On any given night, about 10% of sleepers struggle with insomnia. Most of us will struggle with it at some point during our lives. One of the most frustrating types of insomnia is not being able to fall asleep. Below are some science-based ideas on how to overcome it.
1. Make Your Room Cooler
Body temperature seems to be a key factor when it comes to falling asleep. When people are asleep, their bodies are 1-2 degrees cooler than they are the rest of the time. People who struggle to sleep also seem to struggle to achieve this temperature drop.
Cooling your room is one of the easiest ways to cool your body. You can run your air conditioner, use a fan, or open your window to cool things off.
2. Warm Your Hands and Feet
Another way to cool your body is to warm up your hands and feet. When these extremities are warm, they are pulling blood away from your core. This allows your core to cool down. You will end up lowering your overall body temperature, which should help you sleep.
3. Take a Warm Shower Right Before Bed
You can also lower your overall body temperature by taking a warm shower right before you go to bed. Your body loses heat quickly when you step from a warm shower into the cooler air. If you do this right before you go to bed, it can help you lower your body temperature and fall asleep faster.
4. Practice Meditation
Taking up meditation can also help you fall asleep faster. You can meditate right before you fall asleep, or you can do it earlier in the day. Meditation helps because it changes the way your brain works. People who meditate learn how to control their focus. This comes in handy when you are stressed. It allows you to focus only on resting when you are in bed, rather than on all of the things that you are worrying about.
5. Go to Your Happy Place
If meditation is hard for you or does not help you fall asleep, there is another way to use your mind to help you rest. Think about a place that makes you feel happy and relaxed. Make it as real as possible in your mind. Think about the way things sound there, the smells you would smell, and what you would see when you look around. Visualizing yourself in a restful place can help you fall asleep and sleep better.
6. Try to Stay Awake
People who struggle with insomnia often fall asleep better when they try to stay awake. Insomniacs who tried to keep their eyes open actually fell asleep faster than those who tried to sleep. Researchers believe this happens because people who struggle to fall asleep often become anxious about sleeping. When they don’t expect themselves to sleep, they actually sleep better.
7. Avoid Screens
Most screens emit blue light, which can interfere with a person’s sleeping and waking rhythms. This makes it hard to sleep when it’s time to go to bed. To avoid these negative effects of blue light, try to avoid screens for at least an hour before going to bed. It is fine to read a book or talk with someone, but leave the phone across the room.
8. Listen to Slow Music
People who listened to relaxing classical music while trying to fall asleep fell asleep faster and slept better than those who listened to an audiobook or who didn’t listen to anything. Just make sure that your music doesn’t have any parts that are suddenly loud or fast, so it doesn’t interrupt your sleep instead of helping it.
9. Get Out of Bed
You should associate your bed only with sleeping. If you lie awake for a long time, your body will make that into a habit. Instead, get out of bed and do something else for 10 minutes, then come back and try to sleep again. Over time, you will train your body to sleep when you get into bed.
10. Breathe in Lavender
People who inhaled the scent of lavender several times before trying to fall asleep fell asleep faster than those who didn’t inhale anything. Keep a bottle of lavender oil with you in the half hour before bed, and breathe it in for 2 minutes, 3 times. You may find yourself sleeping like a baby!
You don’t have to use all of the techniques listed here. Choose the ones that seem like they would help you the most or that would be the easiest for you to put into practice. Make changes slowly, so you can figure out which techniques work best for you. Happy sleeping!