Science Says These 5 Habits Can Help You Fall Asleep Faster
Sleeping well and long enough helps keep your body and mind healthy and strong. Strangely, sleep is still something that many people struggle to get enough of and will give up far too easily. In fact, according to The National Sleep Foundation, 45 percent of Americans report that lack of sleep or poor quality sleep impacts their waking life significantly, as much as one in every seven days.
While there are many factors that can contribute to sleepless nights, maintaining good sleep habits is one of the best ways for you to consistently get the rest you need each night. And, science agrees. Here are five scientifically-backed sleep habits recommended by Tech Insider Science that can help you fall asleep faster, and sleep much better every night.
- Turn down the lights as bedtime approaches, and spend some time away from your screens
Your body is equipped with an internal clock and rhythm that helps regulate wake and sleep cycles. This circadian rhythm is based on cycles of light, and an absence of bright light is what signals your body to begin preparing for sleep. According to a study done by Harvard Medical School, exposure to bright lights before bedtime also works to decrease the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin.
To best prepare for a night of rest, dim your lights to softer shades in the evening, and expose yourself to bright lights during the daytime. Also, at least an hour before bedtime, avoid screen time. The illumination from TVs and phone screens tricks your brain into thinking it is daytime, and will make it much more difficult for you to fall asleep.
- Keep your hands and feet cozy
According to research published in the journal, Nature, keeping your hands and feet warm will help you fall asleep much more quickly. Warming your feet or hands before bed with a warm water bottle or even a cozy pair of socks imparts a psychological effect of feeling comforted and relaxed. In hot seasons, cooling your feet and hands can also help you achieve optimal comfort as you prepare for a good night’s rest.
- Don’t go to sleep angry or unhappy, or share a bed with anyone who makes you feel those emotions
Distress or turmoil in personal relationships is a very large factor in sleep quality, and can even contribute to bouts of insomnia if you are having relationship issues. In fact, according to Sleep Medicine Reviews, the quality of the relationship you have with your sleeping partner is highly correlated with the quality of sleep you enjoy while sharing a bed with them.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol
While you may enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning, drinking too much caffeine during the day can make it harder for you to relax and settle down for sleep. Additionally, while it may seem easier to doze off after a glass of wine or an evening cocktail, alcohol actually delays or shortens your REM sleep cycles, which will often leave you feeling more tired when you wake up.
To enjoy peaceful, restful sleep at night, moderate your consumption of caffeine and alcohol and do not indulge in either too close to bedtime.
- Create relaxing bedtime rituals that soothe and prepare you for sleep, and perform your ritual every night
Perhaps one of the best habits you can develop to promote good quality sleep is to establish a bedtime ritual that works to help you unwind, relax, and prepare to go to sleep. Each person is unique, so your sleep rituals will work best if you choose activities and routines that work for you. Once you’ve found a good routine, stick with it consistently.