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How to fall asleep quickly

15 July 2022

One sheep, two sheep, three sheep, four….

Counting sheep was, for a long time, the most actively encouraged method of falling asleep quickly, but as anybody who has ever tried it will tell you, it’s far from a full-proof method.

With as much as 30% of the UK suffering from insomnia, falling asleep and staying asleep has become one of the most common ailments in the country, but one we rarely properly address.

The consequences of insomnia can range from relatively minor to very serious, so it’s in all of our interests to get to sleep quickly and stay that way for 6 to 8 hours every night.

But what’s the secret?

Why do we struggle to get to sleep?

With so many people struggling to fall asleep, it can be difficult to pinpoint specific causes, but there are certainly some common issues that most of us share.

Stress and anxiety are two of the most common causes of insomnia, with many of us unable to put aside the everyday worries we experience when it comes to going to bed. Depression is another major factor, while poor sleeping habits, irregular sleep routines and physical illness and pain are also common. Then there are external factors, such as drugs, caffeine and alcohol that can all cause havoc to our sleeping patterns.

What can I do to help my sleeping?  

If you are one of the 16 million people in the UK struggling with insomnia, getting to sleep can be a real struggle, but there are several things you can do to improve your chances, even before you put your head down at night.

1. Create a sleep routine

While we like to think we’re crazy, spontaneous creatures, our natural sleeping pattern is surprisingly regimented. The human body likes to go to sleep and wake up at roughly the same time every night, and sticking with a routine can help to improve your sleeping.

     2. Get the right bed

Sleeping problems are sometimes not just our own doing, but rather what we choose to sleep on. A poor bed or mattress can have exactly the opposite effect as a great model and your tossing and turning all night might be down to your sleep situation.

FlexiSpot has an excellent option in the Adjustable Bed Base that provides the sleeper not only with a fine degree of comfort but also a head adjustment range from 0 to 60 degrees.

    3.  Find the right temperature

Temperature plays a key role in our sleeping, both internally and externally. Our body temperature naturally drops while we sleep, before rising again as it nears morning, which is why we sometimes wake up covered in sweat.

While it may be tempting to fall asleep with the thermostat turned right up, it’s actually much better to sleep in a slightly cool room, ideally between 15.6 to 19.4 degrees Celsius.

How can I fall asleep quickly?

So you’ve got the right bed, sorted out your sleep routine and found that perfect cooling temperature, yet still when it comes to sleeping, you find your mind racing and sleep impossible to achieve. Here are three proven ways to fall asleep more quickly.

1. The 4-7-8 breathing technique

These days, sleeping pills have become a mainstay for many households, but one of the best methods to help sleep predates our modern pharmaceuticals by a couple of thousand years.

The 4-7-8 breathing technique is based on an ancient yogic technique called pranayama which helps to slow the heart rate and speed up relaxation and sleep.

It’s simple to do. Inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds and then exhale for 8 seconds. Repeat the process as many times as is necessary, but even after two or three rounds, you should feel a noticeable calm descent.

       2. Meditation, yoga and mindfulness

We live in a crazy, hectic world in which our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) is constantly activated for reasons that our body was not necessarily designed for. We once only had to worry about predators in the wild, now we have to contend with everyday madness that can throw our sleep well out of whack.

Meditation, yoga and mindfulness have all been proven to help calm our overagitated minds and doing a little practice before going to bed can do wonders to speed up our sleep.

     3. Relaxing music  

Music has been shown to significantly improve sleep when used in the right way. Slow music without lyrics has been shown to have the best effect and helps to slow the pulse and decrease levels of stress hormones.

Nature sounds are also popular, as is using white noise, which contains all the frequencies across the spectrum of audible sound in equal measure.

The Bottom Line

Insomnia can be a difficult issue to overcome. Often it takes several weeks and even months of trial and error before you find exactly what it is that causes your sleep problems. Even after you do, addressing it properly is often no easy matter.

By experimenting with techniques here, you can at least begin to test what might and might not work. It may take some patience, but a good night’s sleep is within us all.