Doctors recommend that adults get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each and every night—but an estimated 30% of American adults sleep less than six hours a night. With nearly a third of Americans suffering from chronic sleep deprivation, it's no wonder that so many are searching for ways to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Days are busy and responsibilities can get in the way, so being able to wind down quickly for a quality night of sleep should be on the top of every adult's list.
Do you have trouble winding down at the end of a long day? Try these 5 simple tips to get to sleep faster, so you can finally get the recommended amount of sleep for a better morning.
Swap sudden noises for consistent sound
Contrary to popular belief, it's not actually noise that keeps you awake—it's sudden changes in the noises around you. So if you're sound asleep but hear a sudden creak or scratching sound, you'll be roused awake and out of restorative deep sleep. So rather than trying to cut out bothersome noises altogether, opt for some calming music or white noise to disguise sudden sounds that might wake you.
Relax your body
Falling asleep requires that your body completely relax, which is easier said than done after a long and tense day. In order to relax your entire body, close your eyes and focus on each part of your body individually, starting from your toes and working your way up. By focusing energy on relaxing each set of limbs from the bottom up, you'll be able to more easily calm your mind as well as your muscles.
Keep your bedroom cool
This may seem silly, but the truth is that we sleep better when we are cooler. Keeping your bedroom at 65 degrees or cooler allows you to sleep deeper and fall asleep faster. Plus, sleeping cooler reduces the chances of sweating, which can degrade the upper layers of your mattress. However, if night sweats and sleeping hot are consistent problems you have, consider opting for a specialized cooling mattress for even better cooling effects.
Turn off your electronics
We're all guilty of scrolling through our phones when we should be focusing on getting to sleep—but phone use in bed could be even worse for our sleep than you might realize (and this infographic shows just how big of an impact phone use can have on sleep quality).
The blue light emitted from digital devices triggers the production of hormones and chemicals that keep us awake, and discourages the production of healthy "sleepy" chemicals like melatonin. Shut off your electronics and opt for a book instead about an hour before you plan to sleep.
Shut your mind off
Setting aside the cares of the day is no easy task, so try visual exercises to give your mind something to focus on in order to fall asleep. Many swear by the classic concept of "counting sheep", while others focus on taking slow breaths in and out as they "draw" a square in their mind. By inhaling and exhaling on each line in this square, they can regulate their breathing and pull their thoughts away from distracting anxieties that could keep them awake.