If you’ve ever spent more time in bed wishing you could fall asleep instead of actually sleeping, I’ve got news for you — you’re not alone. But don’t be discouraged! I’m going to let you in on my personal tips and tricks for how to fall asleep fast (without spending a fortune).
Okay, folks, let’s start with the basics. If you aren’t sleeping on the mattress or bedding that supports your unique body and slumber style, then no amount of advice is going to bring you to your full sleep health potential. Afterall, your bed is the foundation of your bedroom, and should accommodate your specific needs.
That said, there are some guidelines that you can follow in order to find the mattress and sleep accessories that are best for you. For example, stomach sleepers typically need a firm mattress and a soft pillow, while side sleepers often need a soft mattress and a firm pillow. Meanwhile, back and combination sleepers can kind of pick and choose between soft and firm, keeping in mind that neutral spine alignment and pressure relief are most important! If you need some help getting started on you search, you can take our mattress quiz to get a few recommendations on great options.
But the truth is, every body is different and everybody has their own special sleep habits. The person with back pain might not need the same mattress or pillow as the person with neck pain. And the hot sleeper likely needs something different than the sleeper who runs cold. Lucky for you, we’ve rounded up the best mattresses and pillows for all sleeping positions:
Now, while these things do play a big part in your ability to fall asleep at night, there’s a lot more to consider. Once you’ve gotten your immediate sleep space all squared away, it’s time to pay attention to your bedroom as a whole, and your personal nighttime habits.
FAQQ: How do I fall asleep if I'm not tired? A: If you aren’t tired, don’t lie in bed waiting to be tired. Instead, get out of bed, walk around your home, or do some deep breathing exercises while standing up. By reducing time spent in bed, your drive to sleep increases, improving your ability to fall asleep fast once you do get back into bed.
Your Bedroom Environment
If you think that a good mattress is the only thing you need for a good night’s sleep, you’re mistaken. Room temperature, lighting, blue light from smart devices, outside noise (or lack thereof) all affect your ability to fall asleep. And because most of these things may already be so ingrained into your nightly routine, they’re often overlooked. But here are a few things to consider:
What Your Room Feels Like
The temperature of your bedroom affects the temperature of your body, and it’s much harder to fall asleep when you’re hot. So, whether you’ve got an air conditioner, a fan, or you simply adjust your thermostat, a temperature of 60-75 degrees fahrenheit is most conducive to falling asleep quickly.
Of course, a lot depends upon personal preference, so you may have to experiment a bit until you find the temp that’s perfect for you. I’m an example of someone who cannot fall asleep unless the room is nice and cool. Personally, I like to use a fan because it offers me a soft breeze, but it also provides a nice whirring, white noise.
What Your Room Sounds Like
Speaking of noise, if you find that nighttime silence is more deafening than relaxing, I can totally relate. I suggest you invest in a white noise machine, or download an app (many of which are free) that plays soothing music to lull you to sleep. In fact, research shows that songs with a BPM of 60-80 are particularly well-suited to catching Zzz’s.
Want to get a bedtime playlist going? Start with these:
- “I See Fire” by Sam Smith
- “All Of Me” by John Legend
- “Skinny Love” by Bon Iver
- “Fix You” by Coldplay
- Pretty much any Nocturne by Chopin (but Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2 is my favorite)
Conversely, if you need absolute silence in order to fall asleep, there’s a whole world of noise-cancelling earbuds out there made specifically for sleep time. For example, some earbuds are designed to play music or guided meditation, while others serve to mask outside noise by matching certain frequencies (hello high-tech!). Of course, if you’re on a budget, a regular set of earplugs can also do the trick.
What Your Room Looks Like
Noise machines and innovative earbuds can be very useful, but be aware of tech in the bedroom! Some of you may have already heard, but staring into the blue light of your smartphone is not going to help you get to sleep. In fact, it’s more likely to do the opposite. Getting into the habit of putting your phone out of arm’s reach, at least a half hour before you settle into bed, will help your mind and body wind down.
Similarly, binge-watching Netflix before bed or falling asleep with the TV on negatively impacts your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. There’s nothing wrong with catching your favorite nighttime show, but leave a window of time between watching TV and going to sleep. I suggest taking at least 20 minutes to enjoy some calming, tech-free bedtime activities after you finish your show.
There’s a time and place for technology but just remember — the fewer distractions you have in your bedroom, the faster you’ll get to sleep.
What Your Room Smells Like
Ah, aromatherapy — a tried and true way to get that melatonin workin’. Lavender, in particular, has proven to induce drowsiness, relax muscles and provide the body a general calm. And don’t worry, there’s no need to keep a candle burning all night. Drop some lavender oil into a diffuser, or spray your bedding with a lavender mist, and feel yourself become relaxed and ready for a deep snooze.
Of course, not everyone loves the scent of lavender, and that’s totally fine. Cedar wood, sandalwood, and other essential oils extracted from aromatic plants have proven to work just as well.
FAQQ: How do I stay asleep? A: Curate your sleep space ahead of time. Prep the perfect lighting, make your bed, and don’t drink caffeine or eat a heavy meal within 3 hours of bedtime. Additionally, getting good exercise during the day will help you sleep through the night!
Turning your bedroom into a sleepy oasis that calms the senses will help you get to sleep faster, but your individual routines matter too. So, now that we’ve talked about how our bedrooms affect our ability to fall asleep, let’s focus on our personal habits.
Healthy Nighttime Routines
If you’ve ever wondered why you start to feel sleepy at the same time every day, you might like to know that there’s a scientific reason behind it. And guess what? If you know how to manipulate it, you can use it to your advantage…
Developing a consistent, healthy nighttime routine can train your body’s internal clock, also known as circadian rhythm, to know when it’s time for bed. How does one do that, you ask? Well, if you set an alarm to wake up and go to sleep around the same time every day, your circadian rhythm will automatically adapt to that pattern (cool, right?).
Now, even though it may take a little while for your body’s clock to reset, consistency is key. Go to sleep in the 10 o’clock hour, for example, every night for two weeks or so. Before you know it, your body will tell you when it’s time to hit the hay.
Make it Personal
Once you’ve trained your circadian rhythm, it’s time to add some personal touches. After all, the special things that bring us comfort are part of what makes us unique, so find the bedtime activities that are most compatible with your interests.
For example, I often take the hour before I get into bed to read a few chapters of a book, take a bath, and drink some calming tea. By the time I’m done, my body is eager to crawl into bed and pass out on my lavender-scented pillows.
Remember to Relax
My final point might seem intuitive, but it’s just as important — relax. If you’re in bed, watching the clock, stressing over each minute that passes, wondering why you haven’t fallen asleep yet, you’re only increasing your chances for a restless night. Stress has proven time and time again to cause insomnia and keep you from falling asleep.
Fortunately, if you are feeling stressed before bed, there are a few things you can try to decompress. Certain yoga poses, meditation techniques, and deep breathing exercises are all ways to calm the body down and release melatonin (which is our sleepy hormone).
Want to practice a deep breathing exercise tonight? Try this popular method:
- Exhale deeply through your mouth, making a whoo sound as you do it
- Close your mouth, and inhale through your nose as you silently count to 4
- Hold that breath for 7 seconds
- Exhale through your mouth again, this time for 8 seconds, making a whoo sound
- Repeat at least four times
Whether you choose meditation, yoga, deep breathing, or all of the above, remember that these are not meant to be strenuous exercises. They are just some simple ways to release tension in the body, and make your whole self sleep-ready.
FAQQ: What should I think about to fall asleep? A: Well, first of all, don’t think about falling asleep! Instead, imagine yourself playing a game like darts or golf, hitting a bullseye or sinking a hole-in-one every time. Additionally, fantasizing about a vacation you once took and enjoyed can also help lull you into dreamland.
In many ways, your bedroom is your sleep sanctuary. If you keep it tidy, fill it with relaxing aromas, ambient lighting, and soothing sounds, it’s going to be much easier to fall asleep when the time comes. Of course, sleeping on the right mattress and bedding definitely helps, but your personal habits play a part too.
I do hope the tips I’ve listed here help you fall asleep quicker, but everyone’s different, so don’t get discouraged if it takes a little trial and error. Good sleep is always worth the effort. In the meantime, don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram because we’re always churning out more content with one main thing in mind — to get you some better sleep.
What things could I be doing that are making it hard to fall asleep?
There are many factors that can affect your ability to fall sleep. These can include a bad or old mattress that needs to be replaced, room temperature, lighting, blue light from smart devices, and even outside noise or lack of it.
Does keeping a room cooler help you fall asleep?
Getting to sleep is much harder when the body is hot. The temperature the bedroom is kept at can play an important role in better sleep. A temperature of 60-75 degrees fahrenheit is most effective for falling asleep quickly.
How can I use sound to fall asleep faster?
Some people really enjoy the silence while others cannot fall asleep without some sort of noise like a fan, etc. There are other options as well such as white noise machines or apps or listening to quiet mellow music. While those who need silence may want to invest in a good pair of sound-canceling earpuds.
Why can't I relax when it's time to go to sleep?
Setting up a good healthy nighttime routine is important as well as trying to go to bed and get up at the same time each day to get your body into a rhythm. Other things that can help before bedtime are breathing exercises, yoga poses, or relaxation strategies.