How to Fall Asleep Faster

There are ways to improve sleep quality.

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Want to know how to sleep fast? Sleep is essential to good health and too many of us lose hours of sleep each week from lying in bed awake, trying to sleep. These tips will teach you the skills you need to sleep faster and better.

Signs You Need Better Sleep

If you do not fall asleep within 15 minutes of your head hitting the pillow, you are losing valuable sleep time on a daily basis.

The average person needs between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, and while some people may be in bed for that long each night, many are not sleeping the whole time.

If you can train your body to fall asleep fast, then you could gain 30 to 60 minutes of sleep or more each night. It all starts with changing some habits and developing some new skills.

Changing Your Sleep Habits

In order to fall asleep faster, you'll need to retrain your body and develop better sleep habits. It may take a little time to get into a new routine. But if you keep working, you’ll break habits that are bad for sleep and develop new skills to help you to fall asleep fast.

Some of the habits to change include not reading and watching TV in bed, altering your behaviors in the hour leading up to sleep, and working on evening eating habits. Some skills you will develop include relaxation, not languishing in bed, and exposing yourself to more daylight.

Only Use Your Bed For Sleep

Reading, watching TV, or even thinking about your day when you get in bed cues your body to believe that something other than sleep needs to happen when you get in bed.

Instead, retrain your body to believe that bed is only for sleep by avoiding all other in-bed activities (except sex). By restricting what you use your bed for, you'll develop associations with sleep that can help you nod off faster each night.

In addition to only using your bed for sleep, the National Institute on Aging suggests that you should give yourself 20 minutes to fall asleep. If you haven't drifted off by then, get out of bed and wait until you feel sleepy before you try again.

Pay Attention to the Light

Help reschedule your body's circadian rhythm for better sleep by increasing light exposure during the day and lowering that exposure at night. That means getting outdoors and using bright lights during the day, and dimming the lights at night—and avoiding bright electronics.

Your circadian rhythm is the natural process that regulates your sleep-wake cycle. It repeats on roughly a 24-hour cycle and is strongly affected by light exposure. By controlling your light exposure throughout the day, you can make yourself feel more alert during the daytime hours and less active as you prepare for sleep.

Just make sure that you avoid electronic devices before you go to bed. Research suggests that bedtime use of electronics reduces both sleep quality and quantity.

If you must read before you go to bed, stick to an old fashioned paperback book rather than your phone or e-book reader.

Avoid Sleep Thieves

It is important to avoid things that are known to interfere with sleep in the hours before you go to bed. Some things that can rob you of your sleep include:

  • Alcohol
  • Stress
  • Caffeine
  • Nicotine
  • Rigorous evening exercise
  • Acidic foods that might cause stomach upset
  • Heavy, fatty, or greasy meals
  • Candy or high-sugar snacks
  • Spicy foods

Also, be cautious about drinking too much water or other fluids before bedtime. Having to wake up multiple times each night to use the bathroom can also cut down on your sleep quality and quantity.

Create a Nightly Ritual

Your body loves habits, and by creating a habit—or ritual—that is strongly associated with sleep, your body will know what to do when you get into bed.

Set a bedtime and create a routine that you stick to every night.

A good sleep routine starts with establishing a regular bedtime and wake time. In other words, you should go to bed at the same time each night and wake at the same time each morning. Other elements of your sleep routine might include:

  • Prepare for sleep: Find a way to wind down each night, whether it's spending a few minutes reading a book or relaxing in a warm bath. The key is to follow the same routine each night before you go to sleep.
  • Create a comfortable environment: Your sleep space should be comfortable. Make sure you have enough bedding and set your thermostat to a comfortable temperature—you don't want to be too hot or too cold.
  • Ease into it: While you should start establishing a routine right away, dramatic changes to your sleep schedule can make it harder to fall asleep fast. If your new routine represents a major change in your sleep habits, work your way up to it. Go to bed a little earlier each day and wake up a little bit earlier each morning until you've reached your goal schedule.

A Word From Verywell

After a few weeks of consciously improving your sleep behaviors, you should be able to fall asleep within minutes. This will add hours of extra sleep each week without changing your daily schedule. You’ll feel more energized, be healthier, and be better able to avoid illnesses and health conditions.

If you've given these methods a good try and your sleep still doesn't improve, you might have sleep disorder and should consider seeing a sleep doctor.

5 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  3. Park SY, Oh MK, Lee BS, et al. The effects of alcohol on quality of sleepKorean J Fam Med. 2015;36(6):294-299. doi:10.4082/kjfm.2015.36.6.294

  4. Liao Y, Xie L, Chen X, et al. Sleep quality in cigarette smokers and nonsmokers: Findings from the general population in central ChinaBMC Public Health. 2019;19(1):808. doi:10.1186/s12889-019-6929-4

  5. National Institutes of Health. In brief: Your guide to healthy sleep.