10 Easy Ways to Fall Asleep in 5 Minutes – Or Less

Trying to fall asleep when your mind won't clear and your body won't relax is one of the more  frustrating ways to end the day... and, as we all know (or have experienced) is counter-intuitive, when it comes to the goal at hand. The more you stress about sleeping (and calculating, down to the minute, how much time you have to sleep before the alarm sounds) the less chance you'll have of actually catching those zzzs.

It's not all bad news, though.

These are a range of strategies you can employ that will help you drift off in no time at all.

Still, if the problem persists, your best port of call is your GP, who will be able to advise a correct treatment plan. For now? These won't hurt. (And neither will these.)

Black out your space

There's a reason it feels uncomfortable to try sleep with the lights on. Light - especially blue light, which is emanated from your technological devices - stimulates the hormones that tell us it's day time (and time to get up) instead producing melatonin, the hormone that helps us catch those zzzs. The simple solution? Banish as much light as you can from your sleeping environment. If that's not entirely possible (street lights, and all), a good quality sleeping mask will deliver the blackout zone you need.

Cancel the noise

Like it's cousin, light, noise is also guaranteed to keep you awake. You can’t stop the traffic or other people’s chatter but you can invest in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. You can leave them silent or switch on a meditation, soft, relaxing music or sounds that induce sleep, like rain, for example.

Try the 4-7-8 trick

You can try this anywhere and for us, it's really worked. Devised by Andrew Weil, this yogic breathing technique imbues you with a sense of calm. Inhale through your nose for a count of 4, hold that breath for 7 counts and then exhale slowly for a count of 8. This will stimulate feel-good chemicals in your brain that alleviate stress and, hopefully, induce a restful slumber.

Savour the aroma

It's down to personal taste, this one, but many swear by the sleep-inducing (and enhancing) benefits of aromatherapy. Burning lavender, roman chamomile, neroli, orange and petitgrain can all help induce a state of relaxation, even if it's just a matter of introducing feel good scents into your space, and creating a relaxing environment for sleep. What's most interesting, though, is that regular use of essential oils will train your mind to associate the aromas with sleep, so... get burning.

Use herbal supplements

Whipping up a calming cuppa of herbal tea might not be possible if you are out and about but when possible, warm, caffeine-free teas like chamomile, valerian and passionflower infused blends are a great option for relaxing, warming and hydrating yourself pre-snooze, particularly in the cooler months. Our advice? Enjoy yours somewhere where there's no phone or laptop in sight.

Park your worries

If you tend to reflect and ruminate on your day before you go to sleep, chances are, you'll work yourself up instead of getting your mind ready to nod off. Sleep experts suggest that writing down your troubles or creating a to do list before you go to bed will help you to park your problems for the night. If the problem persists, as mentioned, your best port of call is your GP or health care practitioner, who will give you a tailored strategy to suit your specific needs.

Eat a sneaky snack

Eating just before bedtime is generally a bad idea, but there is evidence to suggest that certain snacks could help you to nod off. Choose a light nibble with low glycemic index carbohydrate. This food may encourage your brain to produce serotonin (the happy hormone) and, it goes without saying, but going to bed hungry isn't ideal. Small bananas, berry fruits and oatmeal biscuits should do the trick, and so will these.

Apply some pressure

Acupressure is a safe and natural technique which can be used to help you relax. All you need to do is press your two acupressure points. The first is located in the small indent at the top of your nose between your eyebrows, the other on the sole of your foot roughly one third of the length of your foot from the tips of your toes. If nothing else, it will distract you, and clear your busy mind.

Utilise your senses

Merely visualising a relaxing situation might not be enough to calm you into restful sleep. Try using all of your senses to explore the scene. What does it feel like or smell like? You might find that it's easier to focus your mind if you recruit all of senses to help you.

Seek out some (light) entertainment

Reading is a great option, and so is watching TV (we know, we said no light) but as long as it's not rousing content (you know, like that nerve-busting crime drama you've been watching) it might just help you drift off. Just be careful your pre-bed watching doesn't turn into a full on binge.

Sweet dreams.

Now that we’re on the topic, here are 10 simple ways to enhance the quality of your sleep – starting from tonight! – plus the reason why you crave more sleep in the cold.

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