And 6 weird ways to fall asleep that might be worth a try too!
Some people claim they’re asleep before their head hits the pillow while others punch and shift their pillows for an hour before sleep claims them for the night. If falling asleep is a nightly struggle for you, there are dozens of ways you can trick yourself into claiming your spot on the sleep train. Quickly and painlessly.
6 scientific ways to fall asleep without a prescription
- Block out the light – Not only is it easier to fall asleep in the dark, there’s a good chance you’ll stay asleep longer too. Think of yourself as a human solar energy panel. When you’re exposed to light, sunlight or artificial light, it boosts alertness and reaction times, elevates your mood and keeps you awake. When the light goes away, melatonin levels naturally rise, energy subsides and sleep begins to commence.
- Curtail the arguing with your partner – Being tired can lead to arguments with your partner, which could lead to more sleepless nights (for both of you). On the other hand, sex can be a healthy way to unwind and de-stress at the end of a long day (for both of you). See the potential for a vicious cycle – or a positive one? If anxiety and stress with your partner is interfering with a good night’s sleep, talk it out. Just not right before bed.
- Check your thyroid – When your thyroid gets out of sync, hormones that regulate your moods and energy levels suffer. If you’re overly energetic – or overly tired – it’s time to consult your doctor for a blood test. Falling asleep faster may simply require a chemical rebalancing.
- Tweak your sleep space – When you get ready to go to the gym, you grab your must-have’s for a successful workout: running shoes, playlist and maybe some protein. Falling asleep is the same: you need a comfortable mattress, bedding and pillows. Read through this list of designers who know how to design a bedroom optimized for sleep.
- Review your diet – Sleep and food are lifetime bed partners and adjusting your diet (and alcohol consumption) can dramatically affect how easily you fall asleep. And stay asleep. And just so you’re not surprised, a diet high in saturated fats and carbs can lead to disrupted sleep, while a diet based in leafy greens and whole grains tends to lead to better quality sleep.
- Turn off social media – We’ve been hearing for a long time how harmful electronics are to sleep but it’s not just looking at the screen that’s dangerous. What you’re looking at can be equally disruptive. Study after study shows a strong argument for ditching your virtual friends before you get into bed at night.
6 slightly odd suggestions for falling asleep
If you’re open to different ways to trick your body into falling asleep, this list should satisfy. While these tips come with (quasi) documented claims, we’d love to hear if they work for YOU!
- Inhale through your left nostril – Lie on your left side, rest your finger on your right nostril and breathe deeply. Try not to worry what happens if you get lefties and righties mixed up. Try not to giggle.
- Squeeze your toes – Lie on your back, curl your toes downward and breathe through your nose at the same time. Tapping your heels together, optional.
- Try to stay awake – Apparently our brains are like toddlers and respond to empty challenges. Please don’t call us at 4 am if your brain is more evolved…
- Rewind your day – We have to be honest. We think this is a guaranteed recipe for staying awake, not falling asleep.
- Channel your inner teenager – Rolling your eyes can help trigger the release of melatonin, which explains why teenagers sleep better than anyone else on the planet.
- Hum softly – Sing yourself a little song about how much you love to sleep. You might fall asleep but your partner will either think you’re crazy or curse you for waking them up. But you’ll be asleep so who cares?