Sleep has been the bane of my life ever since I was a little girl I am always searching for ways on how to fall asleep faster and also how to make sure you stay asleep all night.
When I was younger, I used to have problems going to sleep. Now that I am older I can fall asleep pretty quickly, but can’t seem to stay asleep for long. Then I wake up early hours of the morning, and I can’t get back into slumberland.
First of all, I am not into sleeping tablets. In desperation, I went and tried a few of the so-called natural ones that you don’t need a prescription for. They all worked quite well at getting you to relax and fall asleep, but boy when you wake up in the middle of the night, your mind starts racing and you just can’t get it to still. The problem was just exacerbated, and maybe sleeping pills don’t work for me.
What about a hot drink?
A hot milky drink was suggested before bed. This works quite well at getting to sleep faster, but I still couldn’t stay asleep all night. I tried Milo (gives you energy), Horlicks (gets one to fall asleep faster) and just plain hot milk with a touch of cinnamon.
I have recently gone onto Chamomile Tea, and have found that it works fantastically so far. You can read more about Chamomile Tea here.
Another great remedy that works very well that I have recently discovered is this concoction:
Mix together 1 teaspoon of pink Himalayan salt and 5 teaspoons of raw honey.
Stir well and pour into a sealed jar.
Every night before bed, take half a teaspoon of this remedy and hold it under your tongue. It should be instantly absorbed. If you prefer, simply add it to a glass of warm water and drink it like tea.
The Stages Of Sleep
There are five stages of sleep. Throughout the night you will cycle through all five stages, each cycle lasting 90 – 110 minutes.
You become drowsy, your muscle activities and eye movements slow down. You sometimes twitch and you are easily wakened.
Breathing, heart rate and temperature decrease. Your brain waves get slower with brief spikes.
Your brain produces delta waves (large and slow) with some quick, short spikes. This is when your heart rate and breathing are slowest.
Your breathing is rhythmical, eye movements have stopped and muscle activity is at its slowest. Brain waves are large, slow and calm.
Your brain is active and you experience vivid dreams. Your heart rate increases and your breathing becomes rapid and more irregular. Your eyes are active and your limbs are paralyzed.
Stage 3, 4 and 5 are considered the deep sleep stages.
Reasons One May Not Be Able To Sleep
Here are some of the reasons you may be suffering from insomnia in the first place:
- Noise levels (even if it is background noise).
- Major life changes.
- Excessive light including light from cell phones and other devices.
- The temperature of the room. It should be between 15 – 19.5 degrees celsius.
- Illness, stress, pain, anxiety or depression.
- Medication side effects.
- Restless legs syndrome.
- Insufficient exercise or exercise too close to bedtime.
- Sleep apnoea (a condition where breathing stops and starts repeatedly).
- A restless or disruptive sleep partner.
More Tips On How To Fall Asleep Faster
- Make sure you have a comfortable mattress.
- Buy a comfortable pillow.
- Wear cool comfortable clothing to bed, even if it is ugly.
- Some people can only fall asleep with the TV on. If you do, make sure you set the sleep button so it doesn’t wake you up later in the night.
- Try to develop a bedtime ritual like a warm bath or reading a book before bedtime.
- Get at least 15 – 30 minutes of natural sunlight during the day.
- Read a boring book.
- Turn off electronic gadgets.
- Try to get your mind off the worries of the day by making up a relaxing or fantasy story in your mind.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed as these stimulate your nervous system.
- Breath deeply. Try Weil’s 4-7-8 exercise to relax your body. (see video below)
- Calcium is a natural relaxing agent, along with several other vitamins, such as the B vitamins and magnesium.
- Don’t eat a heavy meal just before bedtime.
- Regular exercise promotes sleep, but not too close to bedtime or it will have the opposite effect.
- Try to keep your bedtime at the same time each evening. Waking up should also be at the same time each morning, even on weekends.
- Don’t stress (or try not to) about not being able to go to sleep.
- Make sure you have enough magnesium in your system. Lack of this mineral is another cause of your muscles being unable to relax and let you sleep.
- Practise 4 – 7 – 8 breathing to drift off faster. Press the tip of your tongue behind your top front teeth and exhale until your lungs feel empty. Slowly breathe in through the nose for a count of four. Hold the breath for seven, then exhale through the mouth so that the breath makes a whooshing sound for a count of eight. Repeat four times. If you can’t hold your breath for that long try a 2 – 4 – 4 rhythm instead.
- Put a couple of drops of pure lavender essential oil under your pillow as this also helps with sleep and anxiety.
- Click here for more sleep ideas.
Some Interesting Sleep Facts
Did you know that Victorian-era diaries show that before the arrival of electric light, adults slept ten hours at night, waking at around 2 am or 3 am to do work, and then going back to sleep until the sun rose?
This is called biphasic sleep and some scientists consider it to be a more normal way of sleeping than sleeping in solid eight hour chunks.
Have you ever experienced a hypnic jerk? This is when you are just drifting off to sleep feeling calm and comfy, and suddenly you are free-falling downwards, and just before you crash you are jolted awake.
This is called a hypnic jerk and it happens to at least 70 % of us. Scary as it feels, it’s just an involuntary twitch of the muscles which your brain interprets as falling.
Some Great Sleep Products
These are all great sleep products that one can purchase online at much less than the retailers would charge you.
Simply click on your product of choice to find out more about it.