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When it’s difficult to shut your mind and doze off to sleep, you know it’s a big problem.
Sleep is the single most important activity that can radically transform your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Research has suggested that a consistent and healthy sleep routine promotes better memory, productivity, physical performance, metabolism, heart health, pain management, and immunity. It also lowers the risk of depression, weight gain, and inflammation.
Compromising on your night’s sleep is compromising with your life and well-being.
Before it begins to damage your health, make use of these 12 things to fall asleep faster, and enjoy a peaceful and relaxing slumber at night.
Identify your chronotype to follow your ideal sleep routine
The Circadian System or our ‘internal biological clock’ signals our body when to fall asleep and when to wake up, thereby influencing how much sleep we need. Every individual has a unique circadian rhythm which is influenced by their chronotype.
A chronotype is your natural tendency to be alert and to sleep during a 24 hour period.
He labeled the four different chronotypes after mammals who exhibit similar sleeping patterns in their circadian rhythm, namely Bears, Lions, Wolves, and Dolphins.
Once you identify your chronotype (Bear or Lion or Wolf or Dolphin), you will be able to figure out during which time of the day is your body naturally favored to fall asleep and rest.
Knowing these timings can help you synchronize your daily activities, your work, and your sleep routine to your circadian rhythm so you can optimize your time, health, and productivity.
Maintaining a sleep routine harmonious to your natural sleep timings will help you fall asleep faster than usual and enhance your sleep quality.
Eat a sleep-friendly dinner meal
Our brain prepares us for sleep by releasing two primary neurotransmitters called Melatonin and GABA or Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid.
The release of melatonin begins to make us feel less alert and sleepy, while GABA’s main role is to inhibit the activity of neurons in our brain and central nervous system to switch off the state of wakefulness by reducing stress, increasing relaxation and calmness, thereby slowly inducing sleep.
Several studies have confirmed that the food we eat plays a major role in promoting sleep by stimulating the release of melatonin and GABA. Nutrients like magnesium, calcium, and tryptophan(amino acid) support the sleep hormones in their functions.
Eating a dinner meal with food ingredients rich in sleep nutrients (melatonin, GABA, tryptophan, magnesium, calcium) can boost the chemical mechanism for the onset of sleep, helping you relax better and fall asleep faster.
Also, remember to complete your dinner 2-3 hours before bedtime to ease much of the stress off your stomach for digestion before you go to sleep.
Cut-off caffeine consumption 6 hours before bedtime
A third neurotransmitter involved in inducing sleep is called adenosine and is produced as a by-product of energy consumption.
(Adenosine Triphosphate or ATP decomposes to Adenosine.)
Adenosine keeps on building up in our body throughout the day, therefore making us feel tired and in need of sleep with increasing waking hours.
Caffeine acts as an adenosine blocker, neutralizing adenosine’s effect in our body and preventing us from falling asleep. And it takes 3-5 hours for our bodies to process only half of the caffeine we consume.
Moreover, too much caffeine can increase your blood pressure and interfere with the production of the feel-good chemical serotonin, eventually leading to an anxious and depressed mood. It also makes you dehydrated and interferes with your sleep quality leading to worsening of anxiety symptoms and inducing stints of insomnia.
Therefore, it is wise to cut-off any drink or food that may contain caffeine at least 6 hours before bedtime to enable you to fall asleep comfortably.
Apart from your cup of coffee, many different foods, beverages, and even medications sneakily pack in a significant amount of caffeine in them. Check out these six foods and drinks that have hidden caffeine and try to avoid them before sleep!
Avoid screen exposure after 9 PM
The pineal gland becomes active around 9 pm and starts releasing melatonin hormone, with increasing levels of melatonin making us feel less alert and sleepy so we can maintain our body’s regular sleep cycle.
However, the only thing that disrupts the release of melatonin hormone is exposure to bright light.
Therefore avoiding any bright electronic screen exposure before bedtime or after 9 pm will minimize any interference with the release of melatonin and help you fall asleep faster.
Also, try to install a dimmer to soften the brightness of lights inside your bedroom and make the bedroom as dark as possible during sleep at night. Use ‘blackout curtains’ if there’s light coming from outside.
Take a warm bath
Research (1) says that an increase in body temperature induces relaxation and signals your body to get ready for sleep. Taking a warm bath before bed can essentially prepare your mind and body to fall asleep faster and have a relaxing sleep at night.
Use Epsom or lavender-infused bath salts for maximum relaxation.
Drink a relaxing bedtime tea
Teas have been known for ages to induce feelings of calmness and relaxation and can be had at any time of the day to soothe your nerves.
Bed-time herbal teas don’t pack in caffeine to interfere with sleep-inducing neurotransmitters like adenosine. Instead, some of the ingredients actually boost sleep-inducing neurotransmitters like GABA to help you fall asleep effectively.
Flowers and herbs like Chamomile, Valerian, Passionflower, etc. have been used for ages to fall asleep faster and improve sleep quality. These are so effective that even most of the sleep supplements and relaxants make use of these same ingredients found in the herbal teas.
Turn down the temperature in your bedroom
Our body temperatures drop by 1 or 2 degrees at night to promote sleep. Likewise, a cool surrounding temperature during bedtime can induce sleep quickly and effectively.
A cool bedroom environment can also decrease nighttime awakenings and chances of having nightmares.
Sleep experts and research have suggested keeping the bedroom temperature around 65F degrees or 18-20C degrees for optimal sleep.
Dial your air conditioning or radiator temperature to around 18-20C degrees temperatures before bedtime to relax and fall asleep faster.
A greener alternative might be using an electric fan or opening the windows when temperatures are cool outside. Cooling mattress pads are also available for the same purpose.
Perform body-scan meditation
Body Scanning is a type of meditation technique used to cultivate mindfulness towards various parts of your body. It is a variation of the traditional Burmese Vipassana meditation practice referred to as ‘sweeping’. (2)
It was introduced into clinical practice by Jon Kabat-Zinn through his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at the University of Massachusetts. (3)
The Body Scan technique is designed to scan your body (much like a CAT scan) and help you feel and become aware of the different sensations that occur throughout your body.
Take out 10-15 mins during bedtime to perform the body-scan meditation to relax comfortably, fall asleep faster, and have a peaceful slumber.
Learn how to practice the body-scan meditation along with 10 free audio guides
Use a sleep-inducing essential oil
Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine that makes use of our sense of smell to heal our mind and body. One of the potent tools of aromatherapy is using essential oils.
Our sense of smell is wired directly to the limbic system and amygdala centers responsible for memory or mood.(8) We collect smells from the environment and send that information via the olfactory nerve. This is the reason why certain smells can instantly make us cheer up, or even recall a favorite memory. And in this same way, essential oils can have a potent effect on your mood and mental well-being, with particular smells (good or bad) causing particular emotional reactions (relaxing or irritating).
Practitioners have been using essential oils like lavender, marjoram, clary sage, etc. for treating a plethora of ailments, from reducing stress to relieving insomnia.
Before bedtime, massage some oil on yourself or simply take a deep sniff of the soothing aroma of essential oils to relax your mind and comfortably fall asleep faster.
Use acupressure tricks
All of us accumulate stress throughout our day and if not relieved, stress can rob us of a good night’s sleep.
The technique of Acupressure has been around for thousands of years and has been sought after as an effective medical treatment for stress relief and sleep disorders. Several studies have confirmed that acupressure techniques release neurotransmitters such as serotonin and activate opioid systems, which relax our bodies and promote healthy sleep. (9)
It is a completely natural and self-manageable exercise and researchers have suggested acupressure can be easily learned by anyone and used as an effective self-care method, specifically to manage sleep disorders. (10)
Warm-up your body with a few stretches and deep breathing before bedtime and perform acupressure on specific pressure points (Shen men, San Yin Jiao, Feng Chi, etc.) across the body to induce feelings of relaxation, relieve stress, and fall asleep faster.
Keep a bedside journal
Take a few minutes during bedtime to reflect and journal about your day.
Also, write down your plan for tomorrow. This will help you go through all of your thoughts, worries, and to-do’s for tomorrow and put them down on paper so they don’t interfere when you’re trying to sleep.
Also, keep a bedside journal to note down any interesting idea that comes to your mind as you’re about to sleep or when half asleep. Doing so will reduce your chances of ruminating on it inside your head and help you to fall asleep in peace.
Use proven techniques to fall asleep quickly
If you still find it difficult to doze off to sleep, try some techniques that have been used by elite performers like athletes and the military, to help them fall asleep within 1-2 minutes.
Try out proven techniques like 4-7-8 breathing and the military method to fall asleep faster and enjoy a peaceful sleep for the night.
Sleep is the magic pill that can make a massive difference in your life.
Prioritizing your sleep in your daily schedule will not only help you maintain optimum health and well-being but also optimize your productivity with work.
Make use of these 12 things to help you fall asleep faster and optimize your health and well-being to live the life you truly deserve.
If you’re struggling with sleep issues, check out the…
4 Weeks Sleep Training Program
with Sleep Diary (Journal + Tracker)
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