10 Ways To Fall Asleep Fast

young woman falling asleep fast

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Sleep is an important component of living a healthy lifestyle. Every tissue and system in your body, from your heart and lungs to your brain and immune system, needs adequate sleep to function properly.

Unfortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that about 1 in 3 adults are sleep-deprived—meaning, they’re not getting enough sleep that their body needs. Not getting enough quality sleep on a regular basis can increase your risk of health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and depression. Therefore, learning how to fall asleep quickly—and staying asleep—is essential for your physical and emotional well-being. 

Tips To Fall Asleep Fast

Tossing and turning at night is more than frustrating—it can actually affect how well you’re able to function the next day. Over time, this can lead to mental and physical health problems. If you’re having trouble falling or staying asleep, it might be time to make some of the following lifestyle changes.

Be Consistent With Your Sleep Routine

Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day helps to sync your circadian rhythms. Your circadian rhythms are your body’s internal clock, signaling when you feel sleepy or awake. Maintaining a consistent schedule teaches your body to feel sleepy and awake at regular times each day. This can help you fall asleep faster once bedtime comes.

Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, and Large Meals Before Bed

Certain dietary choices can harm your sleep. In particular, drinking caffeine or alcohol and eating large meals too close to bedtime may make it challenging for your body to feel sleepy at night. 

Keep in mind: alcohol may actually help you relax and fall asleep quickly. However, drinking alcohol disrupts your sleep cycle, causing you to wake up during the night, and eventually lowering your sleep quality. That said, it’s best to avoid consuming alcohol within four hours before bedtime.

Caffeine, on the other hand, is a stimulant—meaning, it helps boost mood and alertness during the day. However, if you drink coffee or other caffeinated products at night, it can delay your sleep. One stdy in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine reveals that consuming 400 milligrams of caffeine (about the amount in 16 ounces of brewed coffee) as much as six hours before bed disrupts sleep. For that reason, many experts recommend stopping caffeine intake at least six hours before your planned bedtime.

However, what you drink is not all that matters. Eating meals—especially heavy meals—too close to bedtime can also make it difficult to fall asleep. Eating a light dinner two to three hours before bedtime is best so your body is able to fully digest your food before sleeping.

Exercise During the Day 

Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night. Research suggests that regular exercise may be especially helpful for those with insomnia, a common sleep disorder that makes it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep, and get quality sleep.

In one study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, people with insomnia who incorporated exercise into their daily routine were able to reduce the time it took to fall asleep by 55%. They also lowered total night wakefulness (or, how long they spent awake) by 30% and increased total sleep time by 18%.

However, exercising can sometimes backfire, especially if the workout is too strenuous or done too late in the day. For the best sleep results, try completing your workout a few hours before bedtime.

Limit Blue Light Exposure at Night

In this day and age, setting electronics aside can be challenging. But, staring at smartphone and computer screens late in the day only makes it difficult to get to sleep at your regular bedtime.

The reason this happens is because electronic devices emit blue light. Blue light is a portion of the visible light spectrum that prevents the production of melatonin—a hormone that tells your brain it’s time to sleep. As a result, most experts recommend limiting blue light exposure to at least one hour before going to sleep.

Establish a Relaxing Sleep Environment

Making your bedroom an inviting place to sleep helps signal your body that it’s time to wind down. Here are a few ways to set up an ideal sleep environment:

  • Install blackout curtains and blinds: Keeping light out of your bedroom creates a dark environment that helps regulate your circadian rhythm. 
  • Turn down the thermostat: Your body prefers a room temperature between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit while you sleep.
  • Prioritize comfort: Investing in cozy bedding, a comfortable pillow, and a mattress that supports your spine may help induce sleep faster.
  • Listen to soothing sounds: A white noise machine or small fan can help you fall and stay asleep by masking distracting noises nearby. 

How To Help Kids and Teens Fall Asleep Faster

Research shows that 15% to 25% of kids and teenagers have trouble falling and staying asleep. As with adults, kids and teens who don’t get the sleep they need can experience negative health effects. They may have difficulty concentrating at school and struggle with daytime sleepiness. That said, here’s how you can help.

Model Good Sleep Habits

Set a positive example for your child by following good sleep habits yourself. Pulling all-nighters to help your kids with their homework or catch up on work doesn’t send the right message. Instead, make sleep a priority for yourself to show your children the importance of sleep.

Create a Bedtime Routine

Help your child create and stick to a bedtime routine. The actual routine can be specific to your child’s lifestyle and age, but consistency is key. A consistent routine helps your child understand that it’s time to get ready for bed. Not only does this help them during childhood, but they may be likely to continue these healthy habits as they get older.

A bedtime routine could include a warm bath or shower, reading a comforting book, or talking about their day with them. It’s best to avoid turning to TV or other electronics to calm your child.

As with any new routine, establishing a regular sleep routine for your child will take practice. So, it’s important to keep trying. If your child is having trouble sleeping, talk to their pediatrician to see if there may be another issue causing your child’s sleep difficulties.

Avoid Overscheduling

After-school activities are a great way for your child or teen to make friends and learn new skills. But if they have too many activities on their plate, they may not have time to finish their homework before bedtime. Plus, kids and teens need to relax at the end of the day just like adults. Look over your child’s schedule to see if there are any commitments that may help them de-stress and fall asleep easier at night.

Optimize Their Sleep Environment

Just like your own room, it’s important that your child’s room is an ideal place that can nurture healthy sleep habits. Every child’s needs are different, but getting blackout curtains that block out sunlight, keeping the bedroom cool, and giving them comfortable bedding may make it easier for your child to fall and stay asleep at night. 

Another tip: try to encourage your child to only use their bed for sleep and avoid doing homework or other tasks there. Doing different activities in the same environment can make it difficult for your child’s brain to understand that the bed should only be used for sleeping.

Put Electronics Away

Whether it’s their phone, TV, computer, or video game console, using electronics too close to bedtime can disrupt your child’s sleep. Encourage them to put away their electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime. If they’re young, you may also find it helpful to limit the hours they spend on their screens throughout the day or have a set schedule for when they’re able to use their electronics. 

It may also help to charge devices outside their bedroom overnight. This way, they won’t be tempted to look at screens in bed.

A Quick Review

Good sleep is key to overall health. Without adequate sleep, you can’t think or perform your best the next day. If you’re not getting enough sleep regularly, you can experience sleep deprivation, which not only makes you feel tired in the moment, but also increases your risk of developing chronic health issues. Lifestyle changes like avoiding certain foods before bed, creating a relaxing sleep environment, and exercising may help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night. 

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18 Sources
Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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