The Art of Falling Asleep Fast

It’s hard to overstate the importance of a good night’s sleep, but sometimes we just have a hard time falling asleep. According to a 2014 study, as many as 30% of adults have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Here are some tips you can follow for falling asleep quickly.

Turn Off Those Devices

It’s official: using your smartphone or tablet right before bedtime is going to delay and reduce the quality of your sleep. Try to set a time each night at which you stop using your screens. The earlier the better, but at the very least, make it 30 minutes before you go to bed. Try reading a book, and if a printed book doesn’t grab you, e-ink readers don’t produce the same negative effects on our sleep.

The 4-7-8 Breathing Method

This method can, with practice, lead to faster and more relaxing sleep. Start by placing the tip of your tongue behind your two front teeth at the top of your mouth and hold it there while doing the following:

  1. Exhale through your lips, then close them and inhale, then exhale through your nose while counting to 4.
  2. Hold your breath for a count of 7.
  3. Exhale for a count of 8 seconds.
  4. Do this four times or until you fall asleep.

Try to Stay Awake

This might seem counterintuitive, but actively trying to stay awake can cause you to get sleepy. This “paradoxical intention” can be calming when you are stressed out about being unable to sleep. Tell yourself to stay awake in bed, or get up and go to another room and read in low light for a few minutes.

A “Secret” Military Technique for Falling Asleep

[This special technique]( 2059.a.22898932%5bsrc %5bch ) developed by the US armed forces may help you fall asleep, and it’s easy to do. It reportedly had a 96% success rate after several weeks of trials.
  1. Relax the muscles in your face, and breathe slowly, and deeply.
  2. Relax your body, starting with letting your shoulders drop, then your upper and lower arms, first on one side, then the other.
  3. Keep breathing in deeply and exhaling slowly, while relaxing your upper body and then your thighs, followed by your legs.
  4. Count to 10, and clear your mind. Some ways to do this would be to imagine yourself in a relaxing scene such as floating on a serene lake under a calm, blue sky, or repeating a phrase to yourself such as “don’t think” for 10 seconds.

After just a few more seconds you should be asleep.

Sleep can occasionally be elusive, but if you remember to turn off those devices well before bedtime, and use one of the relaxation techniques described above, you should drift off before you know it.


Photo by Bruce Mars on Unsplash