Good sleep is incredibly important. It helps you feel good and makes your body and brain function properly.
Some people have no problem falling asleep. However, many others have severe difficulty falling and staying asleep through the night.
Poor sleep can have negative effects on many parts of your body and brain, including learning, memory, mood, emotions, and various biological functions
1. Lower the temperature
Your body temperature changes as you fall asleep. Your body cools down when you lie down and warms up when you get up (Trusted Source).
If your room is too warm, you might have a hard time falling asleep. Setting your thermostat to a cool temperature between 60–67°F (15.6–19.4°C) could help.
Individual preferences will vary, so find the temperature that works best for you.
2. Taking a warm bath or shower
Taking a warm bath or shower could also help speed up the body’s temperature changes. As your body cools down afterward, this can send a signal to your brain to go to sleep.
One literature review found that taking a hot bath or shower before bed could improve certain sleep parameters, such as sleep efficiency and sleep quality.
Sleep efficiency refers to the amount of time you spend asleep in bed as opposed to lying awake.
People who took baths or showers measuring between 104°F–108.5°F (40.0°C–42.5°C) 1 to 2 hours before bedtime experienced positive results.
They reported improvements in their sleep even if their baths or showers lasted for as little as 10 minutes.
The “4-7-8” method that Dr. Andrew Weil developed is a simple but powerful breathing method that promotes calmness and relaxation. It might also help you unwind before bed.
It’s based on breath control techniques learned from yoga, and it consists of a breathing pattern that relaxes the nervous system. It can be practiced any time you feel anxious or stressed.
First, place the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth.
- Exhale completely through your mouth and make a “whoosh” sound.
- Close your mouth, and inhale through your nose while mentally counting to 4.
- Hold your breath, and mentally count to 7.
- Open your mouth and exhale completely, making a “whoosh” sound and mentally counting to 8.
- Repeat this cycle at least three more times.
This technique can relax you and help you fall asleep quickly.
4. Schedule sleep
Many people find that setting a sleep schedule helps them fall asleep easier.
Your body has its own regulatory system called the circadian rhythm. This internal clock cues your body to feel alert during the day but sleepy at night. Waking up and going to bed at the same time each day can help your internal clock keep a regular schedule. Give yourself 30–45 minutes to wind down in the evening before getting in bed. This allows your body and mind to relax and prepare for sleep
5. Experience both daylight and darkness
Light can influence your body’s internal clock, which regulates sleep and wakefulness. Irregular light exposure can lead to the disruption of circadian rhythms, making it harder to fall asleep and stay awake.
During the day, exposing your body to bright light tells it to stay alert. Both natural daylight and artificial light, such as the kind emitted from an e-reader, have this effect on your alertness.
At night, darkness promotes feelings of sleepiness. In fact, research shows that darkness boosts the production of melatonin, an essential hormone for sleep. In fact, the body secretes very little melatonin during the day.
Get out and expose your body to sunlight or artificial bright light throughout the day. If possible, use blackout curtains to make your room dark at night.
The bottom line
Having trouble falling and staying asleep is not only frustrating, but it can also affect your mental and physical health.