The amount of time that it takes for you to sleep is actually a lot more important than what you. Think. There’s a much more science-y way of explaining this. However, let’s try to keep things straight forward! The goal in mind here, is to figure out how to fall asleep faster.
The truth is, the longer it takes for you to fall asleep, the more problematic it becomes. It pretty much ensures that there’s something going on. Most of the time, it can be blamed on an overactive mind, but sometimes the reality is a lot more serious.
This might seem shocking for some, but an article by the Huffington posts declares that 15-20 minutes is the “normal.” That means, that if you take any longer to fall asleep, then, that there’s something going wrong. It’s not all bad of course, but it could lead to sleep deprivation or even the onset of chronic insomnia.
WHY DO WE NEED SLEEP?
You’re no doubt aware of the importance of sleep. Even without being told directly, sleep is just something that we do. It’s something that our body does. If you get too little sleep or no sleep at all, your body will instinctively push you into a mode that demands rest.
It’s not hard to be familiar with the kind of effects that sleep deprivation can cause. However, it’s a lot more messy than what all of us can comprehend. Sleep is tied to tons of different functions in our body. Functions that regulate our energy levels, our weight, our emotions, and really - just our general health. If you don’t get enough sleep, then these functions will deteriorate. Little by little your body will begin to break down.
Here, Healthline describes all the different functions that sleep deprivation will cause to suffer. It lists out all the biological systems in our bodies that are affected by the lack of sleep. It’s fairly eye-opening. Here are just a couple of things that they had to say:
- Injuries and Accidents: Sleep Deprivation is a primary cause for accidents. Studies like this one on 2016 and another on 2017, proved that sleep loss greatly affects the quality of one’s driving. Although it might be crude, there have been many accidents that have lead to unfortunate deaths and injuries due to reckless drowsy
- Weight Gain: This is another thing that concerns many. It’s a very visual kind of side effect, one that many would definitely prefer to avoid.
- Damages to the Immune System: Not getting enough sleep increases the chances of you getting sick. Your immune system is weakened and your body is opened up to harmful chemicals, substances, and germs that could lead to even more damage.
Now that we know the importance of getting enough sleep, let’s answer our first question. What do you have to do to make yourself sleep faster? Well, there are actually tons of things for you to try. Some will be more effective to you than others, some less effective. It’s all about balance and weighing out which ones will work for you - and which won’t.
DON’T TRY TO SLEEP
It sounds dumb, but this is actually a lot more effective than what you would assume! Much like what was mentioned in the beginning, a hyperactive mind can lead to delays in sleep. It doesn’t matter what you’re thinking about, the more you think, the less sleep you’ll be getting.
If you absolutely must, try to find something to do for a couple of minutes. Get up, maybe get a glass of water - whether you need or not, and then go straight back to bed. Try not to think about going to sleep. In fact, don’t think about sleeping at all! Just let your mind think of other things. Ignore the ticking clock - the harder you try to sleep, the more difficult it becomes!
The key here is visualizing. It doesn’t matter what it is, just focus on an image. Heck, you can even plan out what you’re going to be doing the next day! Just make sure that your eyes stays closed, and that your breath is stable.
Focus on imagining yourself cooking breakfast, getting ready for work, eating lunch with a friend, etc. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated. If you’re not the planning type, you can even daydream a little. Re-enact a scene from a book that you just read or imagine one of your favorite characters in a different adventure. Just let yourself get lost in the images.
Going to bed when you’re all stressed out is a big no. Of course, it’s practically inevitable. If something wrong happens at work or if you get into a fight with someone you’re close to, then your body will become flushed with stress hormones. These stress hormones will keep you up for a long time, especially if you don’t deal with it properly.
So, what do you do when you’re in this situation? Well, you’re going to have to learn to de-stress. Flush out the stress hormones and replace it with something a little happier, and more suited for sleep. Here are a couple of things that you can try:
- Deep Touch Pressure Stimulation: This is a therapeutic process that requires little to no work. It starts with pressure that is applied to your skin, this (believe it or not) will lead to the decrease of stress hormones, and an increase in “happy” hormones like serotonin and dopamine. The best way to do this, is to wrap yourself up in weighted blankets. These are specifically made to provide a natural remedy for insomnia and stress. It’ll apply just the right type of pressure, and will cloak your body in a heavy hug that is much more comforting than any regular blanket.
- Aromatherapy: Rather than relying on touch, aromatherapy focuses more on scent. These scents are often referred to as essential oils. There are specific ones that focus on anxiety and insomnia, like lavender, rose, and chamomile.
The methods that we introduced here are just the tip of the iceberg. However, we made sure to focus on the most effective solutions. You can try out weighted blankets that are made to get your hormones back in order, or something more psychological - like the mental tricks that we alluded to today. Double it up if you have to! Light an incense stick as your daydream or cuddle up. It’s all about finding that balance.