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You’re exhausted. You’ve had an insanely busy day at work, got stuck in traffic on the way home, rushed to get a halfway edible dinner on the table and squeezed in some speed-cleaning for good measure. You’d think you’d konk out as soon as your head hit the pillow, but here you are, tossing and turning and thinking about everything you’ll have to do tomorrow.
Life can indeed be stressful at times, but you can manage it better with a good night’s sleep. Getting enough quality shuteye will make tackling all your to-dos much easier and put you in a positive state of mind. Here’s how to fall asleep fast and wake up refreshed, reinvigorated and raring to go.
If you’re a mom, you understand the value of setting a consistent bedtime routine for your kids. It might be something along the lines of a warm bath, teeth brushing, and story and snuggle time. When the lights go out, so do they.
The same thing applies to you. Having a regular sleep schedule puts your body and mind in the mood for sleep. Aim for a consistent bedtime and wake time that ensures seven to nine hours of rest, and stick with it, even on weekends. You may need to make gradual 15-30-minute adjustments over a few days to find the right time for you.
Then, follow the same steps every night. You may want to take a soothing bath or shower, do a facial cleansing routine and read a few pages of a book. Doing the same things consistently quiets your mind and primes your body for slumber. The next step in the process, ideally, is to drift off to sleep.
Sleep may be harder to come by if you’re not comfortable. Is the room too hot or too cold? Are outside noises keeping you awake? Are street lights making things too bright? Learn how to fall asleep fast by addressing these issues and creating the ideal environment for shuteye.
The ideal temperature for sleep is 60°-67° F — not too hot, not too cold, but just right. Goldilocks would be proud. You don’t want to sweat and throw off the covers, and you don’t want to shiver and get up to find more blankets. The idea is to be comfortable so you don’t need to get out of bed for anything.
You can address noise issues by playing quiet, soothing music that will shut off automatically after a set time or using a white noise machine. There are also sleep apps you can download to your phone. Put blackout shades and curtains on your windows to keep your bedroom dark. The ideal atmosphere to strive for is that of a cave — set yourself up to hibernate until morning.
Perhaps your racing thoughts are preventing you from falling asleep. Ruminating on work tasks or an argument with a friend does not do your body or soul any good. Try meditating instead. It can help you clear your mind and soothe you to sleep.
Lay back on your pillow and fully relax. Then, find your focus. It could be your breathing, an idea or picture in your mind, or a mantra. It could even be the sound of the whistling wind or the scent of your room freshener. The idea is to eliminate intrusive thoughts and hone in on one thing for your mind to quietly observe. This will tame those galloping thoughts and soothe your psyche, priming you for sleep.
Meditation takes practice and time, so keep at it. It may take several weeks before you see results, but they are well worth the effort.
Another option is to fully soothe your senses with progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery. Learn how to fall asleep faster by employing these practices to quiet your nerves, literally and figuratively.
Progressive muscle relaxation involves tightening various muscle groups and then fully releasing the tension. You can start with your legs and work your way up the body. Inhale and contract one muscle group for five to 10 seconds and then exhale and release. This will eliminate stress and tightness.
Quiet your mind with guided imagery. Focus on a peaceful scene in your mind, such as a flower-filled meadow, babbling brook or waves crashing on a beach. Try to make the details come to life, as if you were actually there. Savor the feeling of calm and peace and let yourself relax into sleep.
There are other options if nothing else seems to be working. Certain supplements and drinks can relax your body and put you in a better frame of mind for sleep.
Try sipping a cup of tea. This warm, soothing beverage can help you relax before bed and help you drift off easier. There’s a variety to choose from, including magnolia, chamomile, lavender and valerian. Making this part of your bedtime routine will signal your body it’s time for slumber. You can even try a throwback to your childhood and try a mug or warm milk instead.
You can also promote sleep by taking supplements such as melatonin, kava, glycine and magnesium. Try various methods to see what works best for you. Just remember that certain kinds should only be used for so long. For example, melatonin should only be used for one or two months, at which point you should discontinue and see if your sleep has improved. Research to see what might be the right method for you, and talk to your doctor if you need further guidance.
Getting a good night’s sleep is vital for your health and emotional well-being. Learning how to fall asleep fast will ensure you get the right amount of shuteye, help you feel great in the morning and prepare you to tackle your day. Use these tips to make the most of your slumber so when the lights go out, you do, too.