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6 Tips to Fall Asleep Faster and Easier

January 11, 2018

For the average adult, a good night's sleep means getting seven to nine hours — although some are fine with five or six, and others may need 10. While our individual sleep needs may differ, the fact is that all of us need it.

And not just any old sleep will do; in order for it to truly benefit us, it has to be good quality sleep that lets us wake up feeling rested and refreshed

One of the best ways to get that kind of sleep is to plan ahead and create a routine that's designed with one thing in mind: to help you fall asleep faster and sleep better through the night. Here are six things you can do to make that happen:

  1. Schedule it: If you thought a set bedtime went out the window with your childhood teddy bear, think again. Evidence shows that scheduling your sleep becomes even more important as you get older. Your body likes routines, so having a set time to call it a day will quickly set your internal clock to start getting ready for bed at a certain time.
  2. Cut the caffeine: If you're drinking that afternoon cup of coffee less than eight hours before bedtime, you could be keeping yourself awake at night. Even though it's less potent by bedtime, caffeine stays in your system for several hours and could be one of the culprits keeping you up. If you need an afternoon "boost," try walking up and down a flight of stairs for 10 minutes. It's been found to be more effective than a cup of joe!
  3. Shut off the TV (and stay off Facebook): Avoid any kind of "screens" for an hour before bed. Multiple studies show the blue lights from our TV screens and gadgets halt the production of melatonin, which is the hormone that tells our brains it's time to go to sleep.
  4. Try a little tryptophan: If you like a bedtime snack, there's good news. Research shows that a little bit of protein combined with a healthy carbohydrate can help you get to sleep faster, stay asleep, and feel less sleepy the next day.
  5. Keep your cool: Turning the temperature down to between 60 and 67 degrees will work with your body's internal clock to cool you down, which leads to deeper sleep.
  6. Kill the lights: The darker the room, the better you'll sleep. If you're using your smartphone as an alarm clock, set it to airplane mode or cover it with a dark cloth, and cover or remove lights on digital displays. Get rid of the night-lights, and use dark curtains to block light pollution.

If you don't fall asleep immediately, don't worry; it takes the body 10-20 minutes to hit slumber stage. Try listening to soothing music to help you relax and quiet your mind. Then, enjoy a great night's sleep!