to go to sleep faster.
1. The Military Method
The military method is one of the best ways to fall asleep quickly. This technique derives its name from US military practices, and it was popularized by Lloyd Winter’s book “Relax and Win.”
The military method focuses on relaxing, breathing, and mental visualization. Below is how you can go to sleep fast with this method:
Step 1. Relax your entire body, including your facial muscles, tongue, shoulders, chest, and arms.
Step 2. Take a deep breath and focus on your breathing, inhaling and exhaling at a normal pace.
Step 3. Now relax your thighs and legs.
Step 4. Clear your mind, letting thoughts come and go without “thinking” about them.
- You can picture a peaceful scenario like canoeing in a lake or rocking back & forth in a peaceful room to clear your mind.
- You can also try repeating “don’t think, don’t think, don’t think for a couple of seconds.
You should fall asleep within ten seconds.
2. The 4-7-8 Method
The 4-7-8 is another breathing method to unwind quickly before bed. Developed by Dr. Andrew Weil, the 4-7-8 method promotes relaxation, calmness, and peace.
It is based on breath control techniques that relax the central nervous system. The best thing about this method is that you can practice it anytime you feel anxious or under stress.
Here’s how you can do one cycle of 4-7-8.
Step 1: Part your lips and exhale through your mouth slowly while making a whooshing sound.
Step 2: Now, close your mouth and inhale through your nose for 4 seconds.
Step 3: Hold your breath there for 7 seconds.
Step 4: After that, exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds while making a whooshing sound.
Repeat this cycle at least four times. You will notice your body getting relaxed and slowly coming to sleep.
3. The Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) Method
The progressive muscle relaxation or deep muscle relaxation method is often recommended to treat insomnia. The premise of the exercise is to tense your different body muscles – but not strain them – and then relax to release the tension.
This progressive movement clears your mind and stimulates calmness throughout the body. But, before you start with the PMR method, practice the 4-7-8 method for a while.
Imagine all the tension leaving your body when you exhale. This will help you get better success with the PMR method.
Here’s how to do the PMR exercise.
Step 1: Raise your eyebrows as high as you can for about 5 seconds.
Step 2: After 5 seconds, drop the eyebrows and let your forehead muscles relax immediately.
Step 3: Wait for 10 seconds.
Step 4: Now, smile as widely as you can for 5 seconds.
Step 5: Release the mouth muscles and let the tension in your cheeks subside.
Step 6: Wait for 10 seconds.
Step 7: After that, squint with your eyes shut for five seconds.
Step 8: Relax for 10 seconds.
Basically, you have to keep moving from the head muscles down to the feet. This technique stimulates all the major muscles from head to triceps, chest, thighs, and feet.
You don’t have to follow the method down to your feet, though. If you feel like sleeping on the 6th step (or any other step), let yourself fall asleep.
4. The Acupressure Method
Studies have shown that acupressure is a promising way to get better sleep? To use a pressure point, you have to gently apply the pressure on the spot with your fingers, hands, or fist.
Do this for about 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat if necessary.
The following acupressure spots can help with sleep.
An Mian – The An Mian points are located on either side of the neck. To find this spot, place your finger behind each earlobe and move them behind the bony protrusion.
HT7 – The HT7 is on the wrist’s underside. To find this spot, bend your hand forwards and locate the crease. The HT7 will be on the outermost part of the crease closer to your pinky.
SP6 –The SP6 can also help with insomnia. However, pregnant women should avoid putting pressure on this spot. To access the spot, find your ankle’s highest point on the inside of your leg.
5. The Autogenic Training Method
Autogenic training is a relaxation technique created and popularized by a German psychiatrist J.H. Schultz. The technique uses hypnosis principles to induce a calming effect on the central nervous system.
Below are the steps to try the autogenic training method.
Step 1: Lay down on your bed and focus on your breathing.
Step 2: Tell yourself, “I am calm”
Step 3: Now, bring your focus to any part of your body that feels tense and tell yourself, “My XXX is/are heavy .”Repeat the same sentence at least 6 times.
Step 4: Follow it by saying, “My XXX is/are calm .”Repeat the same sentence at least 6 times.
Move around to focus on different parts of your body. Moreover, you should start with body parts that are tenser or feel heavy at that time.
6. The Yoga Method
Nothing’s better than a calming yoga at the end of the day to sleep better. It can rest your entire body and help you wind down before you go to bed.
Various studies have shown that yoga before bed can help people sleep faster and better. It’s an excellent way to encourage deep breathing muscle & joint relaxation.
Below are the top Yoga poses that can help you fall asleep faster.
Siddhasana – AKA the perfect pose, Siddhasana slows down the body’s autonomic rhythms. Sit upright with your eyes closed in a semi-dark environment to do this pose.
Allow your breath to become slow. Focus on your breath as you inhale and exhale. That’s all.
Now sit sideways with your hips against the wall. Swing your legs up the wall and just lie down. Let your arms rest naturally. Enjoy the calm.
Muertasana – AKA the corpse pose is the perfect way to slide into a deep sleep. Turn off the lights, remove any noise and get into the bed on your back with arms slightly parted away.
Focus on your breathing, focusing on releasing your thoughts with every breath-out.
7. The Body Scan Method
The body scan method is another relaxation technique that promotes better sleep. It’s actually a check-in with your body. It makes you actively aware of how stressed (or relaxed) a particular part is at a time.
This way, it’s very similar to the military method. The only difference is you have to move very slowly until you reach your feet. The body scan method is so slow that it can sometimes take up to 20 minutes to reach your feet.
Here’s how to proceed:
Step 1: Lay down on your back in a relaxed position.
Step 2: Focus on a portion of your head until it feels relaxed.
Step 3: Slowly move down to your neck, shoulders, chest, legs, and other parts of the body until you reach the feet.
Start working on the left side of your body first and move on to the left side after that.
General Tips to Go To Sleep Faster
Still, having trouble with your sleep? See if you can prepare your body and make your bedroom a little more sleep-friendly by following these tips.
1. Create and strictly follow a sleeping routine
Going to bed at different times can interfere with your body’s circadian rhythm. These are a group of physical, mental, and behavioral processes that follow a 24 hours cycle.
Every living organism has these processes responding primarily to light and dark, determining whether the body is ready for a nap or not.
So, when you follow a routine of going to bed at the same time every night, it helps the body’s clock to predict when to expect and induce sleep.
2. Keep the lights off and noise to a minimum
Certain cues like noise in the background or light can also influence the body’s circadian rhythm. These cues help the body predict when it’s nighttime and when it’s the time to wake up.
That is why sometimes you get up a few minutes earlier than your morning clock rings. Keeping the lights off and the room as dark as possible can help you bring on sleep.
3. Avoid long naps during the day
Taking long (longer than 2 hours) naps during the daytime can also disrupt your body’s circadian rhythm. Sure, it’s pretty tempting to take a daytime nap when you had a poor last night’s sleep.
However, it can adversely affect your natural sleep cycle and prevent the body from inducing sleep at night.
4. Try exercise or any other physical activity during the day
Exercise or any other physical activity during the daytime has a very positive impact on sleep quality. In fact, it’s a well-documented fact that exercise decreases insomnia.
The effects of aerobics – in particular – tend to be very similar to those of sleeping pills and other sleep-inducing medicine.
This is because when you exercise or indulge in any other physical activity, your body’s cells break down, and naturally, your body attempts to recover via sleep.
5. Read a boring book
Reading books can be relaxing for some individuals (Now you know why reading Moby Dick or Tess of the Dubervilles made you fall asleep during the high school years). Reading takes you to another world.
Thus, it helps you prevent any anxiety-inducing thought patterns. That’s why classics are considered the biggest snoozers.
However, if you find classics interesting, reading them can be counterproductive. The idea here is to read a boring book that you find seriously dull.
6. Have sex (or masturbate) before hitting the bed
According to Healthline, if you want to sleep better, have more sex. While clinical research to prove this claim is sparse, the underlying mechanics make it understandable.
Among other things, your body releases the hormone oxytocin – aka the love hormone – during sex. This leads to a feeling of pleasant well-being and relieves stress.
7. Avoid having caffeinated drinks
Well, caffeine is a stimulant. It stimulates and makes your body more vigilant of the surroundings, hence disturbing your natural sleep pattern.
Most notably, caffeine reduces the slow-wave sleep cycle, a restful sleep stage that leaves us more alert in the morning. So, it’s best to avoid any caffeinated drink at least 5 to 6 hours before hitting the bed.
8. Visualize things or memories that make you happy
Instead of thinking about stuff that worries you, visualize things that make you feel calm and happy. In one insomnia study, researchers found that participants could sleep faster when instructed to create a distraction in the form of an image.
You can think about any new things that make you happy, any past memories or situations that made you happy, or any other random image to relax your mind.
Getting sleep in a natural way is the ideal way to make sure that your body and mind get the rest they require. We hope trying the methods above will help increase your chances of getting a peaceful sleep.. and faster.
Which one of these methods or tips worked best for you? Which method do you use to sleep better?
Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below!