In the darkness of that room, with your face smashed against a soft pillow and your muscles still tensed from the day, your body keeps turning to the left and right, trying to find a comfortable position and finally fall asleep. Seems like one of the hardest things ever, doesn’t it? You can’t sleep well and therefore the next day, you’ll feel tired and less productive. Personally, I’m a night owl and I had this problem many times.
The biggest of cliché solutions have never helped me. I’m talking about things like “drink a cup of chamomille” or the classic “counting sheeps till you fall asleep”; however, you should try. Afterall, if so many people suggest it, it must’ve helped someone. In this guide, I’ll discuss about the advices that have actually helped me in such situations.
1 . AIR
You won’t be able to sleep well if the room lacks oxygen. Open the windows in your room for at least five minutes before going to sleep. The room shouldn’t be too hot or too cold, around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) should be perfect. I wrote “should” instead of “would” because some people prefer cooler rooms while other prefer warmer ones, therefore, it also depends on your body’s needs. Just look at how you feel. Does it feel too hot? Too cold? Or is it perfect? Your body knows its needs and it’ll instantly let you know them if you listen to it.
2 . WATCH OUT FOR THE PRODUCTS YOU USE
I’m talking about various kinds of products.
- Mosquito repellent for some reason has always interfered with my sleep. I still don’t know exactly why, but in your place I’d avoid using it in my room.
- Many esperts have blamed devices such smartphones, tablets and computers for interfering with our sleep and ruining its quality. This is caused by the so called “Blue Light Effect”. That kind of light is “short-wavelenght enriched”. In simpler terms, it has a higher concentration of blue light than natural light, tricking the mind into thinking it’s sunlight. The brains melatonin levels get “suppressed”, rising at a much slower phase. The melatonin is essential for the body’s natural clock to work adequately. If melatonin doesn’t rise at the speed it is supposed to, the clock gets shifted, resulting in sleeping problems and possible devastating, terrible effects on the body. BUT THERE’S A BUT! If you really want to use a luminous device before going to sleep, the trick is dimming a lot its light and to held them at a safe distance from your face, which is at least 14 inchees (if you want to learn more about this topic, check this link out). However, I don’t suggest this because it slowly ruins your sight and also because those devices still transmit radiations that are surely not good for the body.
- Turn off your phone, your computer, your tablet and any other electronic device you have. Because even if you don’t use them, megabytes and gigabytes of data are passing through you every minute, going for example, from the phone to the modem and from the modem to the phone. By turning all devices off, you’re stopping this process and it’ll help you sleep better (at least, it has helped me, so, I suppose it’ll help you too).
3 . WHAT YOU EAT AND DRINK
It’s no secret that if you drink a coffee before going to bed it’ll be much harder to fall asleep, but what somebody might not know is that there are other products that could be interfering too. For example:
- The burgers and fries (as if you needed another reason to stop eating junk food),
- Decaffeinated coffee,
- All kinds of cola,
- Some medicines,
- (Ironicly) Alcohol too, for although it can help you fall asleep you faster, you may experience frequent awakenings, headaches, nightmares, sweating and also much less restfull sleep. If you’re drinking alcohol in the evening, never drink it on an empthy stomach. Slowly drink it while you’re eating your dinner and possibly drink a glass of water for each glass of alcoholic drink you drank (it’ll help dilute alcohol’s effects).
- Heavy and spicy foods should be avoided at least four hours before going to sleep. They can cause nightmares, digestion problems and acidity.
- Eating too many proteins before sleeping isn’t a great idea, for they’re harder to digest (unless you eat your dinner very early, at 6 or 7 PM. In that case, eat what you want). Dinner should be lighter than lunch. In Georgia (the country by the Black Sea, not the American state) there’s a saying that in my opinion summs it up perfectly.
Eat the breakfast for yourself, share the lunch with a friend and leave the dinner to your enemy
- Don’t drink too much of anything (not even water) before going to sleep. Staying hydrated during the day is important, but the phrase itself says “during the day”. If you drink too much during the evening or night, you’ll have to get up and go to the bathroom, and obviously, that will interrupt your sleep.
- Smoking. Nicotine is a stimulant with effects that are similar to caffeine’s. Avoid smoking before going to bed or if you wake up in the middle of the night.
If you want to have a night snack, keep it little. And if you want to specifically eat something that’ll help you sleep, try with dairy products.
4 . SOME PSYCHOLOGY
Our mind associates places with activities and other things, such as smell, sounds, sensations etc. Therefore, it’d be better if you’d avoid working or doing anything else in bed (of course, except making love), otherwise, your brain will associate that place with working and therefore it’ll think you need to be productive when you’re there, forcing you to stay awake. But as always, there’s the exception that confirms the rule… a great thing you could do to fall asleep is to read something before trying to. It could help a lot and if it won’t, well, at least you’re doing something productive with your time, right?
If you can’t fall asleep, it could be because your mind is overthinking about something (the list of possibilities is long: problems, events, situations, passions, work etc…)
In that case, the only thing I can suggest you is to rationally think about a solution, and once you find it,
(I know it sounds trivial, but many people seem to forget this).
5 . DREAM ON
Although it’s not about sleeping at night, Aerosmith‘s song (Dream On) is a perfect advice for many cases (and also one of my favorite songs). Who said that you need to sleep to dream? Sometimes you need dreams to sleep. If you must think about something, at least let it be something fun. Lay in a comfortable position, close your eyes and start immagining whatever you wan, just make sure it’s something good (by immagining sad or scary things it’s much more unlikely that you’ll fall asleep). For example:
- Try immagining the life you wish you lived.
- Try immagining how you’d decorate your ideal house.
- Try immagining your perfect love story.
Who knows? You might even get an idea to achieve those dreams.
And that’s all I can suggest you about how to fall asleep. Please, if you have any other advice, write it in the comments.