LIFE

Fall Asleep Instantly With These 10 Tricks To Improve Your Sleep Schedule

by Angel Chang
Angel is a writer on the Original Content team at LittleThings. Check out her articles about crucial tips on female and doggie health. She loves to take long walks, volunteer with kids, try new food, browse through burger recipes, and code in her spare time. Feel free to let her know what you'd like to see her write up next.

According to the Sleep Education center, up to 35 percent of all adults in America have experienced symptoms of insomnia — and 10 percent of the population battle with chronic insomnia disorders each night.

Sleep deprivation has grave consequences, including the inability to focus or remember things, depression, and roadside accidents.

Insomnia can be brought on by various triggers, including significant life stress, emotional issues, and environmental factors, and may not always be easily remedied.

There are, however, several little steps you can take to help support your natural sleep-wake cycle, and to fall asleep with more ease.

In an exclusive guide below, we go through 10 of the tips that you consult to gradually better the quality of your sleep.

From knowing how your internal biological clock works and when to eat and drink foods, to ways you can mentally calm yourself down before going to bed, these tips are bound to make a difference in your life.

Scroll down to find out how you can improve the quality of your sleep every night, and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

1. Don't Work At Night

How to improve your sleep
Maya Borenstein For LittleThings

The best way to keep your body’s organic rhythm on track is to do all your important activities and tasks during the day.

Instead of spending time at night browsing the Internet, reading magazines, or fixing up your latest DIY project, hold off til the morning.

Saving movement and exercise for the day will also help you speed up your metabolism, produce stress-lowering hormones like cortisol, and regulate your body temperature, according to HelpGuide.org.

2. Reset Your Internal Clock

How to improve your sleep
Maya Borenstein For LittleThings

If you’ve been having trouble falling asleep quickly, it’s best that you reset and learn to support your body’s natural clock.

The circadian rhythm, or your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, is healthy only when you go to bed and awake at the same time each day.

Being consistent is vital to optimizing the quality of your sleep, and helping you feel refreshed and energized throughout the day.

Start by setting a realistic bedtime, one that will work well with your lifestyle and schedule. Try choosing a time when you don’t normally feel tired, so that you’ll easily fall asleep.

3. Let In Natural Light

How to improve your sleep
Maya Borenstein For LittleThings

Another way to improve your sleep is to regulate your exposure to sunlight. Melatonin, a natural hormone controlled by light exposure, is key in coordinating your sleep-wake cycle.

Your brain produces more melatonin when it’s dark, which makes you sleepy, and less when it’s bright out, making you more alert and awake.

Try sitting next to a sunny window in the morning, or take a stroll in the bright sunlight before going to work. Take as many work breaks as you can during the day, and let as much natural light into your home or workplace as possible.

4. Avoid Screens Two Hours Before Bedtime

How to improve your sleep
Maya Borenstein For LittleThings

When you’re ready to sleep, the room should be as dark as possible. The darker the environment, the more melatonin your body produces, and the deeper you will sleep.

This is why it is crucial to avoid phones, tablets, and screens at least two hours before bedtime. The light can obstruct your sleep and your body’s rhythms — and the blue light emitted by electronics is especially dangerous.

In addition, the content that you consume right before going to bed stimulates, rather than relaxes, your body. This is the last thing you want if you want a good night’s rest.

5. Have Your Last Coffee At 2 P.M.

How to improve your sleep
Maya Borenstein For LittleThings

People often have the wrong idea that drinking coffee will lead to insomnia. While this is a myth, coffee does take a while to exit your system entirely.

According to WebMD, 75 percent of the coffee you consume will exit your body after eight to 10 hours. So, drinking a cup or two of coffee in the morning won’t affect how you sleep at night.

However, try not to consume too much caffeine later in the day. Depending on your metabolism and sensitivity to caffeine, you may experience symptoms of insomnia, including nervousness and stomach troubles.

6. Don't Eat Heavy Foods Too Late

How to improve your sleep
Maya Borenstein For LittleThings

Many medical experts advise us to finish eating at least one hour before going to bed.

As a rule, try not to indulge in heavy foods and big meals late at night. Fatty foods will present a challenge for your stomach, which will have to work hard during the night to digest the food.

Some spicy or acidic foods may also cause issues like heartburn. If you are feeling peckish, have a light snack of cereal, oats, or crackers and cheese.

7. Try The "4-7-8" Technique

How to improve your sleep
Maya Borenstein For LittleThings

Harvard-trained expert Andrew Weil came up with the “4-7-8” technique, which helps deliver more oxygen to your body than normal breathing can.

First, lightly touch the ridge of tissue behind the top row of teeth with your tongue, and exhale. Then, breathe in through nose for a count of four, and hold your breath for a count of seven.

Blow air out through your mouth for a count of eight, and then repeat the process three more times.

This breathing technique can relax your parasympathetic nervous system, which can become stressed out during the day.

8. Push Your Pressure Points

How to improve your sleep
Maya Borenstein For LittleThings

Derived from acupressure, a traditional Chinese cure for insomnia, this technique involves pressing down on your body’s pressure points.

Try putting your thumb on the area between your eyebrows at the top of your nose, where you feel the indent. Hold for 20 seconds, release, and repeat two more times.

Or you can try putting your right foot across your left knee, and press on the indentation between your big toe and second toe.

Consult videos like this for more acupressure tips, or see what holistic health experts recommend doing.

9. Explore Your 'Happy Place'

How to improve your sleep
Maya Borenstein For LittleThings

Using a technique called “visualization meditation,” you can combine the powers of consciousness and self-awareness to help focus and calm the mind.

To find your “happy place,” calm your mind, and channel a positive energy. Imagine yourself in a place or situation where you feel content, or at your best: on a beautiful beach, in a peaceful field of flowers, or at a clear lake.

Incorporate at least three senses into this visualization: imagine yourself smelling the flowers, taking a sip of the fresh spring water, or feeling your feet rest in the sand. This should help you feel more relaxed, and help you drift off to sleep.

10. Warm Up Your Feet

How to improve your sleep
Maya Borenstein For LittleThings

There is such a thing as a best temperature for sleeping. According to WebMD, experts recommend sleeping in a room that is between 65 and 72 °F.

Your body sleeps more comfortably in a slightly cooler room than it does in a warm or overheated room.

However, you can struggle to sleep if it’s too chilly, or if your feet and and hands are cold. When this happens, your blood vessels become compressed, elevating your body temperature, making it harder for you to sleep.

If you’re constantly feeling a little cold, simply put on a pair of cozy socks when you go to bed!

Please SHARE these tips with friends and family who would love to improve their quality of sleep!