Some science-backed tips and techniques to help you fall asleep instantly, avoid insomnia and regain your sanity.
If you’re up wide awake at 3 o’clock in the morning while reading this post, chances are that you’re one of the millions of people worldwide who suffer from insomnia and sleep deprivation.
In the 21st century, life itself is a stressful affair. So stressful, in fact, we don’t even realize how stressed we are until it starts to affect our health severely.
Anxiety and stress can stem from a lot of things including your professional life, personal life, and social life. When we try to cram too many activities within our limited schedules that disrupt our sleeping pattern until it turns into an insidious habit.
As someone who spent years staying up late at night and waking up in the morning all groggy and red-eyed, I felt like a new person once I started using some useful and proven techniques to fall asleep faster.
Even if you don’t feel exhausted enough to sleep, most of these techniques can help you condition your mind and body to fall fast asleep in under 5 minutes, once you hit the bed and pull them off properly that is.
Based on personal experience professional opinions, and science, here are some of the best relaxation and distraction techniques you can train yourself to sleep like a baby!
How To Fall Asleep Fast, Right Now.
If you’re lying awake right now with insomnia and desperately need to know is how to fall asleep fast, then pay attention to these next several tips. After you’ve read these next six steps, close your laptop and put away your cell phone. You can come back to the sleeping tips on another day.
Hide Your Clock
Anxiety is likely the culprit of this temporary bout of insomnia. And, you know what makes insomnia caused by anxiety worse? Staring at your clock and counting down how many hours you have left until you need to get up. Don’t torture yourself, just turn your alarm clock against the wall.
Stretch & Massage Your Body
Get out of bed, sit on your floor and stretch and massage your body. Stretch your back, and your hamstrings. Roll your shoulders back and forth. Stretch your neck. Crack your knuckles and roll your wrists. Wiggle your toes. Just loosen up every single inch of your body and take your time doing it. Pro-tip, if your skin feels dry and irritating at night, massage your skin with creamy lotion.
Make Peace With Your Insomnia
I get it, you desperately want to sleep. But, what you resist persists. So, instead, change your goal to something sleep adjacent. Rather than being anxious about falling asleep fast, make your goal be to feel as relaxed as possible.
What I’m referring to is essentially paradoxical intention therapy, or flipping your intention to staying awake. Studies show that paradoxical intention therapy’s effects on sleep are highly effective.
It’s crucial to make peace with your insomnia before proceeding to the next two steps because what your reaching for is relaxation.
Block Out All Light Sources
Make sure every light source in your room is blocked out, or move to a room that is completely dark and get comfortable in there instead. Changing bedrooms every night isn’t a long-term solution, however. So, if there’s an issue with your blinds or drapes that is preventing them from blocking out street lights, flood lights, headlights, or porch lights then swap out your drapes for blackout curtains like these on Amazon.
Meditate & Relax
Close your eyes, and listen for the faintest sound in the room. Maybe it’s a ceiling fan, maybe it’s the wind outside of your window as long as it’s a sound that isn’t remotely interesting it will work for this purpose. Next, your work is to simply listen to that sound and think about your breath. Become really interested in your breath. Toy around with your pace of breathing. Let your breath be the most interesting thing to you. And, just breathe and listen until you’re in a deeply disconnected relaxed state.
Try The 4-7-8 Breathing Technique
Developed by Dr Andrew Weil, the 4-7-8 breathing technique feels a lot like focused breathing meditation. So, if you’re new to meditation or feel too anxious about your insomnia to focus enough, then consider 4-7-8 breathing. Here’s what you do:
In a laying position, place the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth, right behind your top front teeth and keep it in place throughout the sequence.
Exhale one breath while making a soft “whooshing” sound. Push the breath completely out.
Close your lips and inhale a deep breath through your nose while counting to 4 in your mind.
Hold that breath for 7 seconds.
Exhale that breath while counting to 8 in your mind.
Repeat as necessary.
How To Fall Asleep Fast, Consistently.
Take Your Allergy Medicine
A blocked nasal passage is a major culprit of poor sleeping habits. Often times it’s hard to discern what’s causing your inability to breathe at night. But, if you find that your breathing is limited the minute your head hits the pillow it’s likely allergy related.
If you’re already taking allergy medicine to clear your nasal passage before bed, you maybe haven’t found the right allergy medicine for your needs. Keep trying different formulas until you nail it.
Personally, I’m allergic to both my dog and cat and for whatever reason my allergies only flair up overnight. I took Clairitin, which did nothing. Then I switched to Flonase and that works perfectly.
Clean Your Air
There is so much gunk floating around in the air. Allergies aside, cleaner air is just altogether more relaxing and easier to breathe. Even if you don’t have allergies you can find that purifying the air in your bedroom completely changes the ambiance. Also, the gentle hum of the air purifier can serve as a meditative sound that helps you drift asleep quickly. I personally use this germ guardian air purifier which I purchased from Amazon and it changed my life. If you’re extremely sensitive to sound then run your air purifier during the day and turn it off just before you go to sleep.
Establish A Bedtime Routine
Get a feel for what you need to do to get into your most relaxed state before bed and stick to it. Your bedtime routine will probably include many of the tips in this article. Still, it will likely take you a while to discover your formula, but once you do you will really appreciate it.
Avoid Cat Naps
There is a striking commonality between cats and people who stay awake till late hours at night; both love taking naps during the day. Cats for some reason need that much sleep. However, you, my human friend, do not.
A major culprit to your inability to sleep at night, those who have insomnia or suffer from sleep deprivation often tends to take naps throughout the day to supplement their low quality sleep at night. Don’t forget about those quick naps you may be so used to when you’re trying to figure out why you can’t sleep at night.
Avoid taking naps in the daytime and you should find yourself sufficiently exhausted by night-time to fall into a deep sleep as soon as you hit the sack.
Reset Your Bio Clock
Bio clocks, or circadian clocks, are very real and they affect your sleeping patterns even if you’re unaware of them. Your circadian clock is an internal rhythm that cues your body to feel alert during the day and fatigued at night.
Most of the time our bio clock changes its rhythm based on our lifestyle choices. If your lifestyle choices keep you up till late at night, maybe it’s time to change those bad habits. You can also experience disruptions to your circadian rhythm due to jet lag or changes in work schedule.
One of the easiest ways to reset your bio clock is to treat your sleeping issues like they’re symptoms of jet lag. And, how do you treat jet lag? Well, you:
Intentionally expose yourself to bright light during your preferred awake hours.
Avoid sleeping or napping until your preferred sleeping hours.
Take a melatonin supplement close to your preferred sleeping hours.
Perform Light Exercises Before Bed
While not a very common practice, doing exercises that don’t make you sweat is a viable way to tire your body to sleep you’re too hyperactive. A few light stretching and aerobics exercises before turning off the lights can go a long way to help you fall asleep faster.
De-stress Yourself Through Meditation
I believe meditation is the best way to not only reduce stress but to also fall asleep, if you can attain deeper levels of meditation. Most novice meditation practitioners find it quite easy to relieve stress by themselves through the breathing techniques and autosuggestions incorporated in meditation.
If your mind is always running even at odd hours and your neck and shoulders feel stiff all the time, this is due to stress which makes falling asleep a difficult proposition. There are countless meditation tutorials on Youtube which can teach you proper meditation techniques.
If video tutorials don’t cut it for you, you can also sign up at for local meditation or yoga classes.
Your Diet Affects Your Sleep
Ever heard of the phrase “You are what you eat”? To put it simply, your every day diet plays a huge role in how your body functions and reacts. This also includes your sleeping pattern.
Most of us are accustomed to having high-carb meals at the end of the day as the popular notion is that this habit can help you sleep better. However, this is quite incorrect.
The truth is, a high-fat/low-carb meal at the end of the meal helps promote better sleep as demonstrated by studies. Also, a lot of us have the bad habit of eating just before we go to sleep. If you’re guilty of doing this, change your habit to having your dinner at least 2-3 hours before going to bed.
Avoid Alcohol Before Bed
Alcohol is a natural depressant which may make it seem like it helps put you to sleep, but studies show that inebriated sleep is low quality sleep. When you drink alcohol before bed your body doesn’t progress through sleep stages naturally and you likely won’t experience a R.E.M sleep. The result is that you wake up groggy and feel low-energy the next day which exacerbates your sleep issues.
Have Sex Or Masturbate Before Bed
While there’s no significant scientific evidence behind the effects that sex has on sleeping habits, there’s certainly loads of anecdotal evidence. So, give this tip some major consideration.
Sex should never be made a chore or merely an item in of your bedtime routine. So, sex is a really great option if you and your partner typically have sex before bed anyways. If regular sex before bed isn’t a consistent option then masturbate.
Aromatherapy is undoubtedly one of the oldest and most effective methods to induce relaxation and sleep in anyone regardless of age or gender. Soothing and relaxing fragrances such as Damascus rose, clove, lavender, peppermint and rosemary can easily reduce your stress levels to the point where you can relax and sleep easily. Just use scented wax candles or apply some essential oil around your room and turn off the lights. You’ll be drifting off to sleep in no time at all!
Reduce Your Caffeine Intake
A lot of high functioning and active people are caffeine dependent and rely on caffeine to function properly and deal with stress and tension throughout the day. While that small cup of coffee or that one can of Red Bull everyday might seem harmless at first, it can actually disrupt your sleeping pattern and ability to fall asleep fast. As it is a stimulant that directly interacts with your bloodstream and nervous system, it disrupts your bio-clock which can be hard to fix if you don’t give up on your caffeine habit.
Though not the most original of ideas or techniques, a lot of people still benefit from the age-old habit of writing a diary before going to sleep.
The process of writing with pen and paper provides a comfortable rhythm that relaxes you as well as let you have a proper outlet to put in your thoughts that would normally keep you awake till the middle of the night.
Journaling has so many benefits that we wrote a separate article about some of the coolest journals with prompts on the market. If working out or meditation aren’t your things, then journaling is not a bad way to relax and put yourself to sleep. You should totally add a journal to your bedtime routine to fall asleep fast.
Lower The Temperature Of Your Room
A potentially well-known fact about sleep is that there is a strong correlation between the ambient temperature and body temperature when sleeping.
When we stay wide awake doing different activities, our internal body temperature goes up, allowing us to cope with higher ambient temperatures. But, when we relax or fall asleep, your core temperature decreases and the temperature of your feet and hands increase, requiring the ambient temperature to be also a lot cooler.
If you’re having trouble sleeping then this might be a good solution for you. In general, an ambient temperature ranging between 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for inducing sleep.
Use Appropriate Seasonal Bedding
Unless you’re someone whose body temperature runs cold, a down comforter in the summer-time is not a good option and you’ll just spend the entire night tossing and turning due to the heat. Likewise, getting rid of your down comforter in the in the summer and just using a sheet can leave you too cold. You’ve got to channel your inner Goldilocks and find bed that helps you feel just right. Down comforters are great for the winter, but in the summer or if your body temperature naturally runs on the hotter side you’ll likely need to swap to a lightweight blanket to help you fall asleep fast.
Music Is An Excellent Relaxant
Music Is also a proven way to fall asleep quickly and effortlessly. If you aren’t accustomed to listening to instrumentals or slow-paced music, it might be time to get yourself a new playlist.
There are thousands of music tracks online In different genres ranging from flutes, jazz, electronica and more that can help you relax without putting any conscious effort. Just switch on to some low-fi or downtempo tracks and let the music soothe your mind and body as you take a dip in your tub.
There you go, now that you know the techniques on how to fall asleep faster, I hope the night-owl inside you will catch some sleep tonight!