There are some people who seem to fall asleep instantly, and others who can toss and turn for ages before finally taking a trip to the land of nod. Outside of making you cranky and sapping your energy, not sleeping enough can be dangerous for your health. It leads to things like depression, diabetes, and weight gain, among others. Here are top 5 tips to fall asleep faster so you can get the rest you need.
• White Noise Machines
White noise machines are fantastic for sleeping better. Similar to how white light is a combination of every frequency of light, white noise is a combination of every frequency of noise. White noise is soothing to the ears and provides something for the brain to focus on that, unlike music, won’t distract it and keep it active. White noise can also cover up other sounds that are preventing you from sleeping. If you don’t want to purchase a white noise machine, there are tons of apps and even videos on YouTube to enjoy.
• Take a Shower at Night
Most of us start our day with a shower, but we should really consider changing that to ending our days with a shower. There is evidence to suggest that having a shower when the day is done can help you sleep better at night. The key is in the timing. Showering straight before bed isn’t smart because the hot water can raise your body temperature, and the body likes to be cool for sleeping. Giving yourself the chance to cool down before sleeping is best. Take a shower at night and see what it can do for your sleep schedule.
• Have Some Milk
There’s no doubting the power of milk, especially a nice glass of milk at the end of a long day. Milk contains the protein alpha-lactalbumin, which is rich in the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan, in turn, creates melatonin; the hormone responsible for sleeping. Studies have shown that diets rich in tryptophan – such as from eggs and pumpkin seeds – help you sleep better at night. The calcium in milk makes it easier for your brain to process and use tryptophan too.
• Turn off your Sleep Tracker
Around 10% of people use some kind of fitness or sleep tracker regularly. These trackers can help them to understand what happens when they sleep. That sounds like it would be good for helping you to sleep at night, but the evidence suggests otherwise. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine showed that people who tracked their sleep put themselves under pressure to get enough sleep. As such, they had higher levels of self-induced anxiety and insomnia. It doesn’t take a genius to understand that anxiety makes it difficult to fall asleep. So, by wanting to sleep better at night, they actually made it harder for them to do so. Researchers have dubbed the phenomenon “orthosomnia”; being so preoccupied or concerned about improving sleeping data. Take off your wearables and stop worrying so much about sleeping.
• Practice Guided Meditation
Is your inability to sleep at night stressing you out? Meditating has been shown to help reduce cortisol levels. Cortisol is the stress hormone, so getting rid of it like this helps you to feel more relaxed and less anxious, thereby making it easier to get to sleep. A study published in JAMA in 2015 found that meditation helped improve the quality of sleep for older adults by reducing mood disturbances, worrying, and rumination. Give a meditation app or video a try to see what meditation can do for you. YouTube is packed full of guided meditation videos, as well as apps that are dedicated to meditation for sleep in particular.
Better Sleep for a Better Life
Getting enough sleep is connected to just about everything that makes you happy and healthy. It makes you look and feel so much better and it’s one of the most important things you can do. While sleeping at night can be tricky for some people, there’s plenty of help out there to make it easier. Get a white noise machine, have a glass of warm milk and a shower before bed, and let your mind wander gently to Dreamland.