Have you ever felt so exhausted that you expected to fall asleep before your head even hit the pillow, only to lie awake for up to an hour tossing and turning, trying to get to sleep? I used to have trouble getting to sleep, no matter how tired I felt just minutes before. So approximately five years ago I set out to find a solution to my problem, and the result was a bedtime routine that helps me get to sleep in under five minutes. Yes, that’s right – five minutes – Every. Single. Night. So I’m going to share with you what I started doing, and what you can do too, to get to sleep faster every night, starting tonight!
No Screen Time
I’m pretty sure everyone in the world has heard this before. You should limit screen time at least an hour before you want to go to sleep. The blue light emitted from your computer or phone sends a signal to your brain telling it not to produce melatonin, the hormone that helps you get to sleep. Probably the best way to help you get to sleep faster at night, is to put down all electronics. But what am I supposed to do for an hour before I go to sleep, you ask?
It goes without saying that meditation is extremely beneficial to our health and wellbeing, but a lot of us don’t do it because we simply think we don’t have the time. Well guess what, now you have a whole hour to kill! What better time to start practice meditation? You don’t have to meditate for the full hour, even five to ten minutes will do wonders for your body.
Meditation will help clear your mind after a long and stressful day at work, which is one of the main reasons we can’t get to sleep, even if you feel exhausted. Meditation helps you feel calm and focused and it helps relax your body, especially if you’ve had an extra stressful day.
Have you ever tried drinking a herbal tea before bed? It’s not only super cozy and relaxing, but some of the ingredients are supposed to help with sleep. Just be sure it has absolutely no caffeine in it, and that you don’t drink it too close to bedtime, so you’re not up peeing all night!
As I mentioned above, one of the main reasons we can’t get to sleep fast at night is because our brains are so busy and it’s hard to turn it off. On top of meditating, journaling will help you to get all of those thoughts out, so you can relax and drift off to sleep. My favorite thing to journal about every night is gratitude. What you think about right before sleep, you keep thinking about throughout your sleep (your subconscious mind is always at work), so why not fill your thoughts with positive things that make you happy? Write down three things that you’re grateful for every single night, and watch even more things show up that make you grateful.
This was the very first thing I tried doing five years ago to help me sleep, and this alone has drastically changed the amount of time it takes me to fall asleep every night. Some nights, I feel so exhausted after a long day that I think I don’t need to read in bed, so I just turn the lights out and close my eyes. Half an hour later I’m tossing and turning and I’m wondering what the heck happened to exhausted Courtney? So I turn my lamp on, read a few pages of my book, and then I’m out like a light.
Obviously you don’t want to read from an e-Book that emits the blue light we spoke of earlier, because that will just make things worse. So if you must read an e-Book, like me, make sure the book light is turned off, and use a lamp so you can see.
Do the “4-7-8” Breathing Method
I have no idea where I originally heard of this from, but I remember reading about this breathing method a long time ago, and the moment I gave it a try, I was hooked. The 4-7-8 Breathing Method is a method that helps to calm and relax your nervous system, and it’s not just great for right before sleep. You can use this method anytime you feel stressed or anxious throughout your day. When I do it, I immediately feel extremely calm.
To do this breathing method, you simply close your eyes, take a deep breath in through your nose while mentally counting to four. You then hold your breath for seven seconds, and then slowly exhale through your mouth while counting to eight, completely emptying the lungs. Repeat this at least three times, and I promise you’ll wake up the next morning and you won’t remember falling asleep.
I want to hear your stories! Have you tried any of my suggested steps? What sort of things do you do to help you get to sleep faster at night? Let me know on social media!
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