10 tips for falling asleep fast

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Few workweek roadblocks are more frustrating than trying (and failing) to catch enough sleep ahead of a busy day. Throw smartphone screens, workplace stress and old-fashioned restlessness into the mix, and falling asleep can feel like you’re stuck on a slow road to nowhere. Thankfully, there are ways you can make falling asleep easier. 

Here are 10 effective fast lanes to dreamland:

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1. Don’t check your phone

It’s one of the modern age’s most vicious cycles: You can’t sleep, so you decide to surf the web until weariness kicks in. Unfortunately, your phone’s bright light can trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime, moving the goal of shuteye even farther down the road. Sure you can change the settings so a bluer light shows up at night, but that doesn’t help everyone. It can be difficult to resist the urge, but you’ll fall asleep faster if you don’t check your phone, computer or television. Your morning self will thank you, too.

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2. Try to stay awake

You read that right. This technique, called “paradoxical intent,” is aimed squarely at the stress that inevitably comes with trying to force slumber. Think about it; worrying about how many hours are left in the night is hardly peaceful, but staring at the ceiling is much better in comparison. Most sleepers stand a greater chance of drifting off when they’re not worried about doing so.

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3. Take a shower

A hot shower is great anytime. They exfoliate your skin, warm you up and wash away the grime (literal or not) of the day. All of that translates to reduced stress, which is why taking a shower right before bedtime can result in falling asleep faster. Plus, stepping out of a warm shower and into a cool room slows your metabolism, making you feel more tired.

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4. Listen to music or soothing sounds

An oldie, but a goodie. Studies consistently demonstrate that listening to calming music can help you reach sleep more quickly. Additionally, a growing wealth of calm sound media, especially YouTube channels, have sprung up in recent years, making the sound of rainfall or swaying branches only a click away. Plugging in and pressing play can also drown out noisy neighbors; win-win.

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5. Avoid overeating

It’s never a good idea to go to bed hungry, but it’s usually worse to go to bed fresh off a feast. Eating a large meal right before bedtime affects much more than your waistline — it may also accelerate your metabolism, making dreamland more difficult to reach. In addition to precluding restful sleep, lying down while digesting can lead to all sorts of unpleasantness, including heartburn. Long story short, go with a light snack if you’re feeling peckish at bedtime.

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6. Avoid caffeine

This tip may seem gratuitous, but bedtime no-nos aren’t always as obvious as a cup of joe. Certain teas contain 48 mg of caffeine per cup. Green tea, iced tea and even hot chocolate all have it, too. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a warm beverage before bed, but if sleep seems hard to come by, it may be prudent to double-check whether that tea really is sleepytime.

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7. Perform yoga

Exercising before bed is a difficult topic to tackle. Some folks can snooze fresh off a miles-long run, while others’ systems may surge with adrenaline even hours after a workout. No matter how you’re wired, though, studies show that relaxing exercises like yoga can allow you to burn some calories without also torching your rest. Yoga can also calm anxiety and soothe your body, priming you for imminent slumber.

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8. Maintain a schedule

This is a tough one, especially if you work irregular hours or like to stay out late on weekends, but it might just save your sleep. The brain has a real affinity for rhythms, so it’s easier to fall asleep quickly if you hit the hay at the same time each night.

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9. Avoid napping

It can be tempting to while away free time with a big nap, but your system will log that sleep and you’re likely to pay for it later — like at 3 a.m. Naps are one of life’s greatest blessings, but they can be a curse if you’ve got somewhere to be tomorrow morning.

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10. Read

There are a million great reasons to read, and faster sleep is one of them. Countless studies affirm what most readers already know: Reading is a relaxing activity whose stress reduction can have you sawing logs in record time. There are a few exceptions to this rule, though. Reading a scary or emotionally charged book is rarely conducive to sleep, while e-books present the bright screen problem mentioned earlier.

This article was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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