Can’t Sleep Easily? Learn How to Fall Asleep Better and Faster

how-to-fall-asleep

How to fall asleep is a matter of prime concern in today's stressful world. The stress and anxiety make you unable to doze off even when you are tired. If the condition persists, it becomes insomnia. 

If you can't sleep through the night take note that pharmaceuticals are not your only hope and there are better and natural ways to achieve a deep sleep.

To sleep soundly, you need to follow a few easy disciplines that we have shared in this article. The tips and techniques, in this guide, will blend seamlessly into your lifestyle.

Follow the guide meticulously, and we are highly confident that you will benefit a lot from it. Let's start learning:


Part One: 7 Lifestyle Changes To Fall Asleep Better

The principal reason you can't fall asleep is simply accumulated stress. It is a type of stress that inhibits the calmness of the brain and keep you awake throughout the night.

The Bad: The accumulated stress of day-to-day life leads to trouble falling asleep. This lack of quality sleep attracts more stress that deteriorates the quality of sleep over time.

The Good: This stress is easy to fight against, and it's simple to bring the body and sleep back on track. How? Let's find out:

01: Avoid Blue Lights Past Sunset

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Set your wake-up time as close to the sunrise time as possible. Likewise, set your sleeping time close to the time of sunset. It will drastically improve your sleep quality. Here's how:

Suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) is a small group of brain cells located behind the eyes near the hypothalamus gland. Its role is to interpret the outside lights and tell our brain what time of the day it is.

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    In an ideal condition, if the SCN detects the blue light is dominant (as in the case of sunrise), it signals the brain to produce cortisol that helps us to wake up in the morning and stay awake throughout the day.
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    On the other hand, if the SCN detects the red light is dominant (as in the case of sunset), it signals the brain to produce Melatonin—one of the key hormone that induces sleep.

How To Minimize the Impact of Blue Light

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    Use red lights at night time in your room as it has the least power to affect circadian rhythm and suppress Melatonin.
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    Avoid using your phone or other electronic screens past sunset. Still, if you have to use them, install some blue light blocking apps like Twilight and f.lux.
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    If you work a night shift, consider wearing a blue light blocking glass before you step outside.

Set a fixed span of 7-8 hours for sleeping. Ensure, you wake up and sleep at the same time everyday.
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02: Adopt A Diet That Improves Sleep

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Bedtime snacks can have profound positive or adverse effect on your sleep. You need minimum stress during bedtime, and that applies to digestive stress as well.

Don't overtax your digestive system or drain your brain near the bedtime. You might not be doing it knowingly but certain food items, if taken at night, can mess up with the digestive tract as well as the cognitive system and hinder your sleep. They are as follow:

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    Hard To Digest Food: Food like raw cauliflower, broccoli or carrot does not get digested easily at night and disrupt your sleeping cycle to a very great extent. Instead, consume banana. The organic bananas are a rich source of magnesium that induces sleep.
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    Frozen and Fermented Foods: Foods like smoked fish, cured meats or cheese snacks kindle up the brain. As a result, sleep gets disturbed. The substitute of these can be the eating of fresh foods and snacks made out of mozzarella.
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    Tyramine-Rich Foods: Foods like soy and aged cheese contain a high amount of Tyramine- an amino acid that can keep your brain highly active, thereby preventing you from sleeping well. Avoid them at bedtime.
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    Spicy Foods: To avoid exaggeration, the whole fast-food culture is a conspiracy against you falling asleep. Foods rich in processed fat, sugar, and strong spices do appeal to your taste bud but not to your body. It causes inflammation inside the body that elicits a stress response, therefore making it hard to sleep.
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    Not only this, intake of spicy foods at night may attract nightmares. Even a nice cup of ice-cream at night may induce nightmares during sleep. Don't be scared; it doesn't happen often.

You must certainly check our list of best and worst bedtime foods.
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03: Create A Noise Free Environment

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Being exposed to a noisy environment during the day can be inconsequential, but during the evening, if it persists, such environment won't allow your mind to relax, let alone sleep. As minimal as the snoring sound of your partner can be, it is enough to kill your chances of falling asleep quickly.

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    Many people turn some music on and sleep through the night. If you are one of them, cease the habit right away. In fact, avoid listening to music, podcast, etc., 1-2 hours before bed. Modern technology is killing your sleep.
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    If you can't get rid of all the noises in your surroundings, you must invest in a good white noise generator. It will neutralize all the different wavelengths of sound and send a regular noise to your brain that will induce sleep. Examples of white noise include the typical sound of your refrigerator or A.C.

Sound as low as a snore from your partner may disturb your sleep. So, take some drastic measures to stop snoring because of you and your partner.
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04: Social Habits For A Better Sleep

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Starting with a big warning, if you are a binge drinker, the alcohol is a substance that blocks your road to REM sleep. Social habits such as drinking and smoking are often overlooked while trying to optimize for a better sleep.

Many people consider alcohol as a sleeping aid. Contrary to common assumption, alcohol and nicotine are big sleep killers.

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    According to Michael J Breus (PH.D), alcohol has a stimulating effect at the beginning which is followed by a sedating impact at a latter stage. Both these biphasic phases have an adverse influence on your overall sleep quality.
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    Smoking tobacco affects the circadian rhythm of the body. It tricks the mind into misperceiving the time of the day.
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    The nicotine available in cigarettes alerts your mind instead of relaxing it. If you smoke close to bedtime, nicotine may give you a disturbed sleep pattern.

The best suggestion would be that you should quit alcohol and smoking altogether. But, to keep your social life active, you can take a couple of drinks on weekend. As far as smoking is concerned, you must quit it altogether.

Alcohol hits you badly on an empty stomach. Make sure you consume a small meal before, during, and after the alcohol intake.
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05: Bedding Habits For A Deep Sleep

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You simply can't ignore the importance of sleeping positions and optimal bedding materials when it comes to falling asleep. Afterall, they are all the basis of your sleep. Let's talk about how to optimize these factors instantly:

01) Sleeping Positions

There are almost endless combinations of sleeping styles. Out of them, the side-sleeping, back-sleeping, and stomach sleeping are the most common.

Now, the question is, which one is the best sleeping position? The short answer, none can be called the best.

No matter what position you sleep in, the core idea is to make sure your neck, spine, and legs are aligned in a straight line and there is no constant pressure on any particular body part and there is no obstruction to the airflow while breathing. Check this article for better understanding.

If you are a stomach sleeper, cease this habit immediately and learn to side sleep or back sleep and stick to one which helps you to fall asleep better and faster.

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02) Bedding Material

For the sake of optimum bedding, choose the best pillows and mattresses that are firm enough to support your posture but "pillowy" enough to cradle your body gently.

Observe your pillow for any lumps or breaks to know if they are leading you to an uncomfortable posture during the night. If so, it is the right time to buy a quality pillow.

I recommend you choose one according to your sleep-style. These articles will help you determine one:- best pillow for side sleepers; best pillow for back sleepers; best pillow for stomach sleepers.

Or, as a quick solution, choose a pillow for combination sleepers or, before making a purchase, must read our reviews of my pillow.

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06: Bedtime Relaxation & Unwinding

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To go to sleep quickly, it is essential to unwind your mind by practicing relaxation. It helps tremendously in reducing stress and sleeping better. Moreover, doing it every day becomes a signal, informing your brain that it is the time to rest. A few things that you must do are:

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    Taking note of your breath is an excellent way to control your wandering mind. Just focus on deep inhaling and exhaling of your breath. Hold the breath for 3-5 seconds before exhaling. Repeat it for 10-15 times. It will curb your racing mind down.
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    Practicing meditation and mindfulness is an excellent way to take your relaxing state to a whole new level. In addition to a deep sleep, there are numerous other cognitive benefits of practicing mindfulness. Start the amazing journey of mindfulness with the book of Eckhart Tolle.
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    In addition to this, you should do the famous 4-7-8 breathing exercise just before going to bed. It is damn simple to do it. All you need to do is 1) Inhale through your nose to a mental count of 4. 2) Hold your breath to a mental count of 7. 3) Exhale the air out, through your mouth with a woosh sound, to a mental count of 8. You can repeat this cycle for 3-4 times.
We recommend reading some good books at night. It helps your senses to calm down, and you sleep better.
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07: Bonus Tips & Ways To Fall Asleep

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    Include some light physical exercises to your daily routine. It reduces the stress & anxiety and make you feel more relaxed.
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    If you are super-tired in the evening and feeling restless, take a cold shower. It will bring a sense of relaxation throughout your body and you will sleep better.
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    Before going to bed, make a habit of writing your thoughts and next day's tasks on a paper. It will pull the stress off your mind and will control the racing thoughts.
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    If you are laying in bed but not being able to fall asleep, don't forcefully shut your eyes. It will make you frustrated and more stressed. Instead, leave the bed and take a refreshing walk. After a while, try falling asleep again.
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    If you can afford privacy, sleeping naked is an excellent way to fall and stay asleep throughout the night.

You can take a quick coffee nap but avoid sleeping for more than 25-30 minutes during day time. Otherwise, you will find it difficult to fall asleep at night.
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Part Two: 7 Advanced Tips To Troubleshoot Your Sleep (Deep Dives)

Enjoying a restful sleep is essential for your health. The aforementioned right lifestyle could bring your sleep back on track. Still, we will go even further and present other effective steps to help on your way of troubleshooting your sleep.

1. Correct Your Micro-Nutrient Deficiency

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Nutrition has a paramount impact on our sleeping routine. The most important minerals you should get include calcium, magnesium, zinc, and B-complex vitamins.

Calcium has the natural function of soothing the nervous system. Nevertheless, when you cope with chronic stress, the body’s calcium levels are diminished. That could make it difficult for you to get a restful sleep.

On a different note, magnesium deficiency is a leading cause of anxiety and nervousness, which also linked to restless sleep.

According to a study from the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, magnesium deficiency makes it harder to fall asleep. Meanwhile, B-complex vitamins play a fundamental part in regulating the sleeping cycles.

That being said, make sure you add as many fruits and vegetables in your daily diet as possible – in as many colors as you can! This way, you can ensure that your body receives everything it needs.

2. Get Help with Anxiety and Depression (If It Troubles You)

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You should also be aware that depression and anxiety represent two common grounds for poor sleep.

Psychological struggles make it almost impossible to get some shut-eye. Some of the most frequently met symptoms include: excessive worrying, tension, feeling overwhelmed, overthinking the past or the future, so on and so forth.

This study outlines the link between anxiety and poor sleep. If that is your case, you shouldn’t ignore that. While it is normal to experience anxiety now and then, it can become a problem when it interferes with your daily life.

While there are some efficient self-help techniques you could turn to, you should opt for professional help if your situation is overwhelming.

3. Use Brain Waves

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Another viable solution to sleep problems could be brain waves. They could help the brain enter into a natural sleeping state. In other words, they could slow down the brain’s activity, and bring it into a state where sleep would naturally occur.

In other words, brainwave programs are specifically created and targeted to assist individuals to get better sleep, be more productive, so on and so forth. Here are the types of waves that affect our sleep:

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    Alpha (8 Hz to 12 Hz): These appear during the “deep relaxation state,” when we are resting or daydreaming. They prepare our mind and body for proper sleep.
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    Theta (4 Hz to 8 Hz): Theta waves are present during light sleep – that in-and-out part of our naps, when we aren’t entirely sure if we are awake or not. It promotes visualization; in other words, it helps us slip into dreamland.
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    Gamma (40 Hz to 100 Hz): These waves improve our REM sleep, ensuring that we get through the cycle without being disturbed.

Brain.fm could be used in this respect. For the most part, this is smart music that puts you in the right mindset to fall asleep. In about ten minutes or so, you are likely to feel the effects and experience a feeling of relaxation.

While this option could bring actual results, one shouldn’t overlook the side effects. For starters, there isn’t enough research that backs up the long-term consequences of using brain waves. We consider that there should be more journals and scholarly articles on the topic so that one could make a fully informed decision.

Secondly, using such a device will cause a feeling of drowsiness. Additionally, physical fatigue is another side effect that shouldn’t be undermined. That is primarily because the brain is stimulated to increase the production of melatonin. Similar to physical exercise, this mental activity will make you feel tired.

Still, this is something that you should probably discuss with your doctor. Some brain waves may be right for you and help you sleep while others may do the exact opposite. An expert will be able to offer you better advice on what you should do.

4. Use A Sleep App

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Another option would be getting a sleep app. Such an app monitors your movement while you sleep.

Additionally, these types of apps analyze your sleeping patterns. While such an app won’t necessarily enhance your sleep overnight, it enables you to be aware of where you stand.

One of the most popular apps is Sleep Cycle. You should place your phone under the pillow, and, during your sleep, the app will record data. Afterward, it will utilize that information to wake you up when you are well-rested.

Apart from that, the inclusion of easy-to-read graphs that monitor your sleep is a nice addition. You can take that data and go to your doctor with it, where he or she can offer a professional opinion.

5. Never Stress About Sleep

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If you’re coping with poor sleep, you’re probably stressing each night that you won’t be able to sleep properly. In this situation, you should focus your energy on something else.

If you can’t sleep, instead of stressing, try doing something else: take a walk, read a book, listen to some music. Eventually, sleep will come to you – basically because your brain will not be that hyperactive anymore.

6. Smart Caffeine Use

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We all know that caffeine keeps us awake. Apart from coffee, caffeine can be found in a plethora of foods such as teas, sodas, chocolate, ice cream, pain relievers, weight loss pills, energy water or alcoholic energy drinks, breath fresheners, and the list may go on.

To that end, make sure you limit your coffee intake to one cup in the morning or none at all to enhance your sleeping routine. Also, you may not want to drink anything caffeinated after 2 PM, since you’ll want the stimulation effect to go away by the time you go to sleep.

7. Adjust Your Room Temperature

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Specialists agree that setting the temperature somewhere between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit should be just fine for the body. Meanwhile, experts from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommended that the bedroom should be cool, dark and quiet.

You should check your pillow and mattress as well. Keep in mind that certain pillows and mattresses may retain part of the body heat, so they could make you feel overheated and uncomfortable. Each pillow reacts differently with each body type, so you may want to experiment with temperature ranges.

If you are experiencing sleeping problems, you might want to consider changing your pillow and test out different types to see which one works best for you. Look for items that don’t retain body heat, such as cooling pillows, down pillows, or shredded memory foam pillows.

When Should You See a Doctor?

Poor sleep is troublesome to deal with – and can become a problem if it drags on for too long. Therefore, if the remedies highlighted in this post won’t work for you, it would be best to address your concerns to an expert.

Remember, poor sleep can be battled in most situations by merely implementing a range of smart lifestyle and dietary changes. Still, when you don’t obtain any long-term results, it’s high time for you to see a doctor.


Must Read: Before You Go!

Congrats! You are equipped with all the necessary information needed to gift yourself with a deep and rejuvenating sleep.

You know more than an average guy about how to fall asleep better and faster. Now, it is time you turn this knowledge into action and enhance your sleep quality.

Remember, your body needs time to become habitual to new routines. It doesn't change overnight. So, don't curse yourself if you can't sleep well after a couple of days or so.

Instead, be patient, take action, and let time take its course. Soon enough, you will discover an improvement in your sleep quality, and likewise your health. Don't forget checking the homepage for more sleep resources. Thanks.