10 Most Effective, Easiest Ways to Fall Asleep Fast (Plus a Bonus Tip)by | Last Updated
When counting sheep does not work for you anymore, irritation or despair is inevitable.
And that’s totally natural.
Sometimes, falling asleep can take forever (or at least it may feel like it). And at this point, we are ready to try pretty much anything to help ourselves.
For nights like that, I’ve found 10 awesome ways to fall asleep fast. Each of them worked great for me (and for anyone I have shared with). So, do you want to join our club – the club of people who fall asleep fast without fail? Then keep on reading!
- Quick Links
- Why Are We Stressing So Much About Sleep?
- What to Do to Fall Asleep Fast: 10 Best Methods
Why Are We Stressing So Much About Sleep?
The short answer is:
Because sleep is important.
I mean, we all know what it feels like to wake up after not getting enough hours of rest. We turn into zombies and cannot function properly. And, what is more important, we don’t feel happy.
“While some people fall asleep the second their head touches the pillow, others often toss and turn for hours. And the consequences can be dire. Poor sleep quality can affect one’s memory, stress levels, mood, emotions, and health.”
That’s not it. The lack of sleep has other consequences too:
- difficulty memorizing stuff and focusing;
- mood swings;
- drowsiness and tiredness during the day;
- inability to concentrate on your tasks;
- increased risk of heart disease;
- potential weight gain;
- lack of sex drive;
- morning headaches;
- anxiety (and even depression, if your sleep issues are chronic);
- weaker immune system.
The list can go on, but you get the picture. That’s why it is so important to be able to easily fall asleep every night.
What to Do to Fall Asleep Fast: 10 Best Methods
I know, tossing and turning without being able to fall asleep my feel like a torture sometimes. And god forbid that you start counting how much time you have left before your alarm goes off! It will drive you crazy, trust me.
Look, instead of wasting the time and tormenting yourself, try the methods and techniques below. Each of them is effective, super easy to follow, and has the potential to help you fall asleep easier and faster.
#1 The 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise
This easy way to go to sleep is effective for a number of reasons. First, it can help you get distracted from the intrusive or stressful thoughts that might be messing up your sleep. Second, this technique will help you relax and calm down.
It includes specific but simple steps:
- Touch the roof of your mouth with your tongue. Keep it in that area (right behind the upper front teeth) throughout the practice.
- Part your lips a bit and exhale completely through the mouth making a strong whooshing sound.
- Close your lips and inhale through the nose while counting to 4.
- Hold your breath while counting to 7.
- Once you’ve counted to 7, exhale through the mouth (again, with that strong whooshing sound) while counting to 8.
- Repeat this routine a few more times (at least three is recommended).
Now, you might feel a bit silly when doing that, but this is a very effective technique. By controlling your breathing, you will reduce stress levels and allow your body to relax. Additionally, while being busy counting, you will forget about those distracting thoughts that tend to keep you awake. Trust me: a couple of breathing cycles like this, and you will fall asleep quickly and effortlessly.
#2 The White Noise Method
This particular way to fall asleep fast is my personal favorite. It helps immensely, especially if it’s your thoughts what prevents you from falling asleep.
Now, here’s the best part:
You can use any sound you want to be your white noise. Do you enjoy the beach waves? Or maybe the rain? Or the sound of a crackling fire? Whatever it is, there are tons of free apps offering all of these sounds and even more.
You can invest in a white noise machine. But if the app sounds work well for you, I don’t really see the point.
Some apps allow users to mix different sounds to create a special ambiance to their liking. There are also plane, train, and car sounds that imitate a peaceful ride. These apps also allow users to set the timer so that your phone doesn’t have to work all night long.
The white noise you pick for yourself will distract you from thinking too much, which makes it a great tip for falling asleep fast and easily. The sounds of nature are thought to be the best at helping people relax and calm down, so you should probably start with something nature-related to wind down. And then test other types of white noise if you want.
#3 The Milk
Drinking warm milk before bed is probably the oldest tip for falling asleep (alongside with counting sheep, of course).
The best part is:
It really works, and there’s a scientific explanation for that.
You see, milk contains the tryptophan amino acid, which is known to boost melatonin production and improve sleep quality overall. So, one glass before bed is always beneficial.
And why does it necessarily have to be warm, you may ask? Well, it doesn’t really have to. However, holding a warm glass in our hands and drinking a pleasantly warm beverage makes for the feeling of comfort, which can benefit our sleep too.
“Often, people have trouble sleeping because their internal clock is shifted. To avoid that, try going to bed and waking up at the same hours every day. This will help your body get used to a certain sleep schedule, meaning you will learn to fall asleep naturally when needed.”
#4 Alternate Nostril Breathing
Oh, this one might make you feel really silly (just like it was with me). This breathing method is derived from a pranayama practice. It is supposed to affect your nervous system and calm you down, lower your heart rate, and reduce your stress levels, thus helping you fall asleep easier and faster.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Lie down comfortably. Make sure you can reach your nose with your fingers.
- Exhale completely and close your mouth.
- Using your hand, close your right nostril and inhale through the left one.
- Then close the left nostril and exhale through the right one.
- Right after that, inhale through the right nostril, close it, and exhale through the left one.
- Repeat the cycle for a couple of minutes and make sure that the last inhale of this routine is made through the left nostril.
This may seem complicated, but you will easily get the hang of it. Just switch the nostrils after each inhale.
If for whatever reason, this method still seems a bit too weird, you can try breathing with your left nostril only. Just close the right one and breathe. Make sure your breathing is calm, slow, and smooth. By simply concentrating on this activity (I mean, how often do you naturally breathe with only one nostril?), you will relax and get rid of your thoughts. I bet you will be able to fall asleep quickly after that (in 5 minutes tops!).
Here’s another easy way to go to sleep that does not require much effort. All you have to do is grab a book. And yes, I am saying a book and not an electronic reader.
Because e-readers emit blue light, which is known to interfere with our natural sleep cycles. Our brain perceives that blue light as daylight and decides that you need to be wide awake. So, it is best to give your preference to a more classic option – a good old paper book.
Also, pick something less thought-provoking. You don’t want to get too excited before bed, right? So, avoid thrillers, detectives, and other genres that can potentially disturb or excite you.
“If you live in a noisy area, this might be the reason for your sleep issues. External factors often prevent us from falling asleep, but there’s always a solution to each of them. For instance, try sleeping with earplugs. This will help you block the outside noises and sleep peacefully.”
#6 The Guided Meditation Method
You must already know that meditation is a great way to relax, calm down, and deal with stress. So why not try a special guided meditation, which is aimed to help you sleep better?
How to do that? Well, the number of options is nearly endless. There are many free programs, apps, and videos online designed specifically to guide people through meditation to achieve better sleep quality.
Of course, you can also practice regular meditation. It will work just as effectively, calming your mind and helping you relax your body before bed.
#7 The “Do the Opposite” Method
This one is a very interesting trick taking its roots, probably, in reverse psychology. Basically, you need to tell your brain the opposite of what you want to achieve. So, when you need to (but can’t) fall asleep, try to keep yourself awake intentionally.
What you can do is just lie there with your eyes open. That’s it. Easy, right? You can also tell yourself “Don’t fall asleep, don’t fall asleep” to maximize the effect. Of course, this isn’t a long-term solution if you have serious sleep issues. Still, chances are this method will trick your brain into falling asleep fast.
#8 The Visualization Method
Instead of just lying there thinking about how you can’t sleep, visualize. In other words, daydream with a purpose. You see, we often can’t sleep because of the overwhelming stressful thoughts. To push them away, you need to visualize something pleasant.
It can be a place you love (for instance, your favorite café) or a place you dream of visiting (beaches in the Bahamas or Norwegian fjords, for example). You can picture yourself in the surrounding that makes you happy and this will help you unwind and relax. You can also visualize yourself doing something, but make sure those actions are positive, preferably repetitive, and not too exciting. For instance, walking down the beach and picking up pebbles is a nice, relaxing image you can try. Chances are, you will fall asleep within 20 minutes.
Not only do essential oils smell awesome,but they can also help you relax, lower your blood pressure, and soothe you to sleep. There are many different scents you can try, including lavender, sandalwood, vanilla, marjoram, and so on.
Here’s the kicker:
You can use aromatherapy in numerous ways.
For example, add a few drops of your essential oil to the water when taking a bath in the evening. Or, mix the oil with some water and spray it around your bedroom or on your pillow. You can also get an aroma diffuser and place it in your room. Sniffing the oil or dabbing a small amount of it on your wrists and neck can work too.
“It is known that dark environment boosts melatonin production (which is a sleep hormone). So, try to keep your room dark at night. You can use thick curtains or an eye mask. Or both, for the best effect.”
#10 Progressive Muscle Relaxation
In some cases, calming your mind down is not enough. You also need to relax your body. When your muscles are tense, it’s really hard to feel comfortable, which means it may be difficult to fall asleep.
“Meditation and yoga are great methods to relax and calm down before bed. They all involve breathing exercises, which are known to help your mind and body wind down before sleep.”
Now, the progressive muscle relaxation method doesn’t take much time or effort, but it involves specific steps:
- Get yourself into a comfortable position. Make sure your pillow and blanket are not causing any discomfort that can distract you.
- Start with calm breathing. Inhale through your nose as deeply as you can, making your stomach rise. Then exhale through the mouth. Repeat this step a couple of times.
- Now, it is time to flex and relax your muscles starting from your feet. Clench your toes and release. Then your calves, and so on, just work your way up. You can flex each body part a couple of times for an increased effect. And don’t forget to breathe deeply the whole time.
- Don’t forget about your abdomen, glutes, back, arms, hands, shoulders, neck, and, of course, face.
- We hold a lot of tension in our faces, so pay some extra attention to this part of your body. Raise your brows and release. Smile as wide as you can and release. Close and squint your eyes, then release. This might seem like a lot, but trust me, it’s definitely worth it. You will feel warm, soft, and relaxed, which is perfect for falling asleep fast.
- After you have tightened all your muscles one by one, flex your whole body at once for a few seconds. Then relax.
While all the tips above can potentially work for anyone, the last one I’m going to suggest can’t (which is why I give it as a bonus).
This method is called ASMR. The four letters stand for autonomous sensory meridian response – a term used to describe a sensation, similar to prickling, that appears in one’s body (mostly in the scalp and travels down the spine) in response to different visual or auditory stimuli.
I personally discovered ASMR by accident when watching random videos on Youtube. There are a lot of channels now devoted to this specific topic only. You can see there people whispering, finger tapping, scratching different objects, performing random moves with their hands, role-playing, and sometimes doing really weird things to give their audience that visual and auditory stimulation. The number of triggers in ASMR is really wide. And they all will work differently for you. Some might have no effect at all even if you’re susceptible to stimulation.
“Research shows that almost 6% of people who experience ASMR have synaesthesia – a condition when a person can taste sounds or smell colors.”
ASMR media is popular among people struggling from anxiety, insomnia, panic attacks, etc. because it makes them relaxed and sleepy. According to my Facebook survey of 703 people, these are the reasons why people are into ASMR:
- it helps them feel less stressed (37.2%);
- it helps them fall asleep (34.7%);
- it doesn’t help, it just brings pleasurable feelings (14.5%);
- other (13.6%).
But here’s the thing:
While this study partially explains the phenomenon, there’s still no clear answer why only some people can experience ASMR. However, for those who can and who use it to fall asleep, it proves to be 100% effective.
So, I highly recommend that you watch an ASMR video next time you can’t fall asleep, as this is the only way you can find out if this method is for you. Just note that you should use headphones and get comfortable in your bed for the best effect.
So, are you ready to say “Bye-bye” to your sleep troubles? Which of these techniques are you going to try first? Let us know how they worked in the comment section below!