How to Get to Sleep Faster

Four Parts:Optimizing Your Sleeping EnvironmentPreparing Your Mind And Body For SleepUsing Distraction TechniquesImplementing Long-Term Solutions

A lot of people have trouble falling asleep, tossing and turning for what feels like hours, before finally drifting off into a fitful slumber. It can be an extremely frustrating problem, as it reduces your sleeping hours and can leave you feeling tired and grumpy the next day. Luckily, there are many things you can do to relax the body and mind, and to improve your ability to fall asleep faster in both the short-term and long-term. This article will show you how.

Part 1
Optimizing Your Sleeping Environment

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    Keep your bedroom cool. Sleeping in a hot room is a recipe for twisted sheets and feverish dreams, whereas a cool, dark environment will help you to fall asleep faster and sleep better. The optimal temperature for sleeping is between 65 and 68 degrees, so turn down the thermostat and snuggle under the covers.[1]
    • Of course, it won't be easy to fall asleep if your room is frigid, so find a temperature that works for you, just try to err on the cool side. Remember that it's better to pile on the blankets in a cold room than to kick off the covers in a hot room.
    • If you suffer from hot flashes or night sweats, there are other things you can do to keep yourself cool. Consider investing in a cooling mattress pad and some moisture-wicking sheets to keep body temperature down and draw sweat from the skin.[2]
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    Turn off all lights and electronic equipment. Darkness helps your brain to process the fact that it's time for sleep, causing it to release hormones that induce sleepiness. If you have too much light in your bedroom, or stare at a screen for too long before turning in, this can delay the release of these hormones and prevent you from falling asleep. To combat this, keep your bedroom as dark as you possibly can and turn off all electronics at least an hour before bed.
    • Avoid having a light up clock in your bedroom. Knowing that it's 3 A.M. and you're still wide awake is not going to help the situation. It will simply increase your anxiety and make falling asleep even less likely.[3]
    • Avoid installing a television or games console in your bedroom and try not to bring your laptop to bed. You want your brain to identify your bedroom as a place of peace and sleep, not one of work and play.
    • Turn off your cell phone or at least put it on 'do not disturb' mode. If it's sitting on your bedside table, the temptation to check your emails, your facebook page, or even the time will keep you awake.
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    Make sure your pillows and mattress are comfortable. If you find your bed uncomfortable, it's hardly a wonder that you have trouble getting to sleep. Consider whether its time to invest in a new mattress, one that's harder or softer depending on your needs. Alternatively, you could try flipping your existing mattress over, as the underside may have less lumps and bumps. People with neck or back trouble may benefit from a memory foam pillow, which contours to each individual's body shape and provides them with the support they need.
    • If buying a new mattress seems a little extreme, consider a new set of sheets. Go for as high a thread count as possible and choose a finish based on your individual preferences. For crisp, cool sheets, go with percale. For warmth and comfort, choose flannel. For a touch of luxury, use Egyptian cotton.
    • Launder your sheets at least once a week -- people tend to sleep better on crisp, clean sheets. Also try to get into the habit of making your bed every morning. A made-up bed is much more inviting than a messy one.
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    Lightly fragrance your bedroom with essential oils. Something as simple as a whiff of essential oil can help your body relax and your mind drift off to dreamland. According to several studies, lavender is the number one fragrance for inducing a deep sleep, while also helping people to fall asleep faster.[4] Get your hands on a good quality bottle of lavender essential oil and use it in one of the following ways:
    • Sprinkle a few drops of the essential oil on a piece of cloth and slip it under your pillowcase. Dilute a few drops of the oil in some water and place it in a diffuser in your bedroom, or use the lavender water to iron your sheets. If you can swing it, get a partner to give you a relaxing massage using the lavender oil as a massage oil. Lavender bags are also useful to put under your pillow or something
    • If lavender isn't your thing, there are other relaxing and calming scents you can experiment with in your quest for sleep. Bergamot, marjoram, sandalwood and geranium aromatherapy oils are all good options.[1]
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    Make your bedroom a noise-free zone. Distracting or annoying noises can be a big obstacle to falling asleep. Do your best to keep your bedroom as quiet and peaceful as possible, by shutting your doors and windows or asking your housemates to turn down the television. For noise you can't do anything about, like your partner's snoring or the banging party upstairs, consider wearing noise-cancelling earplugs -- They may feel a tad strange or uncomfortable at first, but once you overcome that you will be blissfully unaware of any external disturbances.[3]
    • Another option is to invest in a white noise machine or app, which produces random sounds at a variety of frequencies, thus masking other noises. True white noise can be somewhat harsh sounding, so many of these machines produce what are known as "color" noises, which are softer and may sound like a rushing waterfall or a gentle hum.
    • You could also just find a cd with some relaxing music, or even sounds from nature, and leave that softly playing in the background as you sleep. Try not to sleep with earphones in though, as these can become uncomfortable or get tangled while you sleep.

Part 2
Preparing Your Mind And Body For Sleep

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    Soak in a hot bath. A leisurely soak in a hot bath is one tried and tested method for falling asleep faster. There are several reasons why this is so effective. Firstly, having a bath will reduce stress and help you to clear your mind of the worries of the day, which are responsible for keeping you awake at night. Secondly, having a hot bath raises your body temperature, which then quickly drops when you get out. This mimics the actions of the brain, which triggers body-cooling hormones when it's time for bed.[4]
    • You can enhance the sleep-inducing qualities of your bath even further by adding a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil, such as lavender or chamomile oil, to the water. And why not add some soothing music and light some candles, while you're at it?
    • If you don't have time for a bath (or don't have a bathtub) a hot shower will produce the same effect. Just try to keep the water temperature above 100 degrees F and stay in there for at least 20 minutes, for best results.[5]
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    Have a snack and a warm drink. Although eating a heavy meal right before bed isn't such a good idea, tummy rumbles are even worse for preventing sleep, so try to avoid going to bed hungry. A light snack before bed, such as a piece of fruit, some crackers or a low-fat yogurt are perfect. Drink a soothing chamomile or passionflower tea, or a glass of warm milk which contains the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.
    • Any snack that contains complex carbohydrates, such as wholegrain bread or cereals, is good because these increase your body's tryptophan levels. Tryptopin is a chemical which encourages the brain to produce more serotonin, a happy, relaxing hormone which induces sleep.[6]
    • Some great bedtime snacks to consider are any kind of nuts or seeds (especially pumpkin seeds), wholegrain bread or crackers with a little cheese, or cereal and warm milk. Avoid anything very greasy or spicy.
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    Wear comfy pajamas. As mentioned before, being comfortable in bed is essential for falling asleep quickly, so the importance of wearing comfy pajamas cannot be overstated. Avoid pajamas that are too tight, made from uncomfortable materials or have buttons that will stick into you as you sleep. Aim for something loose and soft, which won't leave you too hot or too cold in the middle of the night.
    • If pajamas feel too constricting, consider going naked. Many people enjoy the sensation of freedom and comfort that comes with sleeping nude, particularly on hot nights. Just make sure no one is likely to walk in on you, especially if you're prone to kicking off the covers!
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    Do some stretching. Doing a few simple stretches before bed can help to release tension from your muscles and relax your body for sleep. In fact, a study conducted by a Cancer Research Center in Seattle found that women who did 15 to 30 minutes of upper and lower body stretches before bed, decreased their issues with falling asleep by 30%.[3]
    • Try lying on your back on the bed or on the ground and bending your right leg as if trying to touch your knee to your chin. You should feel the stretch in your hamstring and lower back. Hold this position for 15 to 20 seconds, then repeat with the other leg.
    • Sit in a cross-legged position, place your right hand on the floor beside you and raise your left arm above your ear. Lean to the right, keeping your shoulders down and your butt cheeks on the floor. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds then repeat on the other side. This stretches your neck, back, shoulders and obliques.
    • For more stretching techniques, see the article how to stretch.
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    Read, write or play a game before bed. Reading, writing and simple game playing can help you to unwind before bed by releasing stress and distracting you from thinking about other issues.
    • If you choose to read, don't go for anything too exciting or scary, as this might get your heart racing! Choose something a little duller, like a newspaper or textbook, which will soon have your eyelids drooping.
    • Some people find writing in a journal very therapeutic, as it helps them to get any problems or issues out of their mind and on paper instead. Alternatively, you could try making lists, such as everything you ate that day, or the errands you need to run tomorrow. This can be tedious and should hopefully have you nodding off in no time.
    • Simple word or number games, such as sudoku or crossword puzzles can be a pleasant nighttime activity which can help tire out your brain before sleep.

Part 3
Using Distraction Techniques

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    Count sheep. Counting is an effective technique for falling asleep. It requires enough mental concentration to distract you from thinking about anything else, but it's also quite boring, which is good for inducing sleep. Try the time honored technique of visualizing sheep jumping over a fence, or use the psychologist recommended method of counting backwards from 300 by 3s.[5]
    • Count to 10 while taking a deep breath in and count to 10 again while taking a deep breath out.
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    Focus on relaxing your muscles. Progressive muscle relaxation is a tried and tested physical relaxation technique which reduces muscle fatigue, helping you to fall asleep faster. It's done by focusing on each individual body part in turn and consciously tensing then relaxing that body part. Start with your toes and work on each body part in turn until you reach the top of your head.[4]
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    Get out of bed. It may sound counter-intuitive, but sometimes the best thing you can do when you're having trouble falling asleep is to get out of bed and and distract yourself by doing something else. Lying in bed and freaking out about the fact that you're not sleeping is not productive. Try reading a book, watching a little TV, listening to music, or making a snack. Stay out of bed for 30 to 60 minutes, or until you start feeling tired. This technique will help your brain to associate your bed with sleeping.
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    Think of a calming image or scenario. Visualizing a calming or pleasant image can be a great way to distract yourself. Think of the ocean, a rainbow, a tropical desert island, anything that makes you feel happy and peaceful. A more elaborate version of this is to think up scenarios or imagine activities that you enjoy. Imagine yourself as a superhero or celebrity, mentally design your dream home, or think about playing with a room full of kittens or puppies.
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    Listen to ambient music or sounds. Music or recordings of peaceful sounds can be extremely effective for distracting yourself and allowing your mind to wander off to sleep. Some people like listening to the sound of rainfall, others like jungle noises, while whale songs float other people's boats. Soft classical music helps other people to fall asleep.

Part 4
Implementing Long-Term Solutions

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    Reduce your caffeine intake. If you regularly experience problems with falling asleep, it may be time to cut down on your caffeine intake.
    • Caffeine can last in your system up to five hours after it was consumed, so it's usually best to have your last cup coffee around lunch time.
    • Switch to non-caffeinated herbal teas for the rest of the evening, and try a special "sleepy-time" blend, with ingredients like chamomile or valerian, before bed.
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    Take a sleep supplement. There are several kinds of supplements available in drug and health food stores which can help boost the level sleep-producing hormones in your system.
    • Melatonin is a hormone which regulates sleep. It can be purchased inexpensively in supplement form -- usually a low dosage taken before bedtime will do the trick.
    • Chlor Trimeton, a type of antihistamine, is another supplement that causes drowsiness and can help with sleeping problems.
    • Valerian root is one of the oldest known treatments for insomnia, but nowadays you can take it in supplement form rather than drinking a tea made from boiling the root itself. It is believed to improve the quality of sleep in addition to reducing the time it takes to nod off.[7]
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    Exercise regularly. A good strenuous workout 3 to 4 times a week can help you to fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow, while also significantly improving the quality of your sleep.
    • Try aerobic exercise like running, swimming or cycling to tire your body out, in addition to a multitude of other health benefits.
    • Try to exercise early in the day, if possible, as exercising in the three hours before bedtime can leave you too pumped to sleep. [3]
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    Stick to a sleeping schedule. Setting up a well-defined sleep schedule can really help to regulate your sleeping patterns. Try to wake up and go to bed at the same time everyday, at least on weekdays.
    • Over time, this will allow your internal body clock to naturally recognize when it's time to go to sleep, helping you to fall asleep faster.
    • Don't worry if you sleep in a little on the weekends, as this can actually be good for your body and help it to heal and restore itself after the stresses of the week.[3]
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    See a doctor. If none of the above suggestions seem to be working and you fear you may be suffering from insomnia or sleep apnea, it might be time to make an appointment with a doctor or therapist. They can then assess your sleeping patterns and decide the best course of action, which can be anything from simply keeping a sleep journal to taking prescription sleep medication.[4]


  • Use the restroom before going to bed - this will prevent you from becoming restless as a result of needing to use the toilet.
  • Don't watch any horror films/videos before bed. It will give you scary thoughts and worries while trying to fall asleep. Watching happy things will get stress off your mind hence making it easier to sleep.
  • Stay positive. Thinking positive thoughts will help calm your mind and allow you to fall asleep.
  • Go to your happy place in your mind.
  • Don't eat anything right before bed. Your body will try digest the food while you are trying to sleep, which will make falling asleep a lot harder. It is recommended to eat at least 3 hours before going to bed.
  • Write down everything that is on your mind on a sheet of paper before bed so you don't stay awake worrying about things you need to do.
  • Try meditating before bed. This will help relax your mind and body.
  • Sleep with socks. Having warm feet has been known to help individuals fall asleep.
  • Try to match your breathing to your partners.
  • Blow your nose before bed. Congestion can cause heavy breathing, horrible nose blockade and sniffles.

many people say start counting backward but actually it does not work. During the time of sleep we remember many things we had to do and have to do, we must overcome this and do not think anything, our mind should be totally relaxed.

  • Keep a glass/bottle/cup of water near the area you sleep in. It's not a good idea to have a dry mouth/throat when trying to get to sleep.
  • Wear a sleeping mask when going to sleep to shut out all light, if that is the sort of thing that helps you.
  • Think of a rabbit on a grass field and listen to soft music to get relaxed not Stressed Out.
  • Don't leave the TV on, as doctors have confirmed that flashing and/or glowing screens stimulate your eyes and makes it hard to relax.
  • Put quite peaceful music on to relax your mind.
  • Try thinking deep about something and the need to get to sleep will be forgotten. You are less likely to fall asleep if you stress about it.
  • Avoid looking at your phone/gadget about 10 minutes before bed because the screen will trick your mind into thinking its light and it will stop you from going to sleep - if you really must look at your gadget then go on to settings and reduce the screen brightness to low so the light doesn't wake you up!
  • Get into a comfy position and close your eyes. Think about what you want to dream about and block out any noises. Eventually you will fall asleep.
  • Sleep in a environment that keeps you comfortable and you know you can relax in.
  • Dream about going on a relaxing vacation, think about what you would do there. This often gets your mind off things and puts you in a place that you would want to be.
  • If there is light in the room which you cannot block out, perhaps where a blindfold or soft cloth over your eyes. This isn't everyone's ideal but once you get used to it, it can be quite relaxing.
  • Have one thing that calms you in the room that you are sleeping in.

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