We all know how miserable it can be when you toss and turn in bed at night, unable to get off to sleep. We try desperately to fall asleep so that we aren’t exhausted the next morning. Ironically, the act of trying so hard to fall asleep can actually make us more anxious, and therefore it becomes even more challenging to fall asleep. Furthermore, according to the National Sleep Foundation, it should only take you ten to twenty minutes to fall asleep after getting into bed. If you struggle to relate to that narrow timeframe, you’re not alone.
Fortunately, we have some top tips for you on how to fall asleep faster, provided to us by a night shift worker of all people. Imagine travelling home from work in the early light of the morning and feeling pressure to fall asleep as soon as you’ve arrived. It can’t be easy resting your head on the pillow once the noise of the day has begun and most people are awake and active. However, Andy (a busy care home manager who keeps things running at all hours) has a knack for falling asleep within ten minutes every time! He has kindly shared his seven top tips to help you drift off as quickly as he does. Let’s dive straight in.
Tip #1: Eat The Right Foods Before Going To Bed
Contrary to popular belief, it is okay to snack before bed. But, it must be the right sort of snack. Avoid unhealthy, sugary options and instead, opt for a light-calorie snack with carbohydrates such as whole-grain bread or crackers. These sorts of foods can help you to unwind and consequently fall asleep faster. Other foods that can be sleep-promoting thanks to their nutrient profiles include milk, cherries, fatty fish and kiwi.
While Andy loves a good Americano, he avoids drinking coffee at least six hours before he goes to bed. Generally speaking, the more caffeine you drink, the less sleep you’ll end up getting. Research has also shown that adults who consume more caffeine report poor quality of sleep.
Extra tip: If you love a warm beverage in the evenings but don’t want to sacrifice your sleep for it, try herbal tea instead. Or, if coffee is irresistible, choose a decaf option.
Tip #2: Indulge In A Warm Shower Or Bath
Another tip is to take a warm bath or shower between one and two hours before bedtime. The feeling of being clean can be a massive de-stressor for people. Plus, the temperature change of your body from the shower can also be sleep-promoting as it helps you relax and unwind. Research backs up this top tip from our night shift worker, as it has been found that taking a quick shower or soothing bath before bedtime can help people fall asleep 36% faster! As you can imagine, Andy rarely has time for a bath, but he does swear by a warm shower before bed.
Tip #3: Keep Away From Your Devices At Bedtime
You’ve probably heard this warning time and time again. However, there’s a reason for it. You really do want to put away all your electronic devices at least thirty minutes before you go to bed – or at least adjust the brightness levels and put them in silent mode. The reason for this is that the blue light (which is emitted from these devices) prohibits melatonin production. Melatonin is the body’s natural sleep hormone. If we don’t have melatonin, we don’t feel sleepy, and we struggle to fall asleep.
Extra tip: If you really can’t bear to be away from your device at bedtime, consider blue light glasses, which prevent the blue light from penetrating our eyes and disrupting our melatonin levels. According to Andy, they can be very useful.
Tip #4: Keep Consistent Bedtimes And Wake Times
Our trusty night shift worker also claims that keeping consistent bedtimes is imperative wherever possible. It is essential to go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time each night and day. This is because our body clocks love routine, and if our sleep schedules fluctuate, it can make both falling asleep and waking up the following day much more difficult.
Tip #5: Get Into The Habit Of Reading Before Sleep
Part of the problem we have in falling asleep is that we often don’t unwind sufficiently first. Settling down at the end of each day is an absolute must if you want to fall asleep quickly. One excellent way to feel more relaxed is to snuggle up with a book. Reading before sleep can lower your stress levels and calm you down for the rest of the evening.
Extra tip: If you struggle to muster up the motivation to read from time to time, you may want to listen to a podcast instead. After all, what could be easier than having someone else read you a story? Here, Andy enjoys a good crime fiction, but you might want to choose something with a more relaxing mood.
Tip #6: Block Out Any External Noise
Outside noise can be a real obstacle when it comes to falling asleep – particularly for people who work intense hours. Night shift workers tend to get home at a time when nearly everyone else is getting ready to go to work. The noise of the hustle and bustle can be a considerable disadvantage to falling asleep. This is why Andy claims it is a wise idea to try and block out any distracting external noise. One way to do this is to close windows and see if there are other ways to minimise noise. Another option is to invest in foam earplugs so you can leave the outside world outside.
Extra tip: Introducing a white noise machine to your bedroom can help drown out any external sounds like a busy street or loud neighbours.
Tip #7: Try A Natural Sleep Supplement
Last but certainly not least, Andy recommends trying a natural sleep supplement that contains Valerian root powder. Not only could this help you to fall into a peaceful sleep, but it is also conducive to other tips already listed. It can help you to unwind and makes all the other tips worthwhile. The specific product that our night shift worker uses and swears by is one that we will take a closer look at now.
Night Caps are innovative sleeping capsules created by experts at Yawns. These capsules are intended to help you to switch off your mind and body each night, putting your sense of wellbeing first. In addition, each capsule is 100% organic and is full of intriguing plant extracts. Here are some of the natural sources you can find in every dose:
- Ashwagandha powder: Also known as Indian ginseng, this fascinating herb has many properties. It may help manage some of the stress symptoms and low moods that might otherwise keep you awake at night. If that wasn’t enough, it might also affect blood sugar levels, signs of inflammation, cholesterol-related symptoms and natural brain processes.
- Valerian root powder: This plant is both trusted and used all over the world. It has the potential to help you get off to sleep, and it may also reduce some anxiety-related symptoms.
- Griffonia seed extract: This extract can potentially influence your serotonin levels (a hormone that assists in fighting depression symptoms and helps to affect how we feel). Griffonia seeds may also impact weight loss efforts, reduce migraine frequency, and possibly help you sleep more peacefully and quickly.
- Black pepper powder: Yes, you read that right. Black pepper is not only a well-known spice found in many kitchens, but it also has many extraordinary properties. It is high in antioxidants and may also have some anti-inflammatory benefits. It might also affect our natural brain processes, cholesterol-related symptoms, and our blood sugar levels.
As you can see, many of the properties we have just read work in harmony with broader relaxation efforts and may help us to settle down to sleep with fewer delays. Night Caps boast an impressive list of potential benefits and are designed to help you pursue optimal sleep.
Now that Andy’s top tips have been shared, the rest is down to you. Why not put some of his ideas into practice and see if your sleep becomes more meaningful. Whether it’s getting into the routine of reading at night or supplementing your sleep with natural plant extracts, these tips should help to prepare you for a more peaceful night.