The best ways to fall asleep quickly and improve your sleep quality

Falling asleep isn’t always as simple as placing your head on a pillow and shutting your eyes. Thoughts and worries might race their way through your mind, or getting comfortable might seem impossible. Fortunately, from relaxation techniques to changing your sleep routine, there are lots of ways to fall asleep quickly and improve your sleep quality.

Falling Asleep Faster

Try meditating to calm your mind and body. Breathe slowly and deeply, and visualize soothing imagery, such as clouds, a quiet beach, or a comfortable place from your childhood. Allow your thoughts to wander like passing clouds or rocking waves as you relax your muscles and sink into the bed.[1]

  • Try meditating before you hit the hay or while you’re trying to fall asleep. You could meditate on your own, search for a guided meditation online, or even use an app like Insight Timer, which can walk you through both guided and timed meditations.

Count slowly to ease racing thoughts. Start at 1 and slowly work your way up to stop worrisome thoughts from bouncing around your head.
Counting sheep (or another animal or object) might also help keep your thoughts from racing.

If you lose track, simply go back to 1 and start over.[2]

  • You could also try counting backward from a high number, like 300, or count forward or backward by 3.

Try progressive muscle relaxation exercises. Starting from the very tips of your toes, gradually flex and release all of your muscle groups 1 at a time. Breathe in as you tense your muscles for 5 seconds, then visualize the tension leaving your body as you relax.[3]

  • Relax for 10 seconds, then tense and relax your ankles. Continue to flex and release each muscle group, from your calves, thighs, torso, and upwards towards your neck.

Escape into your imagination instead of focusing on sleeping. Trying to force yourself to sleep can make you restless. Take your mind off of sleeping and think about something relaxing.[4]

  • Build your perfect house or room in your mind.
  • Picture a calm setting, and try to vividly imagine its soothing sights, sounds, and smells.
  • Invent a peaceful story; just don’t imagine an exciting adventure.

Block out unwanted noises. Noise can impact your ability to get to sleep as well as your overall sleep quality. Try listening to a radio program or podcast that’s not too engaging to help block out noise distractions such as traffic, as well as worrisome thoughts.[5]
Podcasts to Fall Asleep To
Try to listen to the same program every night to help relax your mind and distract yourself. Look for something that is soft-spoken instead of loud, and something that you enjoy but not so much that you will stay up just to listen to it. Here are a few recommendations:
Mysteries Abound with Paul Rex: Paul Rex explores intriguing mysteries and unsolved cases, but he does so in a soothing voice backed by dreamy music.
Sleep With Me with Drew Ackerman: Drew Ackerman created this podcast specifically because he had insomnia and he wanted to help people like him. Ackerman will edit stories, adding on tangents and qualifiers until they are as boring and long-winded as they can possibly be. He will then read them in his gravelly, calm voice.
Miette’s Bedtime Story Podcast: Nobody is too old for a good bedtime story! Enjoy Miette’s calming voice as she reads you a quality work of short fiction.[6]

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