Falling asleep sounds so easy, and yet for many seeking to learn how to fall asleep faster, it can become a real challenge and is often the pathway to insomnia.
One of the most important things to realize when searching for the answer of ‘how to fall asleep’, is understanding that sleep is a basic biologic need. Sleep is something that is needed by the body and mind for normal function.
Falling asleep is a normal and necessary part of the the normal sleep/wake cycle. During wake hours, the pressure to fall asleep continues to build until sleep time. This pressure to fall asleep, also called ‘sleep debt‘, is decreased or ‘paid off’ while sleeping. When the sleep debt, or sleep pressure, is not reduced sleep deprivation occurs.1
Although there is much that we know about sleep, there are many more mysteries that exist about sleep.
Things that make it difficult to fall asleep:
- Caffeine including coffee, dark tea, soda
- Nicotine – cigarettes and chewing tobacco
- A more complex sleep disorder 2
Every person has a specific amount of sleep that they need. For most, it is eight hours. Some need more, and some need less. If you feel sleepy during the daytime, you probably are not getting enough quantity or quality of sleep.
With so many individuals searching for the secret of how to fall asleep, we felt it beneficial to review a few key recommendations for helping people to fall asleep more easily.
Recommendations for How to Fall Asleep Faster:
- Have a ritual – go to bed at the same time. Wake up at the same time.
- Calm yourself before bedtime – Many enjoy yoga, a hot shower or bath, or listening to soothing music. 3 Do something that relaxes you as part of your nightly ritual.
- Avoid things that will keep you awake – this includes avoiding alcohol and caffeine before bedtime. Don’t do exercise right before bedtime.
- Don’t watch TV or read in bed – you only want to associate your bed and bedroom with sleep
- While in bed, if you find yourself awake for more than 10 minutes, get out of bed and sit a chair until you are sleepy.
- Don’t stress out about not falling asleep. If you have a bad night, or find yourself awake for longer than expected, don’t be upset yourself.
- Realize that daytime naps with subtract some of the sleep pressure that you will have at night. Use them with caution if having difficulty sleeping at nighttime.
If you have difficulty falling asleep for more than a few days, you may have insomnia. There are several causes of insomnia. There are several treatment options for insomnia. Most treatment plans involve cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-i), and following sleep hygiene recommendations. Over-the-counter supplements, like melatonin, are sometimes used for the treatment of insomnia.
For more information and recommendations on tip to fall asleep, check out Sleep Hygiene Tips.
How to fall asleep when not tired:
- Have a relaxing ritual like yoga or a warm shower
- Have a bedroom that is conducive to sleep that is free from distractions
- Follow good sleep hygiene
Realize that falling asleep is a natural, biologic process. You do not need a special substance or ‘trick’ to fall asleep. The need to sleep is ingrained in your DNA. Every person has a specific special amount of sleep that they require. You cannot force yourself to sleep if you have already slept enough. Similarly, you cannot sleep less than what your body requires. Trying to sleep more than what you need can actually lead to insomnia.
Need more help? Learn about these calming rituals to help you fall asleep faster