Thursday, November 26, 2015

How to Fall Asleep - Method, Techniques and Tips


Method One: Quick Fixes to Fall Asleep

  1. 1
    Get cozy. Are you as comfortable as possible? If not, consider adjusting these things:

    • Temperature: The optimal sleep temperature varies by person but usually lies somewhere between 60.8 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit (16 - 20 degrees Celsius).[1][2] [3] If the room is too hot, try turning on a fan and try ideas from How to Sleep Comfortably on a Hot Night. If you're cold, put another blanket on the bed or a loose sweatshirt over your pajamas.
    • Position: Always choose the best position that works best for you, whether you're a hip, back, or stomach sleeper. Also, make sure your pillow is neither too flat nor too high because either may put strain on your neck.
    • Clothing: If you're wearing pajamas that are tight, scratchy, or otherwise uncomfortable, consider changing into something more sleep-worthy. Try putting on loose cotton pajamas or a long nightshirt. If that's still not working, some people sleep best when they strip down to nothing at all.

  2. 2
    Change the lighting. Most people find it easiest to sleep in total darkness. If that's not possible for you, though, you can still make some small fixes.

    • Turn away from any light sources: try putting your arm near your face to block out any unwelcome rays. Light that shines directly on your face while you're sleeping can create shadows under your eyes.
    • Make a sleep mask: If you're really struggling, make an impromptu sleep mask out of an old tie or a pillowcase rolled lengthwise and tie it gently over your eyes.
    • Place night lights in the hallway: If you sleep best with a night light, consider moving it from your room to a hall or another nearby space. You want to still be able to see the glow, but it won't be as strong.

  3. 3
    Manage noise. Some people sleep best in total silence; others need ambient noise to fall asleep. Whatever your preference is, here's how to make it work:

    • Use earplugs: block out sounds of roommates or neighbors. With them in you should still be able to hear emergency warning systems like a fire alarm. You can buy them at any pharmacy.
    • Drown out intermittent noises: Use a consistent noise. If you're trying to fall asleep but keep getting interrupted by noises from the street or around the house, try to block them out with a regular noise. Turn on a fan or some music. This can make a big difference.
    • Listen to music: Low-volume music that's soothing or familiar can provide comforting background noise while your mind checks out. Instead of putting in headphones, consider turning on the radio or leaving your mp3 player on your nightstand at low volume.
    • Compile a play list: If you have an iPod, compile a playlist of relaxing and soothing songs. Avoid songs that you enjoy singing along to, however. Turn the volume down as low as possible but make sure the music is still audible.
    • Listen to ambient noise: Raindrops, running water, wind, or binaural beats are all sounds that help some people sleep. See if you can download a free app with these features.

  4. 4
    Make a combination sleep mask. If there's a loud source of noise you can't do anything about, try this trick to block out both sound and light:

    • Grab an old tie or a pillowcase rolled lengthwise.
    • Get two soft cloths. Dishtowels or washcloths should work fine.
    • Lay down the tie or pillowcase lengthwise on the bed.
    • Put one of the folded cloths on top of the tie, around the middle of the length.
    • Lie down so that one ear is on top of the folded cloth.
    • Put the other cloth on top of your free ear.
    • Pull the ends of the tie or pillowcase over your ears, and knot them behind your head. Make it snug enough that the cloths stay in place, but not so tight that you're uncomfortable. This works best if you tend to sleep on one side.

  5. 5
    Relax. Some techniques include:

    • Loosen your muscles: Lie on your back. Starting from the very tips of your toes, gradually loosen all of your muscles one by one eventually reaching the head. Move to your ankles, then calves, knees, and upward. If your mind wanders, return to the last part of the body loosened and keep working up until you reach your head, relaxing your body; the torso and head are the hardest to relax! Staying on your back, aim to sink loosely onto the mattress until you feel it is time to roll into your desired position.
    • Think of boring things: Is your mind on a few things? For example maybe there's something exciting happening that you are staying awake about? Well here are a few suggestions on what to do
    • Think of black: Black is a boring color but this is how it comes in handy. Close your eyes and think of things that you dislike, Now change them black. Think of as many things as you can and turn them black until you fall asleep.
    • Have a friend: If you ever feel lonely in bed get a friend! For example maybe a cuddly toy, your cat or dog,a pillow and maybe even call up some friends and have a sleep over/slumber party!
    • Acknowledge distractions: your senses are experiencing everything, for example: Tell yourself, "I don't care that I hear the clock ticking; I smell the lotion I just applied to my hands; I feel my legs' weight on the bed. I hear my spouse/partner breathing. I see different shades of black. I hear the dog barking in the distance. I hear myself in my own mind talking.", etc. Doing this can help to clear your mind of excitable feelings by slowly acknowledging and dismissing it.
    • Stretch: Lying on your back, stretching can help to relieve tension in your lower back, legs and up to the back of your neck. While on your back, raise one leg at a time and attempt to bring your knee to your chin. Once raised as close to your chin as possible, hold your leg with your arms close to you until you feel your lower back and the hamstring of your leg begin to stretch -- until the tension begins to subside. The looser your muscles become, the more your body is relaxing, refocusing your mind on simply resting.
    • Meditate: Along with the muscle loosening sensation of trying to settle onto your mattress, use meditation to visualize yourself addressing your thoughts and resolving them. Or, meditate on a calming word or phrase. Keep still and relaxed to maximize the state of restfulness.[4] As you do so, it helps you to lower your heart rate and relax your muscles, making it easier for you to fall asleep.

  6. 6
    Read. Focus your mind on only this one thing, instead of racing through the day's activities. Read something calming or, perhaps, dull; for example, if you're reading your textbook in bed that's fairly guaranteed to send you nodding off!

    • If you wake up and need to fall back to sleep, use a book light to avoid having to turn on brighter lights which can awaken you too much.

  7. 7
    Use breathing techniques. Deep breathing can help you relax enough to fall asleep. Lie on your back in bed, watching or feeling your stomach rise, and then breathe. Your goal is to breathe in and out about six times per minute, as per this exercise:

    • Breathe in deeply for four long-counts.
    • Hold the breath for two counts.
    • Let the deep breath out for four counts, pushing the last "bit" of breath out but gently, not over-working it.
    • Repeat. Concentrate on your breath, remaining focused on it to the exclusion of all else.

  8. 8
    Use your imagination. The time between laying your head on the pillow and falling asleep can be a time to plan a lucid dream, or just to let your mind wander and be as imaginative as you like. Lost in the world of imagination, you may just be lucky enough not to notice you've drifted off into dreamland. Here are some ideas:

    • Think of something very calming: Picturing something calming such as a waterfall, a pool of clear water, a green field under a rainbow, etc., can be ways of calming yourself. Picture yourself doing pleasurable things, such as floating down the river, gliding over clouds, seeing blue sky on a perfect day, smelling roses, anything at all that reflects your ideal fantasy. Explore the place if you like, discovering what else is in this imaginary realm.
    • Build your perfect house or room in your mind: Anything goes. How magnificent a house can you make in your mind? What colors do you want to use? Let yourself get lost in the details of your dream house as you relax.
    • Try storytelling: Stories can be a good way to wind down. Create an ongoing storyline carried over each night, or start a completely new one as needed. Ideally, keep the story light and happy, picturing it in your mind. Thinking of favorite movie scenes and putting yourself into them can be another fun imagination exercise, such as a kissing scene, or a daring rescue.
    • Imagine doing something that you and someone you care both enjoy, for example: imagine yourself and your spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend, lover, etc., walking on a field of flowers with a beautiful aroma peacefully.
    • Imagine your ideal sleeping conditions: See yourself curled up on a feather bed with the softest sheets, sleeping under the stars or curled up with your dream partner on a soft cloud.
    • Think up strange, impossible things, for example: imagine purple Twinkies™ walking on walls, growing red wings with yellow fishhooks dangling from them, and chasing after bankers, etc.
    • Imagine a swinging pendulum: With your eyes closed, if you're relaxed, you should feel the sensation of "falling into the mattress".

  9. 9
    Play a game. Sometimes a game can distract you enough to get you to the land of nod. Either real games or mind games can work; if you're playing a real game, keep the game material at your bedside and a book light to keep the light level low.

    • Play solitaire: Undemanding, repetitive, and requiring concentration but little mental effort, this card game will soon lull you to drowsiness.
    • Do a crossword puzzle or a sudoku.
    • Count sheep, or your breaths: The rhythm and monotony of counting can send your mind into a sleepy state. However, this doesn't work for everyone though –for some, the level of concentration required to maintain sheep jumping a fence, for example, might create too much stimulation!

  10. 10
    Try self-hypnosis. If you know how to hypnotize yourself, this technique might be a useful one, using the "Best Me" technique of self-hypnosis. Use this to involve your whole person in the process of going to sleep. With or without an actual hypnotic induction (but preferably after one), slowly repeat the following suggestions to yourself. When you get to the last two steps, repeat them over and over like a mantra, as long as necessary until you drift off. (By this time, you should be quite relaxed and the entire experience should be a very pleasant one.) You don't have to use these exact words, of course – just use whatever words are most meaningful to you, as long as you cover all of the steps. With each step beginning with one of the letters of the words, "Best Me," they're easy to remember. Believe it will happen, expect it to happen, and feel it happening.

    • Belief systems: Imagine, or picture in your mind, that you are reaching down into the depths of your unconscious potential for feeling drowsiness and sleep.
    • Emotions: These feelings of drowsiness and sleep are flowing out from innermost depths of your unconscious potential like water from a hundred secret springs.
    • Sensations and physical perceptions: Feel this drowsiness and sleep flowing into every muscle, and nerve, and fiber of your body, growing stronger and stronger with every breath you take.
    • Thoughts and images: Sinking down, and shutting down, and sinking down, and shutting down. Sinking down, and shutting down. Shutting down completely.
    • Motives: Think these last two steps to yourself, matching your thoughts to your breathing, until you fall asleep, "And the deeper I go, the deeper I want to go."
    • Expectations: "And the deeper I go, the sleepier I will become."
    • Have someone whom you trust hypnotize you: Let this person make the described suggestions, substituting the following suggestions for the last two steps: Motives: "And now you will just keep on going deeper by yourself, until you fall into a deep, peaceful sleep. Expectations: You will awaken naturally at the proper time, feeling completely refreshed."
      • If you should feel yourself starting to wake up during the night, keep silently repeating the Thoughts and Images step to yourself over and over like a mantra, over and over until it takes on a life of its own. As long as you don't try too hard, this will help you get back to sleep.

  11. 11
    Get out of bed and distract yourself temporarily. If things are so bad that you're tossing, turning, and kicking your partner, it might be best to get out of bed and do something for a while to wear yourself out properly. Some ideas of what to do once you're up include:

    • Do something dull: Read a boring book, a work paper, or watch something mindless on TV like the news. Do something you've been putting off for a while because you're afraid it will be too boring!
    • Watch a movie: Rather than watching the whole film, fast forward to a part that you really like and watch it. Don't choose scary, edgy movies. This will only "work" if it's a film you love and are very familiar with. It might just be enough to help your mind clear of racing thoughts.
    • Simply rest in a comfortable chair: keep your area dark or rely on street lights, and sit, contemplating the thoughts that are keeping you awake. It will start to seem less pressing when you're in a chair surrounded by familiar objects. Stare out of the window and relax.
    • Do yoga, stretching, or Pilates.
    • Return to bed: Feeling your eyes getting tired, you'll usually fall asleep quickly.

  12. 12
    Sometimes sleeping with a pillow between your legs can help reduce stress and/or pain. When you have stomach or back pain, doing this may help to lull you into sleep.

Method Two: Long-Term Solutions

  1. 1
    Pay attention to what you're eating. Some foods are known to aid sleep, while others can interfere.

    • Eat a small bedtime snack: Include some complex carbohydrates, a relatively small amount of protein that contains tryptophan together with added calcium to produce melatonin that will induce serotonin release -- and so, quiet the brain. Avoid a sugary or all-carbohydrate meal or snack that sets off the effect of rising and crashing blood sugar which then causes release of stress hormones, keeping you awake. As calcium helps the brain use tryptophan to manufacture melatonin, this explains why a snack of low-sugar dairy products, containing both tryptophan and calcium, are among the sleep-inducing favorite foods.[5]
    • Try these snacks: eat bananas, avocado, peanuts, almonds, figs, and milk-based drinks, all containing tryptophans, a precursor for creating melatonin which regulates sleep.[2] Some snacks to consider include: cookies and milk, sliced banana with chopped dates, and wholegrain bread with lettuce.[6]
    • Try nuts: peanuts with skins, whole almonds (for more fiber), walnuts, pecans, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, pistachios, red peanuts with skins. An additional benefit is that these kinds of seeds and all nuts have essential oils.
    • Avoid large amounts of food prior to bedtime: High-protein food can keep you awake because they contain elevated levels of tyrosine. Also avoid hot curries and other very spicy or greasy foods prior to bed time.[2]
    • Do not go to bed hungry: this will make it harder to fall asleep.
    • Avoid eating a large meal close to bedtime:[7] This can result in indigestion, reflux, or heartburn.
    • Reduce stimulants: cut nicotine, sugar, caffeine -- and alcohol (a depressant).[8][7]    
  2. 2
    Try supplements. There are many supplements which may help you fall asleep, but results vary from person to person.

    • Try taking melatonin which regulates sleep, for an extra boost; although your body naturally creates some of this, sometimes you need more depending on stress issues, etc. You can find this at Walmart or a local drug or grocery store, quite inexpensively. It is typically sold in 3mg, 5mg up to the 10 mg (called "triple strength").
    • Chlorpheniramine maleate, also sold as 'Chlortrimeton' and as 'Corcidin-HBP', is an antihistamine that causes drowsiness without causing higher blood pressure (HBP), as cheap as $4 for 100 (as Equate brand 'Chlortabs'). Do not use any sugary antihistamine syrups, as the sugar content might interfere with sleep.
    • Valerian is a highly relaxant herb that helps with sleep and is especially known to reduce body aches and pains. If you wake up too early, drink water and take another dose of both if four hours or more have passed since the first dose.
    • Take calcium with magnesium and vitamin D3 and B-vitamins, omega3, omega 3-6-9 which all work together, causing improved relaxation and many other healthful benefits!

  3. 3
    Don't exercise in the three hours leading up to bedtime. Exercise awakens you, with the impact often lasting up to three hours after you've completed the exercise, as well as decreasing the secretion of needed melatonin (naturally helps regulate your sleep).[2] Instead, try to exercise during each day, no later than the afternoon. Exercise is ideal first thing in the morning, as it helps you to wake up and maintain your metabolism, burning calories throughout the day.

  4. 4
    Avoid taking naps during the daytime[8]. If you need a nap, nap no more than 15 minutes (a power nap). Anything longer can make it much harder to fall asleep in the evenings.

  5.  5
    Reduce your stress levels. Stress, anxiety, worry, and depression can all contribute to an inability to fall asleep. Seek help for stress management, including finding positive techniques to handle stress such as yoga, relaxation, cognitive behavioral therapy, self-hypnosis, assertiveness training, meditation, exercise, visualization, etc.[9] Psychotherapy can be helpful if you have underlying anxiety, trauma, or depression issues.[10]

  6. 6
    Have a warm bath before bedtime. The comforting temperature can help you unwind before sleeping. When you get out, try to go directly to bed.[11]

  7. 7
    Establish a bedtime routine. Try to develop a pattern of doing the same things prior to bed each night, for example, having a warm drink, a bath, a short read, etc.[10]

  8. 8
    Keep to an established sleeping routine. Train your mind to accept a set bedtime every night, and the same waking up time every day (with a little leeway for seasonal changes).[11][10]Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time, even on weekends. If the problem still persists, just keep repeating until you create a new habit.

  9. 9
    Use aromatherapy. There are a number of aromatherapy suggestions that might help you to fall asleep. For example, lemon balm oil, chamomile oil, lavender oil, and marjoram can be used singly or in combination for the bath, a massage, or as an air or pillow spray.[12]

    • A sleep-promoting bath can be made from 6 drops chamomile oil, 2 drops lovage oil, and 2 drops lime flower oil, added to a warm to hot bath.[13]
    • A massage blend can be made from 4 drops lavender oil, 4 drops mandarin oil, 3 drops nutmeg oil, 2 drops lemon oil, 2 drops dill oil, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) carrier oil such as almond oil. Mix together and massage into your upper chest, back of the neck, shoulders and down your back.[14] Do not use this blend if you're about to drive!
  10. 10
    Fix the lighting in your bedroom. A low level of light prior to sleep is ideal (such as lamps or dimmer switches), followed by making your room as dark as you possibly can make it. Use blinds or blackout curtains to keep out light.

    • Switch off or cover anything that emits light, such as an alarm clock. Use a towel or similar item for covering but be careful of fire hazards.
    • Eye covers such as a sleeping mask can be beneficial too.
  11. 11
    Remove all mind-stimulating electronic devices from your bedroom. It can be tempting to take the laptop, MP3 player, TV, or game player to bed with you, but it's not a good idea. Allowing electronic items into your bedroom trains your mind to see the bedroom as something more than a place of rest and peace.[15]

    • Avoid having bright clocks because this could be a temptation to stare at the passage of time and fret about it.
    • Make a decisive change to ensure that your bedroom is for sleeping and relaxing only. This means not using it for electronic devices, not taking phone calls in the room, and not bringing tons of work to the bed to read through.
  12. 12
    Keep your bed made up. Every morning, get into a habit of making up the bed. Hopping into a fully made up bed is much more inviting than finding a disheveled mess! Keep the bed clothes well laundered regularly, as clean sheets make a world of a difference. Last thing, make sure you have fresh water on a dresser or a small table near your bed.


  • Make use of a journal by your bedside. Instead of lying there worrying, write in your journal and leave the thoughts for dealing with during daytime.[16] Use a book light to avoid disturbing others and to avoid putting on too much light. A page or two of thoughts written down can calm you enough to restore the need for sleep.
  • Note the signs of when it is important to seek advice. The following symptoms are a sign that you need to seek your doctor's advice: your insomnia is stretching out over a period of months; you constantly feel tired during the daytime, rarely refreshed; pain or a need to visit the toilet are regularly waking you up; your relationships with other people are suffering because you're feeling tired, irritable, and snap easily; you're taking prescription drugs and have noticed the sleep problems since starting them.[8]
  • Know when to see a doctor. Stress, anxiety, or depression can all affect your sleeping patterns.[15] If it's bad enough that you're losing sleep on a regular basis, contact your primary care physician.
  • If you have a special blanket or stuffed animal, bring it to bed with you.
  • If you are a video gamer, don't play in your bed. You could destroy your sleeping routine. Instead, keep and play your electronics in a far away room like a kitchen, porch, etc.
  • Try not to move too much. Excessive fidgeting makes it harder to fall asleep.
  • Make sure that you are comfortable when you go to bed.
  • Make sure you go to the toilet before you go to bed to avoid getting up.
  • Do not focus on bad things that occurred throughout the day. When you are attempting to fall asleep, try to concentrate only on calming thoughts.
  • Close your eyes and keep them closed. If your eyes are open and constantly darting around, looking at things, or blinking, it may keep you from sleeping. Just close your eyes and think of relaxing things.


  • Always check the contra-indications of sleep aids, and essential oils, as some cannot be used during pregnancy, by lactating mothers, people who are immune-suppressed, or others with certain medical conditions.
  • Avoid self-diagnosing your sleep problem. Talk to your doctor about any problems you're experiencing with insomnia or other sleeping problems. It is important to identify the source of the problems and get a proper remedy. Ask your doctor about routine changing suggestions (i.e., tips for breaking a poor habit), what non-addictive sleeping aids are available, if there are any possible herbal remedies before having to tackle the heavier medications (for example, Valerian), and whether there are any suitable nutritional and exercise options.[17] Since prescription medications can bring about addiction or drowsiness, exploring all the possible options is prudent.

Things You'll Need

  • Comfortable mattress, comfortable pillows, good bed covers, comfortable sheets
  • A sleeping mask (optional)
  • Comfortable sleepwear
  • Good curtains/blinds and soundproofing (optional)

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

  • American Psychiatric Association (1994).Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, DSM-IV-TR, 4th ed. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Virtual Medical Centre, Sleep physiology,
  4. Christopher Titmuss The Power of Meditation, p. 35, (1999), ISBN 0-8069-2693-7
  5. -- "Foods That Help You Sleep"
  6. Reader's Digest, Curing everyday ailments the natural way, p. 335, (2000), ISBN 1-876689-78-1
  7. 7.0 7.1 Dr. Mosaraf Ali, Dr. Ali's Nutrition Bible, p. 205, (2004), ISBN 0-09188-949-9
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 My, Sleeping difficulties,
  9. Reader's Digest, Curing everyday ailments the natural way, p. 337, (2000), ISBN 1-876689-78-1
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Dr Pamela Stephenson Connolly, Head case: treat yourself to better mental health, p. 361, (2007), ISBN 978-0-7553-1721-9
  11. 11.0 11.1 Shneerson JM. Sleep Medicine: A guide to sleep and its disorders (2nd edition). Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd; 2005
  12. Nerys Purchon, Aromatherapy, p. 74, (1996), ISBN 0-7336-0436-6
  13. Alan Hays, Bath Scents, p. 24, (1994), ISBN 0-207-18230-2
  14. Carol Schiller and David Schiller, 500 Formulas for aromatherapy: Mixing oils for every use, p. 77, (1994), ISBN0-8069-0584-0
  15. 15.0 15.1 Dr Pamela Stephenson Connolly, Head case: treat yourself to better mental health, p. 358, (2007), ISBN 978-0-7553-1721-9
  16. Dr Pamela Stephenson Connolly, Head case: treat yourself to better mental health, p. 362, (2007), ISBN 978-0-7553-1721-9
  17. Dr Pamela Stephenson Connolly, Head case: treat yourself to better mental health, pp. 360-361, (2007), ISBN 978-0-7553-1721-9 

Article Info

Source from: Wikihow
Featured Article
Categories: Featured Articles | Bedtime Routine
Recent edits by: Maismoxie, Carolina Di Giulio, Andrew Adam

No comments: