Lauren is a board-certified adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner. Before furthering her education and becoming an NP she worked as a registered nurse in inpatient oncology/bone marrow transplant at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and most recently as a post-anesthesia care unit registered nurse in an outpatient surgery center. Prior to becoming a registered nurse, she worked in diabetes research at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. Lauren has done NP clinical practicums focusing on the adolescent, adult, and geriatric populations in internal medicine, long-term care, and in outpatient oncology/bone marrow transplant. Lauren received a BA from Assumption University, a BSN from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and her MS in Nursing from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. She is certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).

Most of us can probably admit that we’ve struggled to fall asleep at times. You lay down at night but find yourself awake staring at the ceiling for what feels like (and sometimes is) hours on end.

A poor night’s sleep not only makes us sleepy the next day, but it can also reduce the quality of other activities. When you don’t get enough sleep, you struggle to focus on your work and might find that your mood suffers, impacting the people around you.

We’ve rounded up 10 tips from sleep experts on how to fall asleep easily at night. These tips will help get you to sleep faster, improve the quality of your sleep, and in turn, improve the quality of your days as well.

10 Ways To Help You Sleep Faster

CDC data shows that one in three American adults aren’t getting enough sleep. For some, the problem is that they’re going to bed too late. But others struggle to fall asleep at night, making a full night’s sleep difficult. Here are a few tips from experts to help you fall asleep faster at night.

1. Get on a regular sleep schedule

It is important to try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. When you have a consistent schedule, your body begins to regulate its internal clock. Once your body adjusts to your schedule, you’ll find that it’s easier to fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning.

It can be tempting to break your schedule on the weekends, allowing yourself to sleep in after a workweek of waking up early. But in the long run, you’ll have an easier time sleeping if you stay consistent throughout the week.

2. Keep your smartphone out of the bedroom

Many people keep their smartphones next to them while they sleep. Staring at their screen is the last thing they do before going to bed and the first thing they do after waking up. Unfortunately, the screens from your devices can reduce melatonin in your body. Additionally, using these devices prevents your mind from relaxing because you’re engaged with what is on your screen. If you can, it’s best to avoid screens for an hour or two before bed.

3. Reduce the temperature in your bedroom

Sleep experts have found that a cool sleep environment can lead to a more restful night of sleep. Research shows that the best room temperature for sleep is between 60 °F and 67 °F. If you’ve been having a hard time falling asleep or find that you aren’t sleeping well, turn down your thermostat a few degrees and see if that helps.

4. Exercise during the day

At least 15 minutes of exercise during the day can help you fall asleep at night. Just make sure you don’t engage in any rigorous workouts too close to bedtime, as these can increase your endorphins and give you energy, making it hard to fall asleep.

5. Avoid napping during the day

When you haven’t gotten a restful night’s sleep, you might feel like taking a midday nap will help you catch up. But really, it will just perpetuate the same cycle. When you nap during the day, you aren’t as tired when you lay down at night. As a result, you may struggle to fall asleep. If you can tough it out all day after a bad night’s sleep, you’ll find that you can quickly fall asleep at night. If you feel that you must rest in the early afternoon, only take a 20-30 minute nap

6. Use meditation techniques

Practicing relaxation and meditation techniques can help relax your body and mind and help you unwind before bed. One common technique is the 4-7-8 breathing method. Inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and then exhale for eight seconds. As you reap this cycle, you’ll feel yourself relaxing. You’ll find that it helps you to fall asleep more quickly.

7. Avoid caffeine in the evening

Ingesting anything with caffeine in the evening can make it more difficult to fall asleep and can interrupt your sleep patterns. It’s not just your morning coffee that will keep you up — tea, alcohol, nicotine, and other caffeine products act as stimulants and affect your sleep quality.

8. Don’t go to bed on an empty or full stomach

Eating at the wrong time of day can take away from your sleep quality. If you go to sleep on an empty stomach, you might find that you can only think of your growling stomach when you’re lying in bed. On the other hand, going to bed with a full stomach can reduce your sleep quality, causing you to get less deep sleep.

9. Find a way to destress before bed

Many people struggle to turn their brains off at night for long enough to fall asleep. Whether you’re worrying about something going on in your life or mentally going through the next day’s to-do list, this can make it challenging to fall asleep.

If you find that you have a lot of worrisome thoughts at night, get them out before you go to bed. For example, you could journal before bed to get out all of your thoughts. You could also write down your to-do list for the next day, so you aren’t thinking about it all night.

10. Invest in a comfortable mattress

There’s no doubt that your mattress is a huge factor when it comes to whether or not you get a good night’s rest. If you’re sleeping on a low-quality mattress or one that’s the wrong firmness level for you, you may struggle to fall asleep. By investing in a quality mattress, you can improve the quality of your sleep.

FAQ

What is the average time it takes to fall asleep?According to a doctor from the University of Utah, the average time it takes to fall asleep is about 30 minutes or less. Keep in mind that each person’s body works differently, so your average may be different.
How can you fall asleep in 5 minutes?The 10 tips we shared on this can help you fall asleep more quickly. Test out a variety of the information on our list and see which works best for you. A combination will likely work better than each one on its own.
How can I force myself to sleep?Unfortunately, you can’t force yourself to sleep without the help of medication. If you struggle with insomnia, you might seek the advice of a doctor. Insomnia is usually caused by an underlying factor, so it is important to determine the cause in order to try to correct it. Sleeping pills are an option, but they are not the only treatment available. Patients can also try cognitive behavioral therapy, but treatment depends on what is causing the insomnia.

Final Thoughts

Struggling to fall asleep at night can be a frustrating feeling. You lie awake, only to feel exhausted and unfocused the next day.

Luckily, you can make a number of easy lifestyle changes in order to fall asleep faster and improve your sleep quality. As you make your way through the list above, try incorporating just a few at a time. You might find that certain tips are more effective for you, and you can mix and match as many as work for you.

Ultimately, everyone’s body is different, and what works for some might not work for others. But the helpful tips above have been studied and recommended by experts, so chances are good you’ll find one that works for you. If your insomnia persists, it is important to talk to your doctor to determine the underlying cause and possible treatment options.