Do you find it hard to fall asleep? Are you tossing and turning in bed for hours trying to get to sleep? Do you feel stuck in the cycle of taking sleeping pills at night to fall asleep, and then taking stimulants such as caffeine to wake up in the morning?
I used to have trouble falling and staying asleep. I would even take sleeping pills such as melatonin or Ambien in an attempt to fall asleep. Most of the time, I would fall asleep, but the sleep was not restful. I would wake up groggy in the morning if I took a sleeping pill the night before. But I was stuck in a cycle of taking the sleeping pills and continuing to feel restless.
Once I woke up in the morning, I felt I had to drink coffee in order to wake up, and to keep drinking it throughout the day. This made it even more difficult for me to fall asleep. And so the vicious cycle continued.
But once I started implementing the following steps, I now fall asleep fast most nights, stay asleep, and wake up well-rested. Try these tips so you, too, can fall asleep faster.
Stop drinking caffeine at least eight hours before bedtime.
Caffeine is meant to wake you up in the morning and keep you alert for a while. While it may seem like the effects of the caffeine wear off after an hour or so, the caffeine does stay in your system a lot longer. Thus, in order to fall asleep more easily, cut off the caffeine at least eight hours before bedtime. Otherwise, you may be tossing and turning trying to fall asleep, to no avail.
Stop using electronics at least one hour before bedtime.
The blue light of the electronics may keep you awake for almost an hour after you stop using them because the light mimics the intensity of the sun. If you turn off the electronics at least one hour before bedtime, the effects of the blue light will wear off by the time you are ready to go to bed, and the melatonin in your body will start to kick in. Melatonin is the hormone that tells you it is time to fall asleep, so it is important to turn off the electronics.
If you are in the habit of checking social media before bedtime, realize that social media will be there for you the next day. It is not crucial to always be connected to social media. You do need a break from the electronics and the dopamine hit that checking social media may give you.
Dim the lights at least one hour before bedtime.
LED bulbs also emit blue light, and fluorescent bulbs are not conducive to falling asleep either. So, turn those lights off at least one hour before bedtime. You will be glad that you did.
You probably won’t want to sit in the dark for the entire hour before bedtime, so if you can, invest in Himalayan salt lamps, or amber or red incandescent light bulbs. These lights emit soft light that is far less likely to keep you awake.
Decrease the temperature in your bedroom.
If it is hot in your bedroom, it will be harder to fall asleep because your body is using energy to try and cool down. Therefore, your bedroom needs to be fairly cold so your body is more prepared to fall asleep. If your body is already cooled down, then it is easier to nod off into dreamland.
Decrease the temperature in your bedroom to at least 67 degrees Fahrenheit. You may need to adjust the temperature even lower depending on your individual needs.
Use calming essential oils if you can.
There are several kinds of essential oil that will aid in calming you down, thus priming you to feel tired and fall asleep. Lavender is one essential oil that is calming. Use the essential oil in the form of a passive diffuser (If you don’t have pets, then feel free to use an active diffuser), a spray, a lotion, or a couple drops on a special bracelet meant for the use of essential oils.
For most forms of essential oil delivery, make sure to use a “carrier oil” so the essential oil isn’t too harsh on your skin.
Listen to music or a podcast meant to help you fall asleep.
There are plenty of podcasts and music tracks on YouTube that will help you fall asleep. Try to find a calming voice, or ambient music or noise. The calmness will prime your brain for sleep.
In the near future, I will compile a list of podcasts and YouTube tracks in order to fall asleep, for your convenience.
Make sure your bed is comfortable.
This is perhaps the most crucial element in being able to fall asleep. If your bed is more than 10 years old, then your bed is more likely to be uncomfortable, thus making you less likely to have restful sleep. In this case, consider replacing your mattress. This is a significant but necessary investment in your mental health. Find a way to afford it if the price is out of reach for you. Save your money quickly. Having a comfortable bed is important.
There you have it. If you implement these tips, you will be able to fall asleep fairly quickly. It may take a week or two for your body and mind to get used to the routine, but if it is possible for me, a person who used to find it almost impossible to fall asleep without sleeping pills, then it is possible for you.
I understand that it may be difficult for you to wean off sleeping pills. Before you stop taking them, do consult with your psychiatrist. With some sleeping pills, quitting them “cold turkey” may produce severe withdrawal symptoms such as seizures. Your psychiatrist may even have more tips than the ones I laid out to help you fall asleep.