Like it or not, sometimes, not everyone feels tired when it's time to go to bed. Whether you drank too much Dr. Pepper close to bedtime or you need to wake up earlier than normal to catch a 5 AM flight, knowing how to make yourself tired is essential if you want to get enough shut-eye.
Plus, falling asleep more quickly can improve the quality of your sleep and help you get more deep sleep. In this article, we'll look at key ways to wind down in the evening so you can get better sleep for whatever is coming the next day.
It All Starts With Your Sleep Routine
Many of our sleep problems come from developing unhealthy sleep patterns that make it harder to fall asleep quickly. For many, the secret to getting tired and keeping their circadian rhythm in line starts with the bedtime routine. Here's what to do (and not do) to make your bedtime routine as relaxing as possible.
- Take a warm bath or shower. Not only are these relaxing, but they increase circulation, which helps your body temperature drop faster after you get out of the tub. This makes it easier to fall asleep. A 10-minute dip in the tub an hour before bed is best.
- Practice yoga. Research has found that practicing yoga during the day can help with just about every insomnia-related problem. Not only will you have an easier time falling asleep, but you'll be able to fall back asleep quickly if you wake up in the middle of the night.
- Turn down the thermostat. Hot nighttime temperatures can make it hard to fall asleep. The Sleep Foundation actually recommends you keep the thermostat between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Try wearing socks to bed. If your feet feel like ice blocks under the covers, especially after lowering the thermostat, try putting on socks before bedtime. While you want cool temperatures in your bedroom, keeping your feet warmer will improve circulation and help you feel more comfortable, signaling to your body that it's time for some shut-eye.
- Eat too close to bedtime. Eating dinner (or a large snack) shortly before bed can stimulate your stomach and kickstart the digestive process. This, combined with the energy from the food you just ate, can make it harder to fall asleep. Heavy or spicy foods can make it especially tough to fall asleep. If you really need a bedtime snack, skip the plate of nachos and have a healthy carb or protein like oatmeal or nuts.
- Drink too much before bed. Caffeine and alcohol will make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. But even if you're just having a cup of water, limit how much you drink right before bed. Otherwise, you may be getting up to go to the bathroom later.
- Use blue light-emitting devices. Few things are worse for your sleep hygiene than your cell phone. The blue light smartphones emit while you scroll through your social media feed makes you more alert and awake — the exact opposite of what you need at bedtime.
How to Make Yourself Tired, Faster
So what can you do once you're in bed and are trying to fall asleep? These hacks don't involve sleeping pills or counting sheep to get some zzz's. A consistent sleep schedule is a good start, but when you need to fall asleep earlier than normal or are having trouble feeling tired, these might just do the trick.
1. Practice Relaxing Your Muscles
Progressive muscle relaxation is a tried-and-true method that relaxes the body and calms the mind. Progressive muscle relaxation usually takes 10 minutes or less, depending on how much time you spend with each muscle group.
Start with the face, raising your eyebrows for 10 seconds, then release. Smile or grimace for 10 seconds, then release. The buildup and release of tension in the facial muscles helps them relax. Then, work your way down through the rest of your muscle groups, tensing and relaxing muscles in the shoulders and arms, the chest, back, abs, and butt, and finally, your legs and feet. You'll be able to feel the stress releasing from your body.
2. Try 4-7-8 Breathing
Breathing exercises can also promote sleepiness as you get ready for dreamland. 4-7-8 breathing is a deep breathing cycle where you inhale through the nose for four seconds. After inhaling, hold your breath for seven seconds, and then exhale through your mouth for eight seconds. Try to repeat this cycle at least four times to relax the body so you'll feel ready to fall asleep.
3. Snuggle Up With a Weighted Blanket
Ear plugs and a white noise machine aren't the only ways to improve your sleep environment. Sleeping with a weighted blanket will help you feel tired by applying a gentle, yet firm pressure known as deep touch pressure therapy. This soothing pressure helps the body release serotonin and dopamine. These naturally occurring chemicals relieve feelings of anxiety and overstimulation so you can feel relaxed and ready to fall asleep.
4. Enjoy a Cup of Chamomile Tea
While drinks like coffee or beer will make it hard to enjoy good sleep, a cup of chamomile tea could be the perfect thing to send you off to slumberland. The flavonoids in chamomile tea are believed to have a calming effect that makes it easier to fall asleep. You don't need to drink a whole bucket of tea to enjoy these benefits, either. Take a few sips, and then set your teacup on your nightstand as you drift off to sleep.
5. Read a Good Book
Reading can be a relaxing, soothing activity that helps your eyelids start feeling heavy. Bedtime reading has been found to help children sleep better, and as long as you're not reading on a blue light-producing tablet, it's the perfect activity before you doze. However, you might avoid a page-turning thriller that'll keep you up for "just one more chapter."
6. Don't Be Afraid to 'Reset'
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you won't be able to fall asleep as fast as you like. If you've been lying in bed for over 15 minutes, get up. Find something relaxing to do outside of the bedroom, like jotting down some notes in your journal or doing a brief stretching routine. This helps your mind and body reset when you get back in bed so you'll be ready to start the "getting tired" process over again. You're a lot more likely to get tired this way than if you just lie there staring at your alarm clock.
Get Better Sleep With a Hush Weighted Blanket
If you need help getting a good night's sleep, a Hush Weighted Blanket could be just what you need. Our signature weighted blankets provide deep touch pressure therapy that relaxes the nervous system so you can fall asleep quickly. Curling up under one of these blankets feels like you're getting wrapped up in a comfy hug, helping your body release calming serotonin and melatonin so you can snooze sooner.
Whether you have trouble sleeping almost every night or you're wondering how to make yourself tired so you don't suffer crazy jet lag on your next trip, our weighted blankets offer a soothing solution. Backed by a 100-night guarantee, they are sure to make a big difference in your sleep quality.