Wondering how to get to sleep fast?
The answer may lie in better sleep hygiene practices.
The issue of how to get to sleep is one that can infuriate us when we lie awake at night, especially when we are repeating that same question night after night. It seems like the answer should be so simple, but at that precise moment it can feel like the hardest thing in the world. Thankfully, with better sleep hygiene practices there is a solution. Here are some tips on how to improve your sleep hygiene through behavioral and environmental controls, which should finally resolve the question of how to get to sleep.
When it comes to alterations in behavior that can influence how to get to sleep, the first thing to look at is your routine. Without a set pattern in place for when you go to bed or when you get up in the morning, your circadian rhythm can become imbalanced and this can lead to sleep disorders like insomnia. Try establishing a strict bed-time and setting an alarm for the morning. Sticking to the same hour is vital, even if you have plans that night or nowhere to be the next morning. If you keep it up, there is more chance that your natural body clock will adjust to the rhythm and your sleep pattern will begin to improve.
Another area of bedtime behavior to be addressed is eating and drinking. While it can often be tempting to indulge in a quick pre-bed snack, it is not advised. Heavy, fatty foods are particularly hard to digest so can be disruptive, spicy foods can cause heartburn and the old wives’ tale of eating cheese is not a myth. Having said this, hunger can also keep you up so if you require a snack try to stick to something high in carbohydrates. Drinks containing caffeine or other stimulants also need to be avoided, as the effects can be felt for hours after consumption. Drinking water or milk before bed is common and safer, but be careful about the quantities else you could find yourself getting up in the middle of the night.
The next thing to consider when looking at behavioral changes is the way that you view your bed and your bedroom. It is common sense that for a bed to be used for a good night’s sleep it needs to be comfortable, but it is surprising how many of us need to switch to a better mattress. We use the bedroom for so many functions, we can work, relax and even watch TV in there, but this can be part of the problem. If our mind no longer associates the room and bed with sleeping, then we are less likely to fall asleep once we get into bed. In order to re-establish this psychological link, reserve the bedroom for sleep and sex only – live in the living-room.
Once you have changed the way you view your bedroom, you should then consider the environmental factors within it that can negatively effect sleep hygiene. Noise and light are both contributing factors. Noise disturbance is a common problem in getting to sleep so make sure to turn off any electrical appliances and restrict traffic noise. Although many people prefer to watch TV as they fall asleep because it takes their mind’s focus away from stress, this can also have a negative impact. A more ‘hygienic’ approach would be to read a book.
Light is a particularly big problem when dealing with this issue. At night, melatonin is produced to help the body sleep. The better the contrast between your intake of daylight and the light within your bedroom, the better your chances of producing an advantageous amount. A great way to do this is to get plenty of sunlight and invest in some thick curtains and low wattage bulbs. Another thing to avoid is using laptops or iPads before bed. The back-light used in the gadgets is so strong that it tricks the brain into believing it should be awake.
There are many ways sleep hygiene can help you get to sleep but these are some of the more important and simple tips. Try them out for yourself and maybe you will find your own answer to the dilemma of how to get to sleep.