If you have ever suffered with sleep problems you will agree that there is nothing quite as painful as climbing into bed and lying awake for half the night, tossing and turning while the rest of the world (including your snoring husband) are fast asleep.
Since I have had sleep problems my whole life I have had plenty of experience dealing with struggling to fall asleep, I have also had problems with waking up and struggling to go back to sleep. As a baby I gave my mother plenty of sleepless nights and as a toddler I kept her up with my regular night terrors.
History repeats itself and I’ve had the same struggles with my daughter. She only slept through for the first time when she was three years old, leaving me exhausted and struggling to cope with lack of sleep.
You would think that the more tired you are the easier you would find it to fall asleep, but for me that isn’t true. I might be suffering from lack of sleep and all day be yawning and feel like I could fall asleep at the drop of a hat but when I climb into bed my eyes pop open and I am wide awake… and the cycle continues.
Over the years I have learned some ways to help me sleep better and to help me fall asleep faster. There is nothing sweeter than being able to climb into bed and fall asleep quickly after a long day.
Here are some good solid ways to help you fall asleep faster:
Have A Good Comfortable Bed
This is the starting point for a good sleep and for falling asleep fast. Your bed should be firm but comfortable. I can’t begin to explain how important this is. I had a bed for many years and I thought my bed was fine, that is until I got a new bed and realized how uncomfortable my old bed was and how it hurt my back when I was sleeping.
Having a comfortable bed makes such a difference at the end of a long and tiring day.
Make sure to check out plenty of reviews, such as this Nora mattress review, to find out more about different beds and mattresses on offer. Also be sure to visit a bed shop to view and test the comfortability of different beds and mattresses before making your purchase.
When you get into bed you want to feel like you have come to your happy place of comfort.
Avoid Screen Time Before Bed
If you want to have good sleep and fall asleep fast then turn off all your devices long before bed time! Screen time before bed will ruin your chances of having healthy sleep.
Turn off the TV and rather read a book (yes a real book) for an hour or two before you go to sleep.
Hot Shower Or Bath Before Bed
Having a warm shower or bath helps you to relax. In addition to this when you get out of the bath or shower your core temperature drops rapidly which brings on a sleepy feeling because your digestion, heart rate and metabolic processes slow down.
Have A Bedtime Routine
It’s not just babies and kids that benefit from a good bedtime routine, adults can also do with a good dose of routine here. Creating a 60 minute wind-down routine will be very helpful in getting to sleep faster and having a good sleep.
Just like a baby, incorporating your bath and bedtime story into your routine will be a winner.
Just as with your child’s routine have a set time for going to bed and for waking up in the morning, making sure you have allocated enough time for 8 hours sleep. Make sure your bed time is late enough so that when you go to bed you are tired.
Breathing and Meditation
Meditating and doing breathing exercises before bed will help you to wind down and prepare for sleep.
A brilliant breathing exercise for aiding sleep is known as the 4-7-8 exercise. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds and inhale for 8 seconds. Repeating this for a few minutes will change your heart rate and blood pressure, which is linked to sleepiness.
Hide The Clock
Chances are that if you struggle to fall asleep you will be stressed about it when you get into bed. Staring at the clock ticking is only going to make this worse. Hide your clock and stop focusing on the time going by.
Having warm hands and feet promotes the rapid onset of sleep. The dilation of blood vessels in the skin of your feet and hands when heat from the rest of your body goes to your hands and feet cools down the body and helps with the onset of sleep.
Visualizing a calm and relaxing place can help to calm and relax your mind. This is a great way to calm your mind to prepare for sleep.
Have Dinner By Candelight
Exposure to light can suppress the production of melatonin. This is especially true when it comes to blue light and LED light. Having dinner by candlelight is not only romantic, it is also calming and could help you to sleep better.
Get Out Of Bed
If you have been lying in bed for a while and you are struggling to sleep rather get up and do something for a while before going back to bed and trying to fall asleep again.
Tossing and turning in bed is not helpful, by getting out of bed and keeping yourself occupied with something for a while before trying again will help your body and mind to get used to the idea that bed is for sleeping.
Make sure to do something that requires your head and your hands. You can try a puzzle or coloring in. Don’t watch TV or do anything on your phone or tablet – this will have a negative effect on your efforts.
Drink Chamomile Tea Before Bed
Avoid caffeinated drinks such as coffee and tea a few hours before bed time, instead try a drinking a cup of chamomile tea before bed. Chamomile tea is a known to be a natural and mild tranquilizer that has sleep inducing properties.
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Also published on Medium.