Fall asleep quickly by establishing a good pre-bedtime routine
The above quick fixes are ideal to help you fall asleep quickly when in bed, but there are also a number of things you can do during your pre-bedtime routine to help you sleep fast.
- Avoiding caffeine and alcohol pre-bedtime
- Not eating a heavy meal before bedtime
- Drinking milk with honey or enjoying a sleep tea
- Avoiding blue light and electronic devices
- Taking a warm bath or taking an ice bath
- Establishing relaxing routines
- Setting the right sleep temperature and getting fresh air
- Creating a dark and quiet atmosphere
Let’s look at some of these sleep tips in more detail. 👀
Avoiding caffeine and alcohol pre-bedtime
Avoiding alcohol and caffeine before bed is important for promoting healthy sleep habits. ☕️
Both substances can interfere with sleep quality, and make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Caffeine is a stimulant that can increase alertness and interfere with the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
Consuming caffeine before bed can lead to insomnia, reducing the amount of time spent in deep sleep and leading to fatigue and irritability the next day.
Caffeine isn’t only found in coffee - you’ll also find it in chocolate, sodas, and energy drinks. 🍫
Individual responses to caffeine may vary, but most experts agree that you shouldn’t have any within 6 hours of your bedtime.
In contrast to caffeine, alcohol is a depressant that can initially make you sleepy but can lead to fragmented sleep, headaches, and night sweats.
Studies actually show that men with a daily alcohol consumption exceeding two drinks experience a 39.2% decrease in sleep quality. 🍷
Decreasing caffeine and alcohol consumption, especially in your pre-bedtime hours, can greatly affect your sleep.
Not eating a heavy meal before bedtime
Eating a heavy meal before bed can negatively affect sleep quality and make it harder to fall asleep, primarily because of three reasons:
- Digestion requires energy and can stimulate the body, making it harder to relax and enter a state of sleepiness.
- Eating a heavy meal before bed can lead to acid reflux, which can cause discomfort and interfere with sleep quality.
- It can also cause blood sugar fluctuations, affecting sleep quality. When blood sugar levels are high, the body produces more insulin, which can lead to a drop in blood sugar levels later on, causing wakefulness and restlessness.
Sticking to lighter, more easily digestible foods before bedtime is best. 🥗
Also, eating at least two hours before bed can help promote digestion and allow the body to relax before sleep.
Drinking milk with honey or enjoying a sleep tea
Drinking milk with honey or using a sleep tea can be a helpful way to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality.
Milk contains tryptophan, an amino acid that helps the body produce serotonin and melatonin, hormones that promote relaxation and sleepiness.
Honey can also help to promote relaxation and reduce stress, making it easier to fall asleep. 🍯
Similarly, sleeping teas such as chamomile or valerian root tea contain natural compounds that can be helpful for promoting relaxation and reducing stress and anxiety.
Avoiding blue light and electronic devices
Blue light emitted by electronic devices such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets has been shown to interfere with sleep.
This is because blue light suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles, and disrupts circadian rhythms.
In turn, this makes it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep, which can lead to fatigue, mood swings, and other health problems.
For those who need to use electronic devices before bed, blue light glasses or filters, which can be installed on most devices, can be effective.
These glasses and filters reduce the amount of blue light that enters the eyes and suppress the effects thereof on the body. 💙
But, avoiding electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime is still recommended to allow the body to prepare for sleep.
This is because, in addition to the effects of blue light, electronic devices can lead to cognitive stimulation and stress, which can make it harder to fall asleep.
Scrolling social media, emails, and news alerts can be particularly stimulating and can cause the brain to remain active.
This makes it more difficult to switch off and relax, leading to sleep disturbances and affecting overall sleep quality.
Taking a warm bath or taking an ice bath
This may seem like an oxymoron, but both a warm shower/bath and an ice bath can help promote sleep.
Warm water increases blood flow, reduces muscle tension, and promotes relaxation, which can help to reduce stress and anxiety and prepare the body for sleep.
Additionally, warm water can also help to raise body temperature, leading to a natural cooling process when you get out of the bath. 🌡️
This drop in temperature can help promote drowsiness, making it easier to fall asleep.
Ice baths may seem counterintuitive for promoting sleep, but they’re believed to promote the release of endorphins, reduce pain and inflammation, and promote circulation, all of which can reduce muscle tension and promote relaxation. 🧊
Furthermore, while the body is exposed to cold temperatures, blood vessels constrict, which reduces blood flow and lowers the core body temperature.
This can promote drowsiness and reduce wakefulness.
Establishing relaxing routines
You can incorporate several wellness activities into your pre-bedtime routine to promote relaxation and help you fall asleep more quickly.
Some examples include:
- Yoga or stretching: Gentle yoga or stretching, including only a few simple poses like Child’s Pose, can reduce muscle tension and promote relaxation.
- Meditation or deep breathing: These mindfulness techniques can help calm the mind and improve sleep quality.
- Reading or journalling: Reading fiction or writing in a journal can be helpful to unwind before bed.
- Listening to music: Calming music can help slow down the heart rate, reduce blood pressure, and promote relaxation.
Relaxing pre-bedtime routines help you decompress after a long day, but they also signal to the body that it’s time to prepare for sleep.
You can also rely on some aromatherapy to provide more of a sleep ambience.
Lavender-based pillow sprays or candles with calming essential oils, like the Aeyla Sleep Candle, can be particularly helpful.
This inclusive approach to relaxation can help you fall asleep more quickly.
Setting the right sleep temperature and getting fresh air
Choosing the right temperature for sleep is crucial for falling asleep quickly and staying asleep throughout the night.
The ideal temperature for sleep varies from person to person, but most find a temperature between 15℃ - 20℃ to be most comfortable.
The body naturally cools down during sleep, so sleeping in a cooler room can help promote sleepiness.
Conversely, sleeping in a room that's too warm can interfere with the body’s natural cooling process, making it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.
In addition to the temperature of the room, fresh air can also be important for promoting sleep. 💨
Fresh air helps circulate oxygen throughout the room, reducing the build-up of carbon dioxide.
Fresh air can also help regulate temperature and humidity levels for a more comfortable sleeping environment.
Creating a dark and quiet atmosphere
Finally, creating a dark and quiet atmosphere is essential for falling asleep quickly and staying asleep throughout the night.
Light and noise can interfere with the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle and make it harder to fall asleep.
Melatonin is most effectively produced in a dark environment making darkness an important sleep requirement.
In contrast, noise can stimulate the body, making it harder to relax and enter a state of sleepiness. 🎧
White noise or relaxing music, though, can help promote sleep.
For those sensitive to light and noise, sleep eye masks and ear plugs can be useful tools. 💤
Sleep masks or blackout curtains block out light, creating a dark sleeping environment, while ear plugs can reduce external noise, promoting a quiet sleeping environment.
Our favourite sleep masks:
Possible reasons you can’t fall asleep fast
Now that we've looked at all the top tips for falling asleep fast, you may be wondering why you're even struggling to fall asleep in the first place.
There are actually a multitude of factors that could be contributing to sleeplessness, including biological, psychological, and learned causes.
Physical reasons you’re not falling asleep
While we may have an inherent sleep switch, this isn’t quite as simple as flicking a light switch on or off.
Different parts of the body, including the brain, autonomic nervous system, and skeletal muscles, play essential roles in sleep-inducing processes.
Sometimes, physical factors interfere. 🏃♂️
Psychological reasons you’re not falling asleep
Stress, anxiety, and mental health issues are the most common reasons for insomnia.
You won’t be able to relax and drift off to sleep if your mind spins endless scenarios, keeping you up and worried all night.
But it’s also a vicious cycle.
Stress and trauma may prevent you from falling asleep or sleeping well, but not sleeping also worsens mental health issues.
While we’ve listed some basic anti-stress methods above, it’s often tough to get out of this cycle on your own. 🧘♂️
If you’re struggling with stress, anxiety, or depression, it’s best to get professional help and work with a trustworthy physician or psychotherapist.
The NHS has many resources to help British residents deal with common anxiety and mental health issues, and you may qualify for free counselling.
Learned reasons you’re not falling asleep
We can be our own worst enemies, and often our bad habits are the leading reason for sleep troubles.
Unhealthy bedtime routines, disruptive behaviours, or even sub-standard mattresses and sleep accessories can all have a negative effect on our ability to fall asleep quickly and get a good night’s sleep.
Luckily, these are also often the easiest to take control of - even if it may not seem like it. 😅
We've listed some basic measures to help you with these above, but you may have to turn to a CBT-i therapist or sleep coach if you're not finding the right way forward on your own.
Can you really fall asleep more quickly?
It’s hard to think about when you’re stuck in the vicious cycle of insomnia, but there really are a few tips and tricks to help you fall asleep more quickly.
You can try quick-fix exercises, establish a good pre-bedtime routine, and work on improving your long-term sleep habits to help you fall asleep fast in the long run.
If you’ve made the necessary lifestyle changes but are still struggling to sleep, some medical ailments or sleep disorders - like sleep apnoea - may be at play. 🥼
Your healthcare practitioner can work with you to help diagnose any underlying conditions.