Eachnight may earn commissions for products you purchase through our links. Our articles and reviews include affiliate links and advertisements, including amerisleep advertising. Learn more Updated September 5, 2021We all know the frustration of struggling to fall asleep at night. Some nights it’s easier, but other nights (always when you have an important event the next day) it’s harder.Our bodies are confusing, so it can be difficult to know how to fall asleep fast and what changes to make. Don’t worry, we’re here to help. We’ve listed some easy ways to help you get to sleep faster.Making some adjustments in your sleep hygiene routine can also improve your sleep onset latency—meaning you’ll fall asleep faster. Also implementing some relaxation methods into your bedtime routine may help you get to sleep sooner than later.First and foremost, you should never get into bed if you’re not already at least a little sleepy. Sleep expert Alicia Roth, Phd, DBSM believes this is the number one most important recommendation for falling asleep faster: You shouldn’t get into bed and then “work” to put yourself to sleep. This will make falling asleep more difficult and frustrating. Practice getting into bed when you feel ready or very close to sleep.Get on a Sleep ScheduleAn inconsistent sleep schedule is hard on your body and confusing for your body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm). By sleeping and waking up at the same time, you can fix your sleep schedule and eventually make it easier for you to fall asleep quickly.With this in mind, you should avoid taking overly long naps during the day. Long naps delay sleep further into the evening, throwing off your schedule, and cause sleep inertia, a groggy state after sleeping.If you need to nap during the day, stick to 30-minute power naps at most and earlier in the day.Practice Controlled BreathingBreathing techniques are an easy way to be in control of your body, reduce stress, and relax. With all controlled breathing methods, practice makes perfect and they’ll be more effective after some time as you won’t have to concentrate as much.One breathing technique to try is Dr. Andrew Weil’s The 4-7-8 Breathing Method.Here’s how you do it:Start by placing the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth, directly behind your two front teeth. Keep your tongue in this position for the entirety of this technique.Exhale completely through your mouth and make an audible whooshing sound.Close your mouth and inhale through your nose for 4 seconds.Hold this breath for 7 seconds.Exhale, making a whooshing sound, for 8 seconds.Repeat the cycle four more times.If you feel your body start relaxing, allow yourself to drift off.By inhaling for long periods and holding your breath, you’re taking more oxygen into your bloodstream. This slows your heart rate and can potentially make you feel a bit lightheaded, contributing to its sedative effects and helping you relax.Try Progressive Muscle RelaxationProgression muscle relaxation (PMR), also called deep muscle relaxation, helps ease your body before bed. The concept of the technique is to tense your muscles briefly before relaxing them. This movement helps you spot any tension in your body and consciously ease it.Here’s how you do it:Start with your eyes closed and breathe slowly.Tense your face (lips, eyes, nose, mouth, and jaw) for 10 seconds, before breathing deeply and releasing your muscles.Next, tense your shoulders for 10 seconds before releasing.Continue tensing and relaxing the muscles down your body, from your shoulders, arms, back, stomach, buttocks, thighs, calves, all the way down to your feet.As you relax your tensed muscles, you’ll notice them feel heavy and relaxed, as they should be to help you sleep.With this method, be sure not to tense your muscles to the point where you’re straining them. If you notice any discomfort while doing so, skip that specific body part and continue.Cool DownWhen you’re asleep, your body temperature naturally decreases before heating back up in the morning. Individuals with sleep onset insomnia actually tend to stay warm at night, so this is potentially contributing to their inability to sleep.The ideal bedroom temperature to help you fall asleep quickly is between 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit. It may also be a good idea to loosen up on the layers and avoid using thick, heavy blankets, especially on warmer nights.Another option to cool down is to take a warm shower or bath before bed. It may sound counterintuitive to heat up to cool down, but when you exit the shower or bath, your body temperature drops, promoting sleep. A nice shower or bath is also a relaxing way to end your night just before sleeping.Visualize Positive ImageryMany people who struggle to sleep at night may be left awake due to overthinking. Rather than sleeping, they may be stuck away worried about upcoming work the next day, recalling everything they did that day, or remembering an embarrassing moment from when they were younger.Instead of delaying sleep with negative thoughts or anxiety, focusing on positive, peaceful images can help you drift off.In a comfortable position, imagine a relaxing place where you are at peace, such as the beach, a quiet library, or a nature trail. Similarly, you could imagine yourself completing a repetitive, but positive task, such as counting sheep. If your mind wanders, no worries, simply return to your original image as you try to relax and sleep.By forcing yourself to think about anything other than your stressors, you can calm your mind down and get some well-deserved rest.Upgrade Your BeddingSometimes, your inability to sleep may be due to your discomfort in bed. Maybe your mattress is old, too small, or too firm or too soft. The same goes for unsupportive pillows, rough sheets, and hot blankets.An uncomfortable sleeping arrangement is unpleasant for anybody. If your bedding is too warm, it can contribute to hot sleeping, only making it harder to get comfortable at night.Consider switching your mattress for a new, high-quality mattress. The right bed you’ll need depends on factors such as your body type and sleep position.Firm mattresses are great for stomach sleepers, back sleepers, and plus-sized sleepers. A tough mattress prevents sinking while offering light cushioning.If you’re looking for a bit more give, a medium mattress works well for combination sleepers and back sleepers. It’s also a good option for couples in need of a mattress that’s not too firm or soft.Softer mattresses have extra cushioning for side sleepers, who tend to experience pressure build-up in their hips and shoulders. Petite sleepers will also enjoy the extra cushioning of a soft mattress as often they’re too light to be comfortable on firmer beds.When getting a new mattress, don’t overlook other bedding. Look for soft, breathable blankets and sheets, and a supportive pillow to help you get more comfortable and fall asleep quicker.Put Away the ElectronicsKeep electronics out of your bedroom as much as possible to avoid disrupting your sleep.The blue light from smartphones, TVs, or laptops can confuse your circadian rhythm and delay sleeping. Although many of us enjoy watching TV before bed or scrolling through social media, even with the darkest “night time” settings on our electronic devices, the artificial light from our screens doesn’t simply go away.If you use your phone as an alarm clock but are too tempted to use it when it’s by your bed, place it across the room. This way, you still have your alarm, but it won’t be a temptation. Also, having an alarm far away from you forces you to get up in the mornings to turn it off, which then wakes you up.Rather than using electronics before bedtime, try reading, doing a crossword puzzle, or completing a skincare routine. All of these are relaxing and engaging, yet not overly stimulating ways to end your evening.Eat Carbs at NightThere’s nothing wrong with eating food before bed, but eating overly fatty, salty, or spicy meals late at night can cause acid reflux and heartburn when you sleep. If you’re hungry at night, opt for sleep-promoting fruits and vegetables, such as bananas or cherries.Better yet, one study found eating complex carbs four hours before bedtime shortens how long it takes for you to fall asleep. While planning your mealtimes can be a bit tedious, it may be worth it to add healthy carbs into your dinner as most people eat dinner roughly four hours, give or take, before sleeping.Don’t Look at Your ClockWaking up in the middle of the night is normal, but sometimes it can be hard to fall back asleep, ruining what was once a good night’s sleep.Those of us who wake up at night might be curious (or worried) and check the clock to see how much more time they have to sleep. However, obsessing over the amount of time you have may only stress you out and make it harder to go back to sleep.Since many of us need a clock in our bedroom to use as an alarm clock, turn the clock away from you at night or place it away from your bed so you can’t constantly check it.FAQsWhat if I still can’t fall asleep after trying these methods?If you’re in bed at night and have practiced deep breathing, PMR, and positive imagery, but still haven’t fallen asleep after 20 or 30 minutes, get out of bed. Try washing your hands and face with cool water, sitting upright in the dark, or drinking water. You can even try any pleasant activity that’s not mentally or physically stimulating. Once you’re feeling tired again, go back to bed and reattempt sleeping. Behavioral sleep expert Dr. Alicia Roth advises, “The most important strategy for going to sleep quickly is to not get into bed until you’re sleepy.”However, if you’ve implemented positive lifestyle changes and have good sleep hygiene but are still unable to sleep, it’s worth reaching out to your doctor as you may have an undiagnosed sleep disorder.What food makes you fall asleep fast?There are no foods guaranteed to help you sleep better, but some foods are linked to falling asleep faster.Walnuts and tart cherries both contain melatonin, the hormone that makes you tired. Salmon and other fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids are also linked to better sleep. Some other foods good for inducing sleep include white rice, eggs, carrots, cashews, and warm milk.Why can’t I fall asleep at night?Insomnia has many different causes, including jet lag, stress, caffeine consumption, health conditions, medications, and sleep disorders. For some, insomnia can last just one night or several days, but it can be chronic for others.Altering your sleep ritual can help you get to sleep sooner, but talking to your doctor may be the better option in case your insomnia isn’t going away.Should I stay up all night if I can’t sleep?No, any sleep is better than none as it gives your body and brain time to heal from the day’s activities.Again, try getting out of bed if you’ve been sitting awake in it for a while and return to bed when you’re feeling drowsy again. Staying in bed when you can’t sleep only causes your brain to associate your bed with being awake.Does lying in bed with my eyes closed count as sleep?While relaxing in bed with your eyes shut is nice, it’s not the equivalent of sleep and isn’t considered part of your needed 7 to 9 hours of shut-eye because your brain is still active. When you’re actually asleep, parts of your brain slow down, your body temperature drops, and your muscles relax. Dr. Roth notes, “During sleep, your body and brain are able to restore themselves in ways they cannot do when you’re awake.”Good-quality sleep gives your body and brain time to recharge and clear out waste. Poor sleep is linked to various health conditions and diseases, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and early death.ConclusionThe key to falling asleep faster is improving your sleep hygiene, habits revolving around better sleep, such as following a sleep schedule, sleeping on a comfortable bed, and following a bedtime routine to get to sleep better. In addition, practicing breathing and relaxation techniques can soothe your body and help you fall asleep fast.About the author Rosie Osmun CERTIFIED SLEEP COACH Rosie Osmun is a Certified Sleep Science Coach. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Government from Arizona State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.For more than 13 years, she has been involved in the beauty, health, sleep, and wellness industries. Her work has been featured and published in Byrdie, Lifehacker, Men’s Journal, EatingWell, and Medical Daily. 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