2. Try to Stay Awake
An unexpected strategy for trying to fall asleep fast is actually to try to stay awake. While it may sound counterintuitive, trying to stay awake can help you lessen the anxiety around trying to fall asleep.
Since falling asleep is an involuntary process, taking your mind off of the task at hand can give your brain the break it needs for you to stop counting sheep.
3. Go to Bed Later
The desire for sleep is dependent on the homeostatic sleep drive and the circadian rhythm. The longer a person stays awake, the more that a chemical signal for sleepiness (called adenosine) builds within the brain.
Sleep is, at least in part, a process of removing this chemical. If someone stays up later, more adenosine accumulates and it can become easier to fall asleep. Try delaying the bedtime by an hour to fall asleep faster.
4. Create a Bedtime Routine
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 times each day can help your internal clock keep a regular schedule.
Find your ideal sleep schedule. Identify the optimal times for you to go to bed and get up in the morning — then stick to them. Try to go to bed when you are tired enough to fall asleep within a reasonable time window- not too early and not too late. Then, get up at the same time every morning, including weekends.
Once your body adjusts to this schedule, it’ll be easier to fall asleep and wake up around the same time every day.
5. Turn Down Your Tech
With the prevalence of modern technology, surfing the internet before bed is more of a given than a question.
While it can be tough to turn off your tech, looking at your screen before bed can negatively impact your quality of sleep. Many devices emit a blue light that simulates sunlight — and while this is helpful before your morning coffee, it can do more harm than good when trying to hit the hay.
If you’re not able to completely part with your devices for an hour before bed, consider turning down your tech instead. Try listening to music, a calming podcast, or an audiobook for screen-free entertainment while you get ready for bed.