Fall Asleep Faster With These 7 Hacks For Better Sleep

20 Minutes. That’s all that stands between feeling exhausted and the best sleep ever. It’s also how much more sleep a woman needs than the average man, according to professional James Horne, a leading sleep expert in the UK.
A good night’s sleep is kind of like an orgasm – you have friends who experience it on the reg, your guy gets it right every night and you’ve only managed it a couple of times over the past few months. Sleep deprivation affects women more than men… fact! We sleep lighter and find it more difficult to go back to dreamland once we wake up. So, what gives? Well, turns out that your daytime habits and your pre-sleep routine could be to blame. So, if you’re keen on catching a little more shut-eye tonight, start by making these easy changes to fall asleep faster.

Fall asleep faster with these hacks

Start bright

Within five minutes of waking, try to expose yourself to sunlight for 30 minutes to give your brain the “It’s morning!” signal, says sleep specialist Clete Kushida. If it’s still way before sunrise, turn on a bright light to simulate sunlight as closely as possible. Getting exposure to light as soon as you wake up sends important signals in the body. It regulates your body’s internal clock – called the circadian rhythm – and suppresses melatonin while boosting cortisol levels. In this case, cortisol isn’t the demon we make it out to be, but rather helps wake up the body and allows you to become alert.

See the light

Once you’re seeing the light, continue to bask in it. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found office workers who scored natural light during the day got an average of 46 minutes more sleep per night than daylight-deprived colleagues. That’s because being exposed to sunlight signals to the body that it’s time to be alert and awake. As the day wears on, lower your exposure to sunlight as you signal to your body that it’s time to slow down.

READ MORE: Struggle Sleeping? Here’s How To Create A Bedtime Routine, Per Experts

Hit the weights

Any resistance exercise you do, whether it’s at 7 am or 7 pm, will reduce the number of times you wake up during the night, according to a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. In a review of research in Sleep Medicine Review, researchers found that “resistance exercise training improves anxiety and depression” – which makes sense since these conditions can keep us up at night. Moreover, they found that when compared to aerobic exercise (the kind that pumps your heart rate), resistance workouts scored higher for sleep. One theory is that weight training boosts growth hormone and testosterone in the body, which is in turn linked to better sleep.

Save carbs for dinner

The insulin spike you get from eating foods such as brown rice, sweet potato or pasta may help you fall asleep faster, says research published in the journal Cell Reports. That’s because carbs increase the levels of a hormone called tryptophan, which works in the brain to produce serotonin (your happiness hormone) and melatonin (the sleep hormone). Have a portion with dinner to help you fall asleep faster when bedtime rolls around.

Play your soundtrack

To set the stage for sleep, play a slow jam – songs with a continuous rhythm of around 60bpm, which sync up with your resting heart rate, says therapeutic practitioner Lyz. And it doesn’t have to be Enya – try Coldplay’s “Strawberry Swing” or Beyoncé’s “Flaws and All”. Per the popular sleep app Calm, there’s a plethora of sounds that signal the body to wind down. That includes white noise, ocean waves, rain, nature sounds and sleep stories. By creating a sense of peacefulness, you allow the body to enter rest mode and can fall asleep faster.

READ MORE: We Tried Morphée: A Screen-Free Sleep Device To Help You Actually Doze Off

Find your calm

Women who had hypnosis got up to 80 percent more deep Zs in a study by the University of Zurich in Switzerland. Try this from hypnotherapist Dr John McGrail: sit with palms on thighs. Raise your index finger and imagine it getting lighter. Lower it as you silently count down from five then think “deep sleep”. You could also try meditation apps or sleep-time podcasts to lull your body into a sense of calm and fall asleep.

Banish glare

If you must watch a series in bed, set your gadget’s brightness to the lowest possible level. U.S. research shows that the light from computer, tablet and smartphone screens suppresses melatonin. Use an app like f.lux, which filters out blue light from your device, or wear blue-light-blocking glasses, which helps.

READ MORE: The Greatest Sleepytime Products That’ll Take You To La-La Land, STAT

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