How To Fall Asleep Naturally

Quit tossing and turning—we can help you grab eight hours of shut-eye with ease.

Instructions

  • Step 1: When you're drowsy, get in bed. If you try to sleep before you're tired, you'll likely just lie there, becoming more alert as you concentrate on being awake.
  • Step 2: Wear loose-fitting clothes that don't feel tight on your skin. Some studies suggest sleeping naked is the best way to stay comfortable!
  • TIP: For some people, reading something boring is better than a sleeping pill!
  • Step 3: Read a book or magazine in a quiet place other than your bed to focus your mind and keep it from rehashing the day's problems or tomorrow's stresses. Read in low light to lull you into a sleep state.
  • TIP: Try to be asleep between 10 P.M. and 2 A.M. This is when your body is primed for deep restorative sleep, the kind that makes you wake up feeling refreshed and energized.
  • Step 4: Lie back with your arms at your sides and breathe deeply and consciously relax your muscles, especially your jaw.
  • FACT: In 2005, over 43 million prescriptions for sleeping pills were filled.
  • Step 5: Count the number of seconds that you take between inhaling and exhaling. It's the same principle as counting sheep. Pleasant dreams
  • TIP: Many people find mental tricks helpful, like counting backwards from 100 by sevens or adding two and three digit numbers. Or pick a word and keep spelling it, backward and forward.
  • Step 6: Give yourself 15 minutes to fall asleep. If you're still wide-awake, get up and do something soothing (like reading a book) until you begin to feel drowsy.
  • Step 7: Try to quiet or block out any noise that might disturb you, whether it's a ticking clock or traffic. Use a sound machine to create a soothing atmosphere, a fan for white noise, or wear earplugs.
  • Step 8: Make your bedroom as close to pitch black as possible—no nightlights or uncovered windows, and face the glowing alarm clock away from you. Or wear a soft eye mask.
  • Step 9: Avoid exercising for roughly two hours before you want to climb into bed. An elevated heart rate will prevent you from relaxing.
  • Step 10: Don't eat for two hours before you want to go to sleep. Digestion takes energy, energy that will keep you awake.
  • TIP: If worries get your mind buzzing at bedtime, schedule a daily "worry period" to work through your issues.
  • Step 11: Go to sleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning to "set" your sleep clock to a schedule.
  • TIP: Don't smoke before bed; like caffeine, nicotine is a stimulant.
  • Step 12: Buy a great bed. Not a good bed, a great bed.
  • TIP: Only use your bed for sleeping and intimacy. If you read or watch TV on it, your mind will associate your bed with an activity, not sleep.
  • Step 13: Keep your bedroom cool but not cold, and have an extra blanket or two on hand to keep you warm.
  • TIP: If you can't get a whole new mattress set, consider buying a bed cover, like a feather or pillow-top mattress pad.
  • Step 14: Create a nightly routine that prepares you for bed, such as changing into your pj's, drinking soothing herbal tea, brushing your teeth, and washing your face. Eventually these will become mental signals that it's time to sleep.

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