Are you having trouble falling asleep? You are not alone. In the United States approximately 60 million individuals reported to have experienced insomnia in any given year, this is according to the National Institute of Health .
Currently, Americans sleep approximately for 6.8 hours per night, this is an hour down from the sleeping patterns of 1942. For every 10 Americans, 4 do not get the minimum recommend seven hours of sleep . This is a public health emergency as fatigue results in both long and short term problems with physical and mental health.
Here are a few scientifically-proven techniques on how to fall asleep faster at night:
1. Try To Stay Awake
Reverse psychology can be extremely effective in alleviating sleep apprehension.
A small study that was carried at the University of Glasgow revealed that sleep-onset insomniacs who were directed to lay in their beds and attempt to stay awake as much as possible fell asleep much quicker when compared to the participants who were instructed to sleep without the use of this ‘paradoxical intention” (PI) . The participants of the PI group slept easier and demonstrated reduced sleep performance anxiety.
2. Give Yourself Acupressure
This is derived from acupuncture. It is alternative medicine procedure that is founded on the Chinese medical theory that a system of energy flows via particular points in your body.
Pressing on these particular points is meant to reestablish balance and control your spirit, body, and mind. A faculty member from Bastyr University, a leading natural health university, proposes that these acupressure techniques can be used in alleviating sleeplessness and make you sleep faster at night:
Between the eyebrows, there exists a small depression that is on the same level as your brows, and is right above your nose. Apply some gentle pressure at that specific point for a few minutes.
Between the first and the second toes, right on top of the foot, there exists a depression. For several minutes press this specific area until you feel a small ache.
Envisage that your foot has been sub-divided into three different sections, starting at the tip of your toes and then moving to the back of your heel. Measure the distance one-third back from the tips of your toes and then gently press on your feet’s sole for several minutes.
Massage both ears for a minute
3. Eat Your Dinner By Candlelight
If you want to fall asleep faster at night, you should not expose yourself to too much blue light in the final hours before bedtime. According to Harvard Health
Publications, light of any type can significantly suppress your body’s production of melatonin, however the blue light waves do so more powerfully, thus destabilizing sleep-friendly circadian rhythms .
Apart from the common electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets, the largest blue-light emitters at your home include the LED lights and fluorescent light bulbs that a majority of individuals use because of their powerful light and energy efficiency.
Provide yourself with a romantic break and replace the blue light while taking dinner with a candlelight . After that dinner, you should sleep much better at night.
4. Listen to Music
Research has proved that classical music, or any music which has a rhythm that is slow (approximately 60-80 beats per minute) can assist in making you sleep much faster at night.
In a study that was carried out in 2008, students aged between 19 and 28 listened to relaxing classical music for about 45 minutes before they went to bed, and they demonstrated a substantial improvement in sleep quality . They also reported reduced depression symptoms. (Also check out our post: Vitamins for Depression)
5. Envisage Your Favorite Place
This is one of the easiest methods of how to fall sleep faster at night. All you have to do is picture an environment which makes you feel happy and calm. The key to succeeding is thinking of a specific scene which is engaging enough to divert you from all your worries and thoughts.
In a study that was carried out by Oxford University, and later published in a journal titled Behavior Research and Therapy, insomniacs who were directed to picture a relaxing scene, for instance a waterfall or a beach, fell asleep 20 minutes much faster when compared to insomniacs who were instructed to just sleep .
6. Scent Your Room With Lavender
Lavender does not only smell lovely, but also its aroma can lower your blood pressure, relax your nerves and put you in state that is relaxed, which makes it easy for you to fall asleep much faster at night.
In a study that was carried out by researchers from Wesleyan University in 2005, it was found that participants who sniffed lavender oil for about 2 to 3 minutes, at 10-minute intervals before they went to bed significantly increased their level of deep sleep and they felt more vigorous when they woke up in the morning .
7. Submerge Your Face In Icy Water For About 30 Seconds
In case you are feeling distressed or anxious during bedtime, the best treatment may be immersing your face in ice-cold water for about 30 seconds. By submerging your face into a cold water, you will be triggering an involuntary phenomenon that is known as the Mammalian Dive Reflex .
This sensation will lower your blood pressure and heart rate. You will then be off to bed with a calmed system and fall asleep much faster.
8. Wear Some Socks To Bed
Researchers who were interested in how one can fall asleep much faster in the night carried out a Swiss study that has been published in a journal titled Nature found that warm hands and feet were the best predictors of rapid sleep onset.
In the study, the subjects placed a hot water bottle at their feet, this widened their blood vessels on the surfaces of their skins, therefore increasing heat loss . The shifting blood flow from the core of an individual’s extremities cools down the body, by working in conjunction with melatonin.
9. Take A Hot Shower Just Before You Go To Bed
Warming your body with a warm shower just before bed and then stepping into much cooler air will make your body temperature to reduce more quickly is another effective method of how to fall asleep much faster at night.
Studies that have been carried out demonstrates that this sharp temperature drop decreases your metabolism quickly and it prepares you for sleep . To reap all the benefits of showers before bedtime, you should shower at the same time and make it part of your daily bed routine.
10. Cool Your Bedroom
Your internal body temperature is essential in regulating your biological body clock. When you want to fall asleep, your body temperature will slightly drop. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the recommended bedroom temperature should be about 60-67 degree Fahrenheit.
According to Harvard Medical School, the room must be dark, cool and comfortable. Darkness prompts the brain to produce melatonin, which informs our interior clocks that it is time to sleep [4 ].
The function of melatonin is to cool our internal body temperatures, which touches it’s lowest point from 2am to 4am.