From workplace worries to late-night cravings, some nights, falling asleep can be difficult. And it can be easy to let the day’s stresses follow you into the bedroom and keep you up at night. Luckily, with the help of a few quick tricks, falling asleep at night doesn’t have to be such a tricky task. And in order to be your most productive self tomorrow, you’ve got to learn how to tackle tonight, get some Zzz’s and hit reset.
To help you out, here are seven simple tricks to help you fall asleep faster.
1. Shut off screens 30 minutes before bed.
One of the simplest, yet hardest, habits to kick is to stop looking at any screens at least thirty minutes before going to bed. However, thanks to social media and the internet, this can feel almost impossible at times. That’s why you might consider turning off your electronics altogether or at least putting them on sleep mode.
According to research, laptops, smartphones and tablets emit rays of blue and white lights that can prevent our bodies from releasing melatonin, which is the hormone that helps us fall asleep.
2. Eat a bedtime snack.
And we’re not referring to cold pizza or Chinese food leftovers. Instead, to help get your body into sleep mode, try eating some sleep-inducing bedtime snacks like a slice of cheese, some peanut butter, a bowl of cereal with skim milk or a couple of apple slices as recommended by Everyday Health.
Each of these food items contain tryptophan, which is an amino acid that helps produce serotonin — a chemical in the brain that aids in the sleep process.
3. Write out a to-do list the night before.
Oftentimes, the stresses of tomorrow’s to-dos can keep us from get a proper night of rest. One easy hack to help push your worries aside in order to get some sleep is to write out your to-do list the night before. According to a recent study, people who wrote out their to-do lists the night before were able to fall asleep much quicker than people who did not.
4. Avoid afternoon naps.
Naps are great — they can help you feel refreshed and hit reset. However, there’s a time and a place for naps and unfortunately, a two-hour nap in the middle or end of your work day is not it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though.
Late afternoon naps can not only lead you to feeling groggy and unproductive afterwards, but they can also affect your body’s ability to fall asleep at night. If you’re in need for a nap, the National Sleep Foundation recommends a brief 20-minute snooze early in the afternoon.
Late naps, whether they are 20 minutes or two hours, can prevent you from falling asleep at bedtime.
5. Set an actual bedtime.
While it might bring you back to memories of your childhood, it turns out, bedtimes are not only for kids. In fact, it’s a great habit to carry into adulthood. By maintaining a regular sleep schedule, you’ll reduce the amount of time you spend tossing and turning every night just trying to fall asleep.
A recent study discovered that people who changed from an irregular sleep schedule to a regular one, found themselves getting up to 45 minutes of extra sleep time every night.
6. Exercise in the morning.
If you’re someone who likes to hit the gym at 8 or 9 p.m. at night, it might be time to reconsider your routine. In fact, going to the gym late at night might be the culprit for your sleepless nights.
The National Sleep Foundation advises people to do any sort of intense workouts in the morning or afternoon because intense workouts raise blood pressure and increase your heart rate — all things that are bound to keep you up at night.
To get a handle not only on your sleep but also your racing thoughts or up-and-down emotions, one great approach is to practice mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation is a mind-calming practice that focuses on a person’s breathing and awareness to the present moment.
Luckily, with the help of apps, guided meditation classes and free online resources, learning how to meditate is easily achievable. And it’s definitely something to pursue — an earlier study examined two groups of people: one group that attended a mindfulness meditation workshop for six weeks and another who completed a sleep education course.
In the end, participants who completed the mindfulness meditation program had less insomnia, fatigue and lower rates of depression that people who attended the sleep education course.