A white noise machine, scheduled worry time, and body scan meditation are ways to fall asleep fast. In some cases, though, you may need professional support.
Ongoing stress and a disorganized environment may lead you to have a hard time falling asleep quickly.
You may find it challenging to shut off the mental noise of a busy day or the emotional distress of a troubled relationship. Environmental signals, like a room that’s too hot or cold, can also make it tough for you to fall asleep as soon as you hit the bed.
Optimal sleep hygiene and these additional tips may help you get some quality snooze time faster.
You may associate a warm bath with relaxation. And, when it comes to sleep, baths may have other potential benefits. A soak in the tub before you hit the pillow can help you fall asleep faster than if you go straight to bed.
During sleep, the body’s core temperature goes down. Lower body temperature is a sleep signal for your brain. A warm bath may speed up this cooling process and may help your brain switch to rest mode, helping you fall asleep quickly.
A 2019 systematic review and meta-analysis of studies found a warm bath 1 to 2 hours before bed can reduce sleep onset latency (SOL) — the time it takes for you to fall asleep — by 10 minutes or more.
A white noise or broadband machine emits a sound across all audible frequencies at the same time. Some people think it sounds like static.
White noise may help you sleep better and faster by masking other noises or helping brainwaves switch to rest mode. The exact impact on the sleep cycle isn’t clear, though.
Evidence suggests a white noise machine helps with sleep quality. A small
Research has widely explored how exercise affects sleep — and it turns out physical activity can get you to sleep faster.
A 2019 systematic review of 11 studies found that the most consistent benefit of exercise was the reduction in the time someone falls asleep.
In sum, introducing physical activity into your day may help you fall asleep faster at night.
Those electronics you may have to come to rely upon — smartphones, laptops, tablets, televisions, gaming screens — emit blue light. Blue light
Research on the connection between blue light and sleep is mixed. However, a 2022 systematic review found that blue light may negatively impact sleep quality and duration. Of eight studies in the review, three found blue light increased the time it takes for someone to fall asleep.
Consider switching off your screens an hour or two before bedtime. If that’s too challenging, try using your device’s brightness settings to adjust the amount of blue light it emits. Another option is to find quality blue light blocking glasses.
7 quick tips for staying asleep through the night
Getting to bed quickly is one thing — but can you stay asleep? Here are some quick tips to help you avoid waking in the middle of the night:
- Try to avoid alcohol before bed.
- Consider limiting your caffeine intake before bedtime.
- Put some thought into lighter meals before bed instead of large dinners.
- Think about a comfortable room temperature for sleep — not too hot, not too cold.
- Look into light-blocking tools like eyeshades, blackout screens, and darkened windows.
- Reflect upon your sleeping and waking schedule; consistency even on weekends can help with sleep.
- Consider recreating your bedroom as a sleep-only zone, with electronics kept elsewhere.
Spending some time putting pen to paper may help you to fall asleep faster. There’s even evidence that a specific kind of writing habit — making a to-do list — may be particularly effective.
So, consider taking 5 minutes before bed to write about what you need to get done — and then leave the list to review in the morning. Another option may be to use journal prompts to explore personal and professional goals or projects.
Stress can make it harder to fall asleep quickly and tougher to stay asleep.
Other forms of meditation might help as well. A 2021 study found participants in a 4-day meditation retreat had better quality sleep immediately following the experience and at a 40-day follow-up.
Progressive muscle relaxation and meditative movement like yoga or tai chi may also reduce your average time to fall asleep.
If you want to start with the body scan method, consider these steps:
- Lay down in a comfortable position.
- Close your eyes.
- Focus on one part of your body at a time, starting with your toes.
- As you focus on each part, notice how it feels and if you need to release tension.
- Gradually work your way up to your head.
If worries are keeping you up at night, scheduled worry time may be a technique that helps.
Scheduled worry is used in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The idea is to set aside time to worry during the day and then allow your mind to release those thoughts.
To start with scheduled worry time, consider following these steps:
- Set aside 15-30 minutes once a day to worry. Aim for a morning or early afternoon time slot so it doesn’t interfere with sleep.
- Write down your worries. Don’t try to solve any of the problems, just let the worries come out.
- If you start to worry outside of the scheduled worry time, remind yourself you will have time again to worry and don’t need to do so right away.
- At the end of one week, reflect on the worries you wrote down. Reflect on any patterns you notice.
Breathing is something you do every day — but done in specific ways, it can also be an invaluable tool to fall asleep fast.
Deep breathing may help you bring on relaxation, clear your mind, and get set for a night of rest.
You can incorporate deep breathing into your sleep routine in different ways. You might want to start with a simple method that focuses on slow, even breaths:
- Lie down on your back.
- Place one hand on your stomach.
- Breathe in slowly.
- Hold your breath for a second when you feel your stomach rise.
- Exhale slowly.
If you often have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, you may want to speak with a medical professional specializing in wake-sleep cycles.
Before your appointment, consider keeping a sleep diary that lists the time it takes you to fall asleep. Note any questions you have for your health professional, including whether you might want to consider natural sleep remedies, therapy, or if medication is necessary.
Falling asleep faster often means longer and better rest. Consider combatting stress at bedtime through deep breathing, meditation, and scheduled worry time. White noise, a warm bath, writing, regular exercise, and limiting electronics may all help you get good sleep at night.