Knowing how to fall asleep can have a dramatic impact on your health, finances, daily productivity, and mood.
So before you reach for those sleep medications, make sure you've checked off all of these how to fall asleep tips first.
Here's the thing. Millions of people act as though sleep is some sort of inconvenience. It's like an interference from their cell phones. It gets in the way of their daily life and all the things they try to get done on their to do list.
I like the way sleep and dream expert Rubin Naiman, Ph.D. so eloquently puts it when he says we must embrace sleep as another essential part of our consciousness, "willingly descending into a mysterious sea of sleep."
And note this if you want to know how to fall asleep. Naiman writes, "The single most critical factor impairing healthy sleep is not, as is commonly believed, that we are insufficiently sleepy at night. It's what sleep science calls hyperarousal—that we are excessively wakeful."
So I say make sleep sacred. A life priority. Understand that one of the best tips to fall asleep is to recognize that sleep is an essential part of renewal, exploration, and discovery in your life.
The rest of the following tips will help you develop the sleep hygiene that is so important for descending into sleep.
Let me tell you, I recently learned how important it is to have a regular sleep schedule. I just completed three weeks of travel back and forth across the United States from the South, to the Northwest, to the South, to the Northeast, and back to the South. My sleep schedule was totally screwed up.
The consequence? I was exhausted during the day!
One of the best how to fall asleep tips there is is to have a regular pattern of when you go to sleep and when you wake up. Boring? Sure. But you'll sleep a heck of a lot better and suffer from a lot fewer sleepless nights.
So get in the habit of going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning. It's that important. And this also applies to you if you're retired. When we reach our forties, patterns of sleep begin to change and it becomes even more important to develop good sleep habits.
The last thing you want to do is crawl into bed with a brain full of worry. Money, kids, work, stupid things you did today—or five years ago...these can all keep your mind on fire.
The only thing I have found that works for me is a total brain dump. Plain old paper and pen works wonders for writing down everything that is on my mind and dumping it out of my brain. So whether you are trying to get to sleep but can't...or you wake up in the middle of the night with worry...get it down on paper.
Better yet, why not pick a time earlier in the day before bedtime to think about the things that are bothering you. Jot them down. Make out your to do list for the next day several hours before you hit the sack so you aren't thinking about it in bed.
Another thing I sometimes say to myself if I'm lying awake in bed is that there is absolutely nothing I can do at this moment to solve my problem...and I let it go for now. It's interesting though that sleep has the ability to let your brain figure things out for you and solve a problem. Just another reason you should embrace sleep as a friend.
Mother Nature is so wise. She has equipped your body with the hormone melatonin so you can slip into slumber as the darkness of night comes. Problem is, every source of light there is in your bedroom can disrupt your sleep.
Let me give you an example.
One of the resorts I stayed at on my recent trip to New England kept their outside porch lights on all night for safety reasons.
Problem is, a porch light was right outside my window and the blinds in the bedroom were not able to totally block out the light. The bedroom was probably only 50% as dark as it should have been and I paid the price with several poor night's sleep.
Solution? Heavy drapes that block out all the light. Total blackout makes a tremendous difference for your bedroom.
Another thing that works is a black sleep mask for the eyes. Believe me, I'll be packing one from now on in my suitcase when I travel.
And now that I think of it, a lavender eye mask would do the
trick also. I've written previously about how lavender can sometimes be
used effectively as an herbal sleep aid. You can read about lavender in
the Egyptian Mummy article below.
Also, you may need to turn the alarm clock away from you if it's putting out light that distracts you.
Along with blocking out light, you need to block out sound. It's hard to make a bedroom totally soundproof. Investing in a white noise machine might be worthwhile if sound issues disrupt your sleep.
Amazon.com has an excellent white noise machine that is inexpensive. For over three years this has been one of their top 100 selling products.
Click the image below to see some of the 1,766 customer reviews of this white noise machine. Maybe it too will help you shut out those annoying sounds (dogs, neighbors, traffic) that keep you awake. (Clicking the image opens a new window.)
Please note that white noise machine, sound conditioner, and sound screen all refer to the same thing. They all block out noise.
Now let's look at part two of this article, including a few tips on how to fall asleep fast. Plus, we'll look at what may be the best natural sleep aid for you.
Part 2: How To Fall Asleep Naturally
Part 3: How To Fall Asleep Fast
What Do Egyptian Mummies, Ancient Roman Baths, and This Herbal Sleep Remedy Have In Common?
4 Essential Facts About Insomnia
Return to Sleep Disorders Home Page
Get these 3 FREE e-books valued
at over $89 for subscribing to my free Sleep Chat newsletter.