Just about everyone has experienced a night where they lie tossing and turning, unable to fall asleep. For some people, this only happens every once in a while — like when their kids wake them up in the middle of the night because of a bad dream. But for others, a good night's sleep can seem impossible.
Over time, sleep deprivation can take a serious toll on your well-being. When you don't get enough shut-eye, you miss out on the rejuvenating health benefits of a full night's sleep. Not getting enough sleep night after night can hurt both your physical and mental health.
In this article, we'll take a look at some common reasons why you might have trouble falling asleep, as well as some sleep hacks to help you get the best sleep of your life.
Common Reasons Why You Can't Fall Asleep at Night
Aside from sleep disorders like sleep apnea and insomnia, there are many reasons why you might have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep from time to time.
- Nighttime anxiety: Stress from school or work, an argument with your spouse, or even your favorite team losing in overtime can leave you with nighttime anxiety. Stressors can cause your body to produce more cortisol than normal, which can throw off your circadian rhythm. This can cause your mind to feel wide awake as you stew over recent events.
- Your schedule is off: Few things are more important for quality sleep than a consistent sleep schedule — even on the weekend. Staying up past midnight on Friday when you're normally in bed by 9 p.m. can completely throw off your sleep cycle, making it harder for you to fall asleep at your normal bedtime over the next few days.
- You have a poor sleep environment: It's hard to snooze if your mattress is lumpy and the light from your alarm clock is keeping you up all night. Quite simply, if you're not comfortable, you probably won't fall asleep anytime soon, even if you’ve tried other sleep hacks.
- You're spending too much time with your device: Smartphones are fully ingrained in our lives, but the blue light they emit is extremely detrimental for sleep. That extra time you spend on Instagram right before bed can easily result in lost hours of sleep later. Stop using screens at least two hours before bed so you can fall asleep faster.
7 Sleep Hacks to Improve Your Sleep Quality
There are many ways to make yourself tired so you can enjoy more sleep time. However, the best sleep hacks largely come down to improving your sleep hygiene and your bedroom environment. These life hacks may seem simple, but they can go a long way in helping you enjoy deeper sleep.
1. Block Unwanted Light and Noise
Your best sleep hack for a good night's sleep starts by creating the ideal bedroom environment. You don't need a bright light blaring overhead to keep you awake — even light peeking through your curtains can be enough to mess with your body's internal clock. Block exterior light with blackout curtains or, better yet, an eye mask. A white noise machine or ear plugs can help cover up noise from outside your room. Combine this with a comfortable bedroom temperature, and you'll be primed to fall asleep quickly.
2. Snuggle Under a Weighted Blanket
As part of creating that perfect sleep environment, you can't ignore your bedding. While a comfortable mattress is an important start, a weighted blanket can do wonders for those struggling to fall asleep. Weighted blankets typically weigh 15 to 20 pounds. They offer a gentle pressure known as deep touch pressure therapy, a firm, tactile sensation similar to receiving a hug. This promotes calmness and can reduce feelings of anxiety, making it easier to fall asleep.
3. Set a Bedtime Alarm
Many of us dread the buzz or ring of the alarm clock. But what if you use it to tell you when it’s time to go to sleep? After all, some of us have a hard time following a consistent schedule (especially on weekends). However, following a set sleep routine helps train your body to know when it's time to fall asleep. Setting an alarm for when you need to start getting ready for bed is a simple sleep hack that can keep you from accidentally staying up too late.
4. Try 'The Military Method'
If this fills you with dreaded images of shouting drill sergeants, don't worry. There's no yelling required for this routine, which can apparently help you fall asleep in less than two minutes.
First, get into a comfortable position. Then, relax your face and drop your shoulders. Release the tension in your limbs as you feel them sink into the mattress. Then, clear your mind for 10 seconds.
At the U.S. Navy Preflight School, 96 percent of those who tried this technique for six weeks succeeded at falling asleep in under two minutes — so get practicing!
5. Take a Hot Bath Before Bed
Few things are more soothing than a relaxing soak in the tub. A hot bath or shower is a great way to de-stress before bedtime, but this isn't the only reason why it's a commonly recommended sleep hack. The warm water helps raise your body temperature — when you get out, your body quickly cools again. Studies have found that this makes it easier to fall asleep (and get quality sleep) because it imitates the body's natural process of cooling down in preparation for rest.
6. Breathe Deep With Aromatherapy
Essential oils may get mixed reviews from some, but the soothing impact of lavender as a sleep hack is well documented. Studies have found that even a small whiff of lavender before bed can increase deep sleep and make it easier to fall asleep in general. Try putting a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow before bed or using a cool mist diffuser to spread a gentle scent in your room.
7. Practice Yoga or Meditation
Physical activity during the day can improve your sleep quality and overall wellness. However, vigorous exercise too close to bed can actually make it harder to catch some zzz's.
Yoga or meditation offer a lighter pre-bedtime workout that helps to lower your heart rate and breathing so it will be easier to fall asleep. A meditation session also provides a good opportunity to process the events of the day, so you don't lie awake thinking about them after you get in bed.
The Ultimate Sleep Hack: Weighted Blankets
By implementing these sleep hacks, you can enjoy better sleep quality and get more of the deep sleep and REM sleep your body needs to feel rested and recharged. No matter what the next day might bring, you can face it with confidence.
Hush Weighted Blankets are a great way to help you get the best sleep possible. Breathable materials and deep touch pressure therapy will soothe your nervous system, making it easier for your body to produce serotonin and melatonin so you can fall asleep and stay asleep.
Best of all, these blankets are backed by a 100-night guarantee. If they don’t help you sleep better, you can get your money back. By pairing a weighted blanket with these other sleep hacks, you'll wake up feeling refreshed each morning.