I remember being a teenager and wanting to be able to stay up the whole night and do my stuff, whether it’s playing on my computer or simply chatting with friends on the phone. My mom was, understandably, not very happy with my sleeping habits because I was not getting enough rest. Back then I couldn’t wait to be an adult and just do what I wanted when I wanted to.
Fast forward to a few years, and now I am an adult, with work and other responsibilities. The last thing I want to do these days is to sleep late because I am always so tired. Despite that, I just had problems falling asleep. Whether it’s because of stress or a long list of things to do, I just couldn’t get my mind relaxed enough to simply drift off to dreamland.
This can really be difficult when you have to wake up early the next day. I was accumulating a lot of sleep debt and felt extremely exhausted. Finally, it was time for me to deal with the problem. I wanted to find ways on how to sleep fast. Not only was it becoming too difficult for me to function normally at work, I was also highly distracted at times and I could feel myself getting easily sick.
In fact, as a recent study showed, a good snooze is not just to rest our brains, but our bodies need it also to be able to fight off viruses and infections. The research showed that those who slept less than 5 hours every day were 4.5 times more likely to develop a cold than those who had the minimum requirement of 7 hours. Those who managed 5 to 6 hrs of good sleep were still 4.24 times at risk of getting sick. Our nightly shut-eye actually allows us to fight off infections, while the lack of good rest will lower our defenses. This definitely explained why I would always have the sniffles when I had a particularly bad night.
Moreover, sleep-deprived people like me are more likely to have car accidents, get depressed, be overweight and suffer from conditions like diabetes and cancer. This is why I desperately turned to these tips sleep experts recommend to help me achieve a good night’s rest:
- Distracting the Mind
I cannot count the times I have tossed and turned around in bed, reviewing the day’s happenings in my mind and thinking about what faced me the next morning. In situations like these, it is recommended to distract your mind by reading. Using a low light to avoid waking up or confusing your body clock, pick up a book. This will allow fatigue to set in, making you feel sleepier. Just make sure to avoid reading on electronic devices, as their light might disrupt your body clock more.
- Listen to Some Music
Relaxing music is proven to lower blood pressure and slow down your heart rate. Calming tunes or the sound of waves or rainfall can help you slumber more quickly, and you even achieve a better quality of sleep.
- Blow Some Bubbles
If you have kids, try and sneak their bubbles as a way of helping you fall asleep. Blowing on them is similar to deep breathing and will help you relax. Moreover, the little bubbles will entrance you and move your thoughts away from other things.
If you find the exercise too strange, you can also try meditation. Sit down and close your eyes, and simply count your breaths.
- Write it Down
Sometimes having too much in our mind is the reason why we simply cannot fall asleep. Why not keep a notebook beside your bed and just write down what is keeping you up? This way, your brain will stop processing this information and be able to finally rest.
- Go for an Exercise
Stress makes your body produce cortisol. This hormone actually keeps your mind alert, which prevents you from falling asleep. Some studies have shown that doing certain intense exercises before your bedtime can actually lower the cortisol levels in your body. This allows you, in turn, to drift into the Sandman’s arms.
- Put Away Your Clock
Looking at the time will stress you instead of help you relax. When you are literally counting down the hours before you have to wake up again, you are making it even more difficult to fall asleep. So turn that clock away and reduce the anxiety.
The optimal temperature to sleep is between 65 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit (about 18 to 20 degrees Celsius). Your core body temperature also tends to fall when you drift off to sleep. Make sure that your room is of the right conditions so that you can slumber more easily.
These are basic tips to help those who are suffering sleepless nights. Should you, however, still have issues, it might be a sign of a bigger problem. In this case, visit a doctor to be able to fully address it. Otherwise, try to follow these steps and see how it helps you in the days or weeks to come. As it was for me, it took some time before I could really train myself to sleep fast. But in the end, they worked and I am happily enjoying my nightly slumber and waking up feeling refreshed and energized every day.