How to Fall Asleep Fast

Some people have no problem falling asleep.  However, many others have a severe difficulty.  As a result, we’ve put together our best tips to fall asleep below.

Counting sheep not leading to sleep? We get it, climbing into bed and waiting hours to fall asleep is frustrating. When you are only able to get so many hours, it’s important to make them count. 

Luckily, there are plenty of science-based tips that are clinically proven to aid in falling asleep and achieving quality sleep. We’ve rounded them up so that you can be catching ZZZs in no time.

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1. All about the method

The military method: As described in the 1981 book, Relax and Win: Championship Performance a technique thought to be developed by the US Army to ensure soldiers could fall asleep in bunkers and be well-rested was utilized to fall asleep fast. 

Here’s how: 

  • Relax your facial muscles, including your jaw, tongue, and release the tension around your eyes and brow
  • Allow your shoulders to drop as low as they can go, followed by your upper and lower arm, one side at a time
  • Exhale, and follow with releasing tension throughout the rest of your body, picking up with your chest and continuing down muscle groups all the way to your toes
  • Take 10 seconds to clear your mind before picturing one of the three images: 
    1. Lying in a canoe on calm water with clear sky above you
    2. Lying in a black velvet hammock in a pitch-black room
    3. Say “don’t think, don’t think, don’t think” to yourself repeatedly for about 10 seconds 

The 4-7-8 method:  It’s a breathing exercise that helps when you feel stressed, overwhelmed, anxious, or just need to take a moment. All you have to do is inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds then exhale for eight seconds. Repeat this a couple of times to lower your heart rate and blood pressure, helping you fall asleep more easily.

2. Don't try and fall asleep

It sounds counterintuitive, but a little reverse psychology can be surprisingly effective. Found to be ideal for insomnia disorder, paradoxical intention is where there is a profound preoccupation with sleep loss, sleep, and consequences surrounding sleep. A study conducted in Scotland found that tricking your brain to think you don’t want to sleep will allow your body and mind to relax and fall asleep faster than not applying any method.

 

3. Cool Down

Some feel relaxed by a warm bath or shower before bed. Not working for you? Immersing your face in ice cold water for up to 30 seconds triggers your Mammalian Dive Reflex, an involuntary reflex that lowers your heart rate and blood pressure. Not up for that task? Just splashing your face and running your hands under cool water for 30 seconds can ease racing thoughts and stimulate instantaneous calm.

 

4. Steer clear of sleep aids

Studies have shown that behavioral intentions to combat insomnia are successful at yielding desired sleep results and cost-effective. These robust behavioral intentions yield reliable long-term benefits in adults of all ages. 

5. Power of Sound

Sound has been shown to not just help you fall asleep quickly, but it also improves sleep architecture and your quality of sleep. There are tons of free apps and videos that have several sleep stories and guided meditation apps that will walk you through visual imagery and help you release tension in your body to get you drifting off to dreamland. 

White noise machines, apps and videos can be played and  feature a wide array of soothing sounds. Whether you prefer nature sounds, white noise, city sounds, or even the hum of fans or appliances, these free tools have something for everyone. 

Sound is effective to incorporate into your sleep routine, because eventually your body will be conditioned to trigger into sleep mode when you press play each night.

 

6. No Clock No Problem

As tempting as it may be, refrain from checking the time once you get in bed. Not only will you be exposing yourself to a bright light, but often checking the time only leads to feeling defeated that you have yet to fall asleep. This causes worry and anxiety to set when you ask yourself, how come I haven’t fallen asleep yet? 

 

7. The right mattress

Tossing and turning when you get into bed? If your mattress is more than 8-10 years old, it might be time for a new one. You may not have the right firmness and materials suited for your individual body type to achieve ideal sleep architecture while sleeping. Unsure if a mattress is the issue? Read our tell-tale signs that you need a new mattress.  The right mattress provides proper spinal alignment, so that you are supported and comforted all throughout the night. If you climb into bed and find you’re not comfortable, you might want to consider swapping out your mattress. 

 

8. When to see the doc

If you are struggling to fall asleep and stay asleep for prolonged periods of time, you may want to contact your doctor. Professional medical advice is always the best solution for being directed to identifying what you are struggling with so that you can be pointed quickly and accurately towards the correct solutions.