Tips To Fall Asleep At Night

Hi all! 

We spend a good chunk of our lives sleeping. Sleep is necessary for our bodies to be healthy. But how much sleep is necessary? Adults typically need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night. So what happens when we aren’t meeting that? Sleep has been shown to effect mood and work productivity. And did you know one is also more likely to get sick, and gain weight when lacking sleep?

One of my special areas of interest during my training as a Psychologist was in sleep. I had the opportunity to work in the sleep clinics at Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital and Kennedy Krieger Institute and below you will find evidenced-based recommendations that I learned that have been proven to make it easier for you to fall asleep and maintain sleep!

Sleep Recommendations

Have a consistent sleep schedule.

This means waking up and going to bed around the same time each night. This includes the weekend! Sleeping in on the weekend and staying up later on the weekend will only make it that much harder for you to fall asleep on Sunday night and wake up Monday morning, I promise!

If you don’t have a sleep schedule try to write down the time you’re typically falling asleep at. Once you establish this time, you can slowly move up your bedtime by 15 minutes every few days once you’re falling asleep easily. This will take time but in the long run, your body will thank you.

Also, avoid napping during the day!

Have a Bedtime Routine.

Yes, I said that! Do the same things every night before falling asleep. And when I mean things, I mean do things that are enjoyable and calming, such as taking a bath or shower, reading a book, listening to music. This will help you wind down from a hectic day!

Avoid electronics.

If there’s one tip you’re going to follow this one is it! Limit using any type of electronic (i.e., TV, phone, computer) for at least one hour before following asleep. There’s so much research on blue light, specifically how it limits melatonin, a hormone that helps you fall asleep from being released. This means if you’re on any electronic at night you’re inadvertently making it that much harder for you to fall asleep at night!

Use your bed only for sleeping.

You want to have a strong sleep association with your bed. So this means if you’re doing homework, watching tv, and hanging out on your bed then you’ll be less likely to fall asleep when you hit the bed at night. So leave all other activities elsewhere!

Quick tip: you should fall asleep within 15-20 minutes when you get into bed. So don’t get into bed if you’re not tired!

Limit water, caffeine, and eating close to bedtime.

You’re more likely to wake up in the middle of the night if you just drank or ate something before falling asleep. So try to move your dinner time up and if you have to drink water before bed try using the bathroom twice before getting into bed. It will also be that much harder to fall asleep if you just had caffeine so try to avoid caffeine consumption after that midafternoon pick me up.

Pay attention to your Bedroom.

Have a comfortable, quiet, and dark bedroom. So reduce light and noise! Also, try to make sure it’s not too warm in the bedroom, keep the room cool and UNDER 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure nothing changes in your room during the evening, as you will be more likely to wake up in the middle of the night. Have you ever noticed when your partner woke up in the middle of the night to use the restroom, the temperature changed, or the door closed you woke up? This is why!

Be consistent!

These tips will only work as long as you practice them!

Hope this helps you out and if you have any specific questions, feel free to leave in the comments below!

Thank you for reading!

Dr. C