A man falls asleep fast on his side on a bed with gray sheets and white duvet.
Sleep Health

How To Fall Asleep Fast: 26 Expert Tips for Sleeping

    Last Updated
    September 1, 2023
    min read

    Wondering how to fall asleep fast? You're not alone. Many find themselves staring at the ceiling, longing for that restful embrace of sleep. Beyond mere annoyance, prolonged sleep onset can affect our overall well-being and, yes, even that zest for life's most enjoyable moments.

    But here’s the silver lining: beyond purchasing the right mattress to suit your unique preferences, there's a roadmap to quicker slumbers. Tapping into scientific insights and everyday wisdom, we've compiled practical changes and expert tips to prime you for quicker shut-eye. 

    A good bedtime routine and some tried-and-true relaxation techniques can be your ticket to a quick descent into dreamland. Dive in as we unpack the nuances to help you fall asleep faster and get a better night’s sleep.

    A graphic with icons lists 11 tips for how to fall asleep fast.

    1. Keep a Regular Schedule 

    Ever felt like your internal clock has missed a beat or two? Your body thrives on consistency, especially regarding sleep. Think of your circadian rhythm as a clock that’s meticulously tuned to rise with the sun and dim with the moon. When you veer from a steady sleep schedule, it can leave you feeling foggy for the rest of the day. 

    By heading to bed at the same night every night and waking up at the same time every morning, you help anchor this internal clock. The result? Falling asleep becomes more predictable, and mornings feel less groggy. Trust us, your body and mind will thank you for it.

    2. Be Mindful of How You’re Using Screens

    Here’s something that most people need to hear: it may be time to reign in your screen time. Studies show that your phone, laptop, and tablet may be stealthily sabotaging your sleep. The blue light emitted from these devices can meddle with your melatonin production — that essential sleep hormone that ushers us into the dreamworld.

    This tip isn’t about swearing off technology entirely, but rather, fostering a healthier relationship with it. Aim to put a pause on screen time for at least an hour before you plan to go to bed. Think of it as a digital detox for your sleep hygiene. That late-night scroll or one more episode might seem tempting, but the quality sleep you'll gain in return? Priceless.

    3. Get a Mattress With the Right Support

    A mattress is a haven for your body after a long day. This means that the right firmness and support isn’t a luxury — it’s a necessity. It can promote proper alignment, ensuring you wake up without those pesky aches and pains.

    For side sleepers, softer mattresses can help relieve pressure points. Meanwhile, those who find comfort lying on their back might lean towards a medium-firm mattress, capturing that elusive equilibrium between snug and support. 

    Shop our collections specially designed for a myriad of sleep positions, habits, and hurdles. 

    4. Watch What You Eat

    The old adage, “You are what you eat,”  holds weight when it comes to the relationship between food and sleep. Imagine fueling your body just right so it hums like a well-tuned engine, guiding you into a restful night. But the wrong fuel? It can leave the engine stuttering and restless.

    Here are a few foodstuffs to keep an eye out for:

    • Rich or spicy foods: These slumber-disruptors can be the culprits behind heartburn or acid reflux, jolting you awake when all you crave is serenity. 
    • Coffee or tea: Your favorite go-to pick-me-up could keep you awake, even if you no longer feel the buzz. Try bidding adieu to caffeine at least eight hours before you tuck in.
    • Alcohol and nicotine: Even if they may seem like relaxants, they often do more harm than good when it comes to quality sleep. 

    Hungry for more insights on what to chow down on (or avoid) for a blissful night's sleep? Read our article on foods to help you sleep better

    5. Use the Military Method

    Sometimes, the most unexpected solutions come from necessity. Soldiers, often facing erratic schedules and less-than-ideal sleeping conditions, have developed an effective sleep technique over the years, aptly named the "military method." It's a testament to its efficacy that many can find solace in slumber in under two minutes, even in challenging environments.

    A graphic lists the four steps of the military method of falling asleep fast next to a sleeping woman.

    Ready to give it a whirl?

    1. Get comfy and focus on feeling every tension melt away from your jawline, cheeks, and mouth.
    2. Let your arms gently fall to your sides, starting from your shoulders.
    3. Start taking deep breaths so your chest muscles relax.
    4. Visualize a serene scene, such as a cozy fire or a private beach. If stressful thoughts creep in, acknowledge them and gently escort them out, returning to your tranquil scene. Not one for visualization? No worries. A simple repetitive phrase, like "Time to rest," can be just as effective.

    For many, the military method has become a steadfast companion in their journey toward a good night’s sleep. Why not see if it becomes yours?

    6. Practice Meditation 

    Meditation serves as an anchor for the mind, grounding you in the present and dispelling the swirling thoughts that often keep us awake. It's not about emptying the mind but rather observing it. By doing so, we can find peace in the midst of the storm.

    Mindfulness meditation, in particular, has shown promise for those who often find themselves tangled in webs of anxiety or stress. By focusing on our breath or the rise and fall of our chest, we create a buffer between ourselves and the overwhelming thoughts. This gentle act of focusing and refocusing does wonders for the brain. In fact, research suggests that these meditative moments not only pacify our restless minds but pave the way for quicker transitions to dreamland.

    7. Follow the 4-7-8 Breathing Method

    In a world that's often go, go, go, our minds race faster than we'd like, especially when it's time to wind down. But what if life had a slow-mo button? Enter the 4-7-8 breathing method, a rhythm of inhales and exhales that's like a lullaby for your overworked mind.

    A graphic of a man practicing the 4-7-8 method to fall asleep.

    Here’s the breakdown:

    • Inhale: With your mouth gently closed, take a deep, silent breath in through your nose, counting to four as you do.
    • Hold: Keep that breath with you, letting it fill every nook and cranny of your lungs as you count to seven.
    • Exhale: Now, part your lips slightly and release that breath slowly, making a whooshing sound as you count to eight.

    By following this pattern, you're doing more than just breathing — you're sending a signal to your nervous system to take a break, calm down, and prepare for rest. It’s a lifesaver if you often feel particularly stressed or anxious before bedtime.

    8. Try Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)

    The body and mind are intrinsically linked. Sometimes, the key to soothing our restless thoughts lies in relaxing our tensed muscles. Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is a method that capitalizes on this very connection, allowing you to take an active role in melting away the day's stresses and paving a smoother path to sleep.

    PMR is like a gentle guided tour through your body, where you methodically visit and relax each muscle group. 

    Here's how:

    1. Lie down in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Take some deep, grounding breaths.
    2. Tense your facial muscles, holding onto that tension for about 10 seconds. Then, release and feel the rush of relaxation flood in. Follow this with a few calming breaths.
    3. Move to your shoulders. Tense them for a brief 10-second spell, then let go, inviting relaxation. Breathe deeply and steadily.
    4. Continue this rhythmic dance of tension and release, gradually descending from your torso to your legs and, finally, your feet. Remember, this is about relaxation, so if any area feels sore or uncomfortable, feel free to skip it.

    It's like giving yourself a mini-massage without the hands, harnessing the power of your mind to release pent-up tension. For many, PMR is a treasured tool in their sleep toolkit, an intimate ritual that signals to the body, "It's time to wind down." 

    9. Listen to Peaceful Music

    There's a certain kind of magic in music that weaves an atmosphere of tranquility, enveloping you in its soothing embrace. For many, the gentle hum of calming tunes acts as a lullaby, nudging them into the world of dreams, away from the buzz of the daily grind.

    Noise can easily intrude on our sleep sanctuary, whether it’s a partner’s sneeze or that night-owl neighbor upstairs. Introducing some peaceful music into your bedtime routine can create a buffer to drown out those pesky, disruptive sounds. 

    Of course, everyone's sensory preferences vary. If melodies become more of a midnight dance party than a sleepy serenade, white noise might be up your alley. It offers a consistent sound palette, creating an audio blanket that's just perfect for sleep. So, whether it's the strumming of a guitar, the pitter-patter of rain, or the steady hum of a fan, find what sleep sounds resonate with your inner night owl and let it guide you to dreamland. 

    10. Follow Guided Imagery

    Our minds, so often cluttered with the hustle and bustle of daily life, seek solace in places of tranquility and calm. The age-old practice of guided imagery provides a mental escape hatch to these serene sanctuaries without ever needing to pack a bag or book a ticket.

    Picture this: A sun-dappled forest clearing, birds serenading from treetops, the gentle sway of leaves responding to a whispering breeze, the distant murmur of a babbling brook. Or maybe: a secluded beach, where the ebb and flow of waves paint patterns on the sand, and a soft, salty breeze carries the scent of the vast ocean. 

    By guiding your thoughts towards these peaceful vistas and away from the day’s tension, you anchor yourself in the present, grounding anxieties and fostering relaxation. As you drift deeper into these calming scenes, your breath naturally synchronizes, becoming deeper, slower, beckoning sleep's gentle embrace.

    11. Use a Weighted Blanket

    Imagine a blanket that doesn't just keep you warm but also gently cocoons you, nudging you towards better, richer sleep. That's a weighted blanket. 

    Harnessing the power of Deep Touch Pressure (DTP),  Bearaby’s Weighted Blankets are tailored to be roughly 10% of your body weight, creating a gentle yet persistent embrace. And it doesn't just snuggle you closely. It kicks off a biochemical ballet that lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol while increasing your body’s production of serotonin and melatonin. It's like your own natural sleep potion being stirred up, calming the restless mind and nudging you into deeper, more restorative sleep.

    Weighted blankets aren't just another bedtime accessory — they're an entire self-care experience. So, as you journey towards sleep nirvana, consider letting this gentle giant be your guide. Because, after all, isn’t sleep about feeling just right?


    More Sleep Methods

    In our quest for a good night's sleep, we often find ourselves on a winding road of remedies, routines, and rituals. 

    We've covered a handful of tactics already, but here's a little more wisdom for your wellness journey:

    12. Do your bedtime routines early: Wash your face and brush your teeth well before bed to avoid waking yourself up with a cold splash.

    13. Consider melatonin: It's nature’s nudge towards dreamland. Be sure to take melatonin only as directed by your doctor. 

    14. Exercise during the day: Wearing yourself out during the day can help you have a restful sleep at night.

    15. Avoid checking the clock: Don’t go down the clock-watching rabbit hole. Ignorance is bedtime bliss. 

    16. Use reverse psychology: It’s playful trickery. By resisting sleep, you just might invite it.

    17. Reduce stress factors in your life: A tranquil mind is a rested one. By sidestepping daily stressors, you pave a smoother path to slumber.

    18. Read a book: Trade blue light for a book light. Pages turn thoughts into dreams.

    19. Get up and take a short walk: Reset and breathe. A change of scenery often brings clarity, setting the stage for sleep.

    20. Avoid working in the bedroom: By keeping work out of the bedroom, you signal to the brain that this space is solely for rest.

    21. Take a warm bath or shower: Warm water soothes muscles, priming the body for relaxation.

    22. Lower your bedroom temperature: Lower temperatures mimic the body's natural sleep mode, cueing it to wind down.

    23. Try light yoga or stretching: Yoga for sleep is like sending a goodnight text to your muscles, ensuring they’re as ready for rest as your mind is.

    24. Dim your lights while preparing for bed: Dimming the lights signals to the brain that the world outside is resting too.

    25. Put blackout curtains over your windows: Seal out the world and let your dreamscape unfold.

    26. Try essential oils with calming scents: Lavender or eucalyptus are like nature's sleep sonnets, lulling you into tranquility.

    Treat sleep like the profound ritual it is. It's more than closing your eyes; it's opening the door to rejuvenation.


    We've compiled a selection of frequently asked questions to shed light on some lingering night time curiosities

    How Long Should It Take You To Fall Asleep?

    A illustration shows the progression of a face with eyes closing to demonstrate that it takes 20 minutes or less to fall asleep.

    On average, it should take adults 15-20 minutes to fall asleep. The time that it takes for you to fall asleep is known as sleep latency. Note that this period doesn’t include pre-bedtime things like brushing your teeth or showering. Rather, this period starts from the time you lay your head on your pillow and try to fall asleep.

    If you take more than 20 minutes to go to sleep, you may be suffering from insomnia. There are different factors that may be delaying your sleep latency and affecting your sleep-wake cycles, such as your diet, level of physical activity, or stress levels.

    What Does It Mean if You Can’t Fall Asleep Fast?

    Research shows that adults require 7-9 hours of sleep each night to function optimally. It's not only about the number of hours spent sleeping, but the quality of sleep achieved within those hours. This means achieving enough deep and REM sleep cycles throughout the night. 

    A lack of sleep has been shown by many studies to negatively impact physical and mental health, increasing your risk of developing the following: stroke, heart attack, and diabetes

    Why Can’t I Sleep at Night?

    First and foremost, stress and anxiety are common culprits. When our minds are in overdrive, the relaxation needed for sleep becomes a challenge. Additionally, lifestyle choices like caffeine consumption, screen time before bed, or an irregular sleep schedule can throw off our internal body clock. It's vital to recognize and adjust these factors — nurturing both our minds and habits — to pave the way for peaceful nights ahead.

    How Can I Sleep Faster With ADHD?

    Navigating the path to restful sleep with ADHD can feel like a maze without a map. The energetic and restless nature of ADHD often makes it a challenge to wind down. However, there are tailored strategies to help: 

    1. Create a consistent sleep schedule. By going to bed and waking up at the same time daily, you help regulate your body's internal clock. 
    2. Minimizing stimulants like caffeine and screen exposure in the evenings can make a difference. 
    3. Establish a calming pre-sleep routine. This might include activities such as reading, light stretching, or listening to soothing music.

    By creating an environment and routine that caters to relaxation, you lay the groundwork for quicker, deeper sleep with ADHD.

    Choose the Right Mattress

    You've explored routines, habits, and environments, but there's one piece of the puzzle that often gets overlooked: the foundation of your sleep — your mattress. 

    A great day starts the night before, and having a mattress tailored to your needs is like having a trusted companion by your side, supporting you through each night and ensuring you wake revitalized for the day ahead.

    As you ponder how to fall asleep fast, consider the surface that cradles your dreams. After all, it’s the silent foundation that holds the potential to elevate every other effort you make.

    Ready for a healthier sleep routine? Start by selecting the perfect mattress.


    About the authors

    Cecilia Gillen

    Cecilia brings over five years of writing experience primarily centered around lifestyle and health topics. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Media and Journalism from the University of South Dakota. She’s both an advocate for sleep and a night owl at heart.