Sleep and Dreaming How to Fall Asleep Faster By Mark Stibich, PhD Mark Stibich, PhD Mark Stibich, PhD, FIDSA, is a behavior change expert with experience helping individuals make lasting lifestyle improvements. Learn about our editorial process Updated on January 23, 2021 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Armeen Poor, MD Medically reviewed by Armeen Poor, MD Armeen Poor, MD, is a board-certified pulmonologist and intensivist. He specializes in pulmonary health, critical care, and sleep medicine. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Hero Images / Getty Images 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. What Is Insomnia? 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. Reasons You're Not Sleeping Well 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. What Is the Scandinavian Sleep Method? 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. Effects of Lack of Sleep on Mental Health 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. National Institute on Aging. A good night's sleep. Fuller C, Lehman E, Hicks S, Novick MB. Bedtime use of technology and associated sleep problems in children. Glob Pediatr Health. 2017;4:2333794X17736972. doi:10.1177/2333794X17736972 Park SY, Oh MK, Lee BS, et al. The effects of alcohol on quality of sleep. Korean J Fam Med. 2015;36(6):294-299. doi:10.4082/kjfm.2015.36.6.294 Liao Y, Xie L, Chen X, et al. Sleep quality in cigarette smokers and nonsmokers: Findings from the general population in central China. BMC Public Health. 2019;19(1):808. doi:10.1186/s12889-019-6929-4 National Institutes of Health. In brief: Your guide to healthy sleep. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist Online Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.