Everyone has those nights when sleep seems elusive. Whether it's anxiety, an unfamiliar environment, or simply overthinking, drifting into dreamland can sometimes be a challenge. The good news is, there are scientifically backed methods that can help you fall asleep faster. Here are five effective techniques to incorporate into your bedtime routine.
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. Always consult a doctor before making any medical-based decisions.
The Military Method
Developed for soldiers who often face unpredictable sleeping conditions, this method is designed to induce sleep within two minutes.
- Relax your face, including your eyelids, jaw, lips, and brow.
- Drop your shoulders and let your arms rest at your sides.
- Take deep breaths to relax your chest.
- Relax your lower body, from hips to feet.
- Visualize a tranquil scene like a serene countryside or a quiet lake. If distracting thoughts intrude, repeat to yourself, “don’t think.”
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
This technique utilizes both breathing and muscle relaxation to reduce bodily tension.
- Lie down and close your eyes. Take slow, deep breaths.
- Tense your face muscles for 10 seconds, then release and breathe deeply.
- Follow the same pattern for each muscle group, from shoulders to feet. Skip any areas causing pain.
Let your imagination take you to a place of calm.
- Close your eyes and take slow breaths.
- Recall or create a peaceful setting, immersing yourself in its sensory details: sights, sounds, smells.
- Consider using online guided imagery soundtracks to direct your thoughts.
Focus on the present, and release judgment to induce a state of relaxation.
- Sit or lie comfortably and focus on your breathing or a specific sound.
- Allow distractions to come and go without judgment, always returning to your focal point.
- As you become more practiced, reaching a relaxed state will become quicker, aiding faster sleep.
Lower the Room Temperature
Your body's thermoregulation plays a role in sleep quality.
- As you prepare for sleep, your body starts to cool down, signaling it's time to sleep.
- Keeping your room between 60–67°F (15.6–19.4°C) may facilitate this process.
- Additionally, consider a warm bath 1-2 hours before bed. Bathing in warm water for even 10 minutes can help you fall asleep faster due to enhanced thermoregulation.
Using the right mattress, bedding, and pillow is extremely important to helping you fall asleep quickly.
The journey to dreamland doesn't have to be a long one. Incorporate these strategies into your nightly routine and discover which ones resonate best with you. Always remember, the goal is to create an environment and mindset that supports restful sleep.