You’re probably already aware of the connection between sleep and overall well-being. Getting enough rest is a challenge many people face, whether due to work schedules, stress, or lifestyle factors like having a baby or living near noisy neighbors.
Some people face another sleep-related challenge: falling asleep quickly. Unfortunately, there’s no single trick for how to sleep fast in five minutes or less that works for everyone. This is because the amount of time needed to fall asleep is highly individualized. According to the Mayo Clinic, it takes most of us between five and twenty minutes to fall asleep. However, if the amount of time you need falls on either side of that range, it’s not necessarily a cause for worry. Everyone’s timeline for drifting off is different.
While we can’t help you resolve issues with noisy neighbors or fussy babies, we can suggest these seven tips for falling asleep faster.
1. Limit eating, drinking, and smoking before bedtime
A late-night cocktail, cup of cocoa, or other indulgence might seem like a good way to unwind before bed. However, if you’re struggling to fall asleep, it might be time to retool your routines. According to the American Sleep Association, caffeine (including coffee, black tea, and chocolate), nicotine, and alcohol can make it harder to fall asleep. Create a new habit by switching to water, chamomile tea, or something unrelated to eating or drinking to ease into bedtime.
2. To fall asleep quickly, embrace the darkness
Research shared by the Cleveland Clinic found that exposure to light via too-bright streetlights in densely populated areas interferes with sleep. Fortunately, there are some easy fixes to darken your sleeping area. These include using window shades and curtains that block out exterior light, wearing a sleep mask, and turning off the TV and other screens well before bedtime. This helps signal to your brain that it’s time for sleep.
3. Learn how and when to take a nap
If properly planned, napping can help you feel rejuvenated after a poor night’s rest. Nap too long or too late in the day, however, and a nap can make it harder to fall asleep at night. According to the Mayo Clinic, the trick to napping is to limit the duration of naps to 10-20 minutes and nap earlier in the day — before 3 p.m., or several hours before your usual bedtime.
4. Establish a consistent bedtime routine and sleep schedule
Most people need at least seven hours of sleep per night. According to the Mayo Clinic, sticking to a consistent bedtime and waking time is essential to reinforce your body’s sleep-wake cycle. If you like to sleep in on weekends or other days off, try not to vary your routine by more than an hour to keep your sleep-wake cycle consistent.
5. Create a comfortable bedroom environment to help you fall asleep faster
Setting your bedroom up to be a relaxing and calm environment matters more than you might think. As with the tip to limit light exposure, above, making sure your sleeping area is calming and comfortable will help you fall asleep faster.
Setting the stage for great sleep can include comfortable sheets, blankets, and sleepwear — not to mention your bed itself. If you’ve been struggling to nod off quickly, you might need a new mattress. Adding a latex mattress topper might improve a mattress that’s good-but-not-great, too. Here are some tips from Naturally Nestled for deciding on the best firmness level and which level of thickness to choose in a latex mattress topper.
6. Adjust the temperature in your bedroom to encourage sleep
The National Sleep Foundation states that the optimal ambient temperature for sleeping is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping temps lower helps in part because your body temperature naturally decreases as you start to fall asleep. Having a bedroom temperature that’s on the cooler side helps facilitate that transition.
7. Use guided meditations to calm your mind before bedtime
If you’ve been curious to try meditation and are struggling to fall asleep, here’s an excellent excuse to explore how mindfulness techniques can help you drift off quickly. A variety of meditation apps offer guided meditations to help you doze off with ease. Guided sleep meditation sessions can teach you specific breathing and muscle relaxation techniques that help your body prepare to snooze. White noise devices and smartphone apps can also prime your mind to fall asleep faster.
Follow these seven tips to improve your sleep hygiene
Each of these seven tips for how to sleep fast is a good sleep practice in general; together these practices are known as “sleep hygiene.” If you find yourself consistently having trouble either falling asleep or staying asleep, see your medical practitioner for advice to rule out any sleep disorders or other health-related issues.