5 Hacks To Fall Asleep Instantly That Are All Backed By Science
Life is pretty hard in general, but I find sleep to be one of the most difficult things to do. Personally, it's really not the staying asleep I find to be the main issue; it's the falling asleep part that usually causes me grief, because more often that not I simply struggle to do so, tossing and turning while totally wide awake. In 2018, my big plan is to start trying hacks to fall asleep instantly that have at least a little bit of science behind them. This way, I can see if I really am as hopeless a case of insomnia as I sometimes worry I am.
Now, is there really a foolproof, one-size-fits-all way to do anything in this world, let alone fall asleep instantly? I'm inclined to say no, there isn't. But since, according to the American Sleep Association, 50 to 70 million adults in the U.S. adults suffer from a sleep disorder, it's pretty important that those of us who need a little extra help turning down for the night try whatever we can to remedy the problem. As I'm sure you know, a lack of regular, rejuvenating sleep can really, really take a toll on your health, not to mention your mood.
So, who's with me, hopeful sleepers? Try some of these sleep hacks below tonight while you're trying to catch some Zs, and with any luck, we'll all be on our way to dreamland in no time.
1. Cool Down Your Brain
Not only does this (admittedly weird looking) little gadget help you fall asleep, it's apparently all-around better for your health than sleeping in the heat.
According to TIME, a study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine showed that keeping your brain cooled down can help with insomnia. Since those of us who struggle to snooze usually have higher-than-average brain activity in our frontal lobes (the area of the brain that deals with stuff like reasoning and planning), all that thinking literally makes the brain hotter — too hot, in fact, to shut off for the night.
Of course, a simple solution is to keep your bedroom at a cool temperature when you go to sleep, or to invest in a cooling mattress pad, but if you want to get hardcore, you can also get one of these comical looking caps.
2. Take A Sleepy Supplement At Bedtime
This one, my friends, I have actually tried recently, and before the pretty severe insomnia that always accompanies my PMS hit my body, it seemed to be working like a charm. Why does it work, you may ask?
Chemically speaking, magnesium both boots up the parasympathetic nervous system (which is basically the body's control room for calming you down), which ultimately helps you relax and chill out. It also happens to regulate the body's sleep hormone, melatonin. Give it a try!
3. Do This One Breathing Technique
While I've tried lots of different breathing techniques for sleep before — to varying degrees of success — this one seems to be the most popular and effective for lulling you to dreamland in, get this, one minute.
Here's how you do it: Inhale to a count of four, hold your breath for a count of seven, and exhale for a count of eight. Repeat as much as you need to.
Now, why does this work? Well, breath retention also does a calming number on the parasympathetic nervous system, and it can also help to slow and cool down your brain.
4. Keep Your Socks On
Sure, it's been long joked about that keeping your socks on in bed is the least sexy sleep habit of all time. But for a good rest and fast fall into slumber, while science says to keep your head cool, you're going to want to keep those toes nice and toasty. A study published in the international science journal Nature found that keeping your feet warm (and, as a result, your blood vessels dilated) helps you fall asleep more quickly.
5. Splash Your Face With Some Cold Water
You'd think your body would go wild with all these varying temperatures, but science say otherwise: Dunk your face or head in water that is all kinds of freezing cold. The logic behind this is similar to the sleeping cap or cooling your room, but the dunk specifically allows for an added shock-and-relax response to your nervous system.
How to do it? This technique suggests filling your sink with ice and ice cold water and dunking your head in for as long as you can possibly tolerate. Apparently, the effects on your sleep are felt immediately.
If you need me, I'll just be over here, dunking my head in ice, while wearing a pair of wool socks, of course.