Strategies to Help you Fall Asleep and Stay Asleep
People need quality sleep. It's one of our basic biological needs. No matter who you are, it's important to get quality rest so that you are alert and functional throughout your day.
Getting quality sleep is sometimes easier said than done. People spend hours and hours lying in bed, tossing and turning, waiting for sleep to wash over them. Struggling to fall asleep at night is incredibly frustrating and stressful.
30% of people suffer from issues related to sleep and insomnia. A study conducted by the Sleep Health Foundation found that 59.4% of Australians regularly experience negative sleep symptoms, which can be related to chronic sleep issues. We all know the side effects that poor sleep has on our health and mental well-being, and we all know how important quality sleep is for our overall health.
There are numerous public health consequences related to poor sleep. Without quality rest, your ability to be alert and attentive throughout your day is significantly compromised, and can become a public health concern, especially if you’re driving when you feel drowsy.
The problem is that sometimes, despite our best efforts, it can be really hard to fall asleep at night and get a good night's rest. From my own personal experience, I have struggled with chronic sleep issues for most of my adult life, and still do.
That said, through trial and error, I have figured out effective methods that help me get ready for bed and fall asleep faster.
In this post, I'll talk about the top 5 tips to help you fall asleep and stay asleep, so you can show up for your day and be productive.
Top 5 Tips for a Better Night's Sleep
1. Relax your mind before bed.
One of the biggest factors related to poor sleep is stress. If you go to bed with lots on your mind, chances are it'll be difficult to turn off your brain despite how exhausted you may feel. It's also aggravating lying in bed and trying to fall asleep for hours on end. Sleep studies report that we spend an average of 7 years of our lives just trying to fall asleep.
When it comes to sleep, you should do your absolute best to try and de-stress your mind before getting into bed. Relaxing your mind gives your brain time to calm down and decompress, so it won’t continue racing while you try to fall asleep.
Another pro tip—buy bedding you love. It doesn’t have to be expensive to be high-quality and feel great. Recently, I’ve been really impressed with my bamboo sheets, and love how soft they feel on my skin.
It could be meditation, yoga or reading. Anything that helps to calm your mind, and quiet your inner thoughts is something you should incorporate into your bedtime routine to help you fall asleep faster.
2. Avoid screens and anything that will keep you awake.
This is common advice when it comes to suggestions for good sleep, and there's a reason it's so often mentioned.
Anything with a screen that radiates light should be avoided a few hours before you even attempt to fall asleep. That means using your smartphone device, tablets, computers, tv, smartwatch and whatever else that has a screen should not be looked at by your eyeballs at least an hour before sleep.
Screen time before sleep disrupts sleep and your ability to fall asleep. So, instead of scrolling through social media, or trying to fall asleep to whatever show you're watching on Netflix, try reading a book or do some other activity that does not require the use of screens.
Once you start to implement this step in your bedtime routine, you'll notice the impact that less screen time has on your sleep.
3. Establish a bedtime routine and stick to it
Experts say that to get consistent quality rest, you should establish a bedtime routine and firmly stick to it. Creating a bedtime routine is beneficial for a number of reasons; to start, it helps set your internal clock so that your body and brain feel tired and ready for sleep when it comes to bedtime.
While there are no strict rules when it comes to establishing your bedtime routine—it's about finding whatever works best for you—there are still proactive steps you can take to help you find a suitable bedtime routine that's effective.
Try doing things like setting an alarm on your phone that notifies you when you should start getting ready for bed, turning off all your electronic devices, and avoiding eating anything heavy a few hours before sleep.
Implementing these strategies is all part of establishing a nighttime routine that increases your chances of quality sleep.
4. Try using natural sleep remedies.
While you should do your own independent research on anything you put in your body, there are natural remedies that help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night.
Melatonin is a natural hormone that your body produces in response to darkness and naturally helps your body to relax and fall asleep. Many people take melatonin supplements before bed to get them ready for sleep and to help them relax.
5. If you can’t sleep, try distracting your mind.
When it comes to sleep, you have to listen to your body and do what works best for you. Take short naps if you feel the need (I am strongly pro-nap), and keep track of things that actually help. A final and important piece of advice is that if you really can’t sleep, don’t stay in bed and keep trying. It’s recommended to get out of bed and distract yourself, which is what will eventually help you to doze off.