A good night’s sleep isn’t always easy to come by. In fact, sometimes it feels like we spend more time trying to fall asleep than actually sleeping! Make a plan for how to get to sleep faster, and you’ll be catching more Zs before you know it.
How to Get to Sleep Faster
One-third of American adults report struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep. There are a lot of things that can make sleep hard to come by, ranging from the temperature of your room to your regular bedtime habits. Luckily, once you know how to get to sleep faster, they’re easy problems to fix.
Have a Bedtime Routine
Bedtimes aren’t just for kids. Having a set time to wake up and go to sleep every day is one of the best ways to improve your sleep hygiene. It helps your body set its circadian rhythm, which will result in a better night of rest. You can also help yourself by having a bedtime routine. A few simple, quiet activities that help you wind down every night will cause your mind to associate certain behaviors with sleep. So make your bedtime a priority, and take a little time to read or do some light stretching before you hit the mattress.
Cool Down Before Bedtime
Do you have trouble sleeping in the summer? Specialists agree that a temperature of 65 degrees is ideal for a good night of rest, so cool your sleeping space down as much as you can. If you don’t have an A/C, use window fans to bring cool night air in from the outside and circulate it through your room as much as possible. The cooler it is, the better you’ll sleep.
Put Your Phone Away
If you always have your cell phone at hand, that might be a secret cause of your insomnia. While it might not feel like a big deal to sit and read things on your phone while you get ready for bed, the light from your phone can actually interfere with your circadian rhythm. Even worse, the constant alerts from your phone can put you in a state of low-level anxiety, making sleep even harder to achieve. Experts recommend putting your phone in a separate room, and purchasing an analog alarm clock if needed.
Use 4-7-8 Breathing to Relax Quickly
If you’re still having trouble sleeping after changing your environment, you can use the 4-7-8 breathing method to help yourself drift off quickly. Lay in your bed and consciously relax your muscles, making sure there’s no tension left in your body. Then breathe in deeply through your nostrils for four seconds. Hold the breath for seven seconds, then exhale for eight. Continue to do this until you drift off. This breathing sequence helps your body relax enough to slip into slumber.
Try the Two-Minute Military Method
If after all that you’re still unable to drift off, why not try a proven military technique for quick and easy sleep? This method was discovered by the United States Navy when they were seeking ways to help soldiers get a good night’s sleep despite the harsh conditions of combat. Just follow these steps:
- Tell yourself to stay awake. This may feel like a contradiction, but it’s actually a psychological trick called “contrary conditioning.” Telling yourself to stay awake removes the stress and pressure of trying to fall asleep, and makes it easier to do so.
- Visualize a calm place. Imagine a tranquil meadow, a beautiful beach on a calm day, or any other place that makes you feel at ease.
- Alternate 4-7-8 breathing with progressive muscle relaxation. Starting at the top of your head, flex all of the muscles in your face for a few seconds, then release. Keep moving downwards until your entire body is relaxed, or until you fall asleep.
It takes a few weeks to adjust, but most people who try this method swear it works. Why not give it a shot?
If none of these methods does the trick, it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor. If there’s a medical issue standing between you and sleep, they’ll help you figure it out. Pleasant dreams!
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