How to fall asleep fast: Follow these 8 tips for better sleep tonight
We spoke with health experts about the dos and don'ts to getting better sleep. If you're ready to wake up feeling rejuvenated every morning, start following these simple tips to sleep well at night.
We know the feeling: you roll over to check your phone. It's two minutes before your alarm is supposed to go off, and you haven't gotten that quality sleep you’d wished for before your head hit the pillow. Wondering how you can sleep more deeply? No matter what, it seems like we could all do better in the shut-eye department. In 2019, electronics company Philips conducted international surveys trying to find out the quality of sleep in a number of countries, including India. Their findings showed that 73 per cent of the Indian respondents wanted to improve the quality of their sleep.
"There is no magic metric for how much sleep people need. The important thing is to pass through several distinctly different phases of sleep that, together, promote the rest and recovery we need for the day ahead," says Dr Anubhav Gupta, a general physician from Delhi. Experiencing each stage of sleep at night is also vital for "mood, alertness, general health, well-being, and longevity," he adds. "If you feel washed out when you wake up, if you're tired, fatigued, and especially if you're sleepy during the day, it may be that you're just not getting enough sleep for you," says Dr Gupta. Fortunately, there are things you can do to get a better night's sleep – starting tonight.
Read on for eight tips and tricks you should be following for better sleep: Think darkness, quiet and the perfect temperature.
1. Create a routine and stick to it
Routines aren't just helpful for little kids; they're great for everyone. "The best thing is to ensure that people keep a regular sleep or bed routine seven days a week, and avoid deviating by more than one hour," says Dr Gupta. You may have to stay up late to finish a project for work – or the show you're binge-watching – but try your hardest to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, he says.
2. Adjust your room temperature
Another quick fix is to simply change the temperature of your bedroom. "It is recommended that people keep the temperature in the room a little bit cooler: 22 or 23 degrees," says Dr Gupta. This is because hotter room temperatures tend to fragment sleep, he explains.
3. Watch your caffeine consumption
Now that your routine and room temperature are set, be sure to check your caffeine habits. Dietician and clinical nutritionist Geetanjali Shah says that if you need caffeine to get your day started, be sure to have it before 10 a.m. "Caffeine can last for as long as six to eight hours and it can disrupt the sleep architecture," she explained. Moreover, settling down with a mug of non-caffeinated tea can help you relax before bedtime. Studies show that drinking passionflower, chamomile and mint tea, which have relaxing properties, before going to bed can improve sleep quality.
4. Avoid heavy and fatty foods
While we're still on the topic of nutrition, you should avoid eating heavy, fatty foods before bed, as they "tend to lead to reflux and problems with discomfort," says Shah. Instead, choose to eat sleep-inducing foods as a nighttime snack. For example, honey or dairy, both of which contain compounds that may induce sleep, says Shah.
5. Cut back on the alcohol
If you like to relax with a glass or two of an alcoholic drink before bed, you may want to reconsider. According to Shah, "Alcohol can fragment your sleep, particularly in the first half of the night."
6. Exercise in the morning
A few simple changes in your diet can improve your sleep, which means you'll be able to wake up earlier and work out. "Exercise can actually improve sleep, particularly in the early part of the day," says Shah. Working out in the morning is great for your overall health and can help improve your sleep, but in case you're wondering: lunch workouts won't hurt you. But Shah says that exercise in the evening can be "quite disruptive."
7. Turn the electronics off
You can also improve your sleep by not using your electronics in bed. As fun as scrolling through Instagram and online shopping in bed can be, good sleep sounds a lot better. "I find that a lot of people bring electronics into the bedroom, they use their cellphone and all kinds of electronic devices that emit light, which tends to disrupt the sleep and wake-up cycle," says Dr Gupta. Electronics, alarm clocks, night lamps – all of these can prevent deep sleep. Turn off your TV before you drift off to sleep, get blackout curtains to keep outside light away, and cover anything else that's contributing to light pollution in your bedroom, he suggests.
8. Check your mattress and pillow
If you're tired all the time and wake up with aches and pains, then your mattress may be the thing that's keeping you from much-needed rest, says Dr Gupta. Even your pillow may be hindering, not helping, your sleep, so make sure you're sleeping on the right one for you. "Ideally, you should be sleeping on your back with a pillow behind your head," says Dr Gupta.