Since 50–70 million Americans have chronic, or ongoing, sleep disorders, it's no wonder a lot of people are trying to find ways to better their sleep. So when Reddit user u/liberkaql asked: "People who can fall asleep quickly, how do you do it?", I thought it would be helpful to share some of the answers just in case you're looking for a little help in the sleep department. Here's what they had to say below:
(Also: This article is not to replace seeing a medical professional or a sleep specialist. Sleep issues are specific to each person and could also indicate that there might be more underlying issues at hand.)
1."I shut my eyes and notice whatever mental images pop up first, then just watch as they shift and change."
2."I commonly have racing/anxious thoughts when trying to fall asleep, so I play this mental game I learned from an ADHD doctor on TikTok. Pick any category — food, actors, song titles, Harry Potter spells — and name one for each letter of the alphabet. Make your breathing rhythmic in time with your thoughts so like, breathe in on thinking 'A,' breathe out on thinking 'Alohomora.' The farthest I’ve ever gotten is P. It works like an absolute charm."
3."Make a fantasy story you want to be the main character in and continue writing the story in your head each time you go to sleep. My story doesn't go too far, because I'm usually passed out debating the details I want to add to the scenes."
4."I’ve made a point of not going to bed until I’m actually tired, even if it means I’m going to bed seven hours before I need to get up instead of nine."
5."One of the main tips I learned is that you should avoid just hanging out in bed. Get in bed to fall asleep, and if you're having trouble sleeping, get out of bed and go do something for like 10–15 minutes, then try again."
6."Vibrating bed on the lowest setting. It’s enough to distract my brain from thoughts other than 'mmmmm…. shaky shaky shaky.' Then I'm out like a light."
7."Have a baby and a toddler feeding off your energy like little vampires."
8."Going to bed at the exact same time every night."
9."Not eating too late, doing a good workout, not napping during the day, not sleeping in too late, and when all else fails and the mind is racing… masturbate."
10."I recently got magnesium supplements, and it feels like they help with my sleep."
"There’s evidence they help produce GABA in the brain, which is known to produce calming effects. I’ve taken this for sleep before and found it does help."
11."White noise machine."
12."Listen to YouTube. I'm out in under 10 mins every time."
13."Wake up early."
14."On your back, repeat mental relaxation techniques starting at the extremities and moving towards the torso. Then just repeat to yourself 'Don't think, don't think, don't think.' The military teaches this method to soldiers who may only get a short window for sleep when in combat."
"To me, it's basically a meditative technique.
The relaxation things (where you focus on relaxing each part of your body one by one) do not do it for me. It's more about getting into a specific mindset, where your mind meanders without you intentionally thinking of anything. My thoughts become a confused blurb, and I fall asleep.
It's very difficult to describe, but it's the same feeling you get when you're so tired that you're falling asleep against your will, listening to a presentation or watching TV — which is another way to fall asleep: concentrate on the fact that you are tired. Imagine that feeling when you're fighting against sleep: what is it you're fighting against? Well, instead of fighting that feeling, let it go."
15."I used to have a lot of trouble sleeping until I gave up caffeine. It was rough for the first week or so; I had actual withdrawal symptoms — but after that, I felt better than I had in years. I sleep so much better and when I do wake up I actually feel refreshed and not like I need that caffeine hit just to function. I never realized just how shitty it made my life until I gave it up."
16."How you get to sleep is 90% dictated by the actions you take on the same day. The 10% of the actual getting to sleep isn't really that big a deal, it's the rest of the day that sets your circadian rhythm, tiredness levels, and mental state."
• Get up early. Do not lie in, even if you're really tired. Early is pre-6 a.m. I get up at 5:25 a.m. every day. This may take a little getting used to, but after a few weeks, your body will adjust, and you will no longer be tired because you'll be getting to sleep really easily in the evening.
• As soon as you wake up, expose yourself to sunlight, blue light, or bright lights, as soon as possible for at least 20 minutes, preferably longer.
• Drink 500-600ml cold water as soon as you wake, take a vitamin D supplement.
• Do not drink anything with caffeine for at least one hour after waking, this might sound counterintuitive, but you want your body to regulate your cortisol levels, not the caffeine
• Light exercise. I possibly go for a 30-45 minute walk (which you can do now you've added an extra hour or two to your morning), but at the very least stretch for 20 minutes.
• Stop drinking anything with caffeine in it by 3 p.m.
• Do not eat anything three hours before you want to go to sleep.
• Do not drink anything one and a half hours before you want to go to sleep.
• Reduce, or if possible completely eliminate, phone/laptop/computer/TV/tablet screens one and a half hours before you want to go to sleep. The key things you're doing here are reducing your exposure to blue light from the screens and winding down your brain.
• Keep lights as dim as possible and expose yourself to red light. I use Philips Hue LED strip in my bedroom and living room.
• Use some sort of menthol product on your pillow or forehead to help open your nasal passages. I use Tiger Balm on my temples.
• Keep to a routine. Mine is 10:45 p.m. to 5:25 a.m. With this routine, I intend to be asleep by 11 p.m. and out of bed by 5:35 a.m., which is a little short on sleep time, but I make up by having a lie in once every two weeks.
• Doing this during wintertime is much harder than doing this during summer.
I hope this helps someone!"
17."A really comfortable bed and a weighted blanket with the windows open. I can fall asleep instantly."
18."I typically take a power nap during my lunch. I'll down 8oz of coffee, eat a quick meal, go for a 10–15 minute walk then lay out in the grass or hide in my car with my eyes completely covered with music playing. The alarm goes off, and I feel completely rejuvenated. It's a nice little reset for me."
Do you have any tips or tricks that help you fall asleep quickly? If so, tell us what they are and why they work in the comments below.