The Internet is full of articles with titles like “How to Fall asleep in One Minute”. Among the tips are breathing exercises, acupuncture massage, and the use of meditative coloring books. Do these methods really work? And what should those who toss and turn in bed for an hour or more do?
In somnology, there is a concept of “sleep pressure” – the feeling that makes you go to bed. It depends on several factors: how early a person gets up, whether he rests during the day, whether he adheres to a regime. Sleep pressure has its peaks: drowsiness can occur at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, at 11 o’clock, after a meal. In a healthy state, the desire to sleep increases during the day and increases in the evening. So a healthy person won’t have a desire to play roulette games online or watch movies at 12 pm because he’s already too sleepy.
Do We Fall Asleep Quickly?
The optimal average time to fall asleep is 15 to 20 minutes. Falling asleep quickly in 1 to 5 minutes is excessive. If a person falls asleep quickly, it isn’t always bad. Suppose he did not sleep the night before, then the pressure of sleep will be great, he will fall asleep on the bed and fall asleep immediately. But if a person rests for a normal amount of time and still falls asleep constantly and very quickly, it’s more often associated with increased sleepiness. It’s observed in persons with apnea, the clinical manifestation of which is snoring. There are many pathologies in which sleepiness increases: lung diseases, endocrine disorders, obesity.
Falling asleep for over 30 minutes is also considered pathological. But you shouldn’t diagnose yourself as “insomnia” – especially on your own. Insomnia from a medical point of view is a combination of two factors: a decrease in the duration of sleep, normal for a person’s age, and the resulting malaise during the day.
How Much to Sleep
There used to be about 11 types of insomnia, but in modern practice, we mainly talk about two. Acute insomnia is a sleep disorder lasting up to 3 months, chronic – over three. In the chronic form, there are three or more days a week that are accompanied by impaired falling asleep, early waking or frequent awakenings.
For an adult, the duration of sleep ranges from 7 to 9 hours. The minimum is 6, the maximum is 10. Over 80 types of sleep disorders have been described, and one variant is short sleepers. They rest for about 6 hours and get enough sleep, feel well, and their mental abilities do not suffer.
Difficulty falling asleep is a temporary symptom. If a person cannot fall asleep for 40 minutes, but at the same time, he sleeps for 7-8 hours and feels good during the day, it isn’t insomnia. There is bound to be a deterioration in well-being.
Why We Cannot Fall Asleep
There are many reasons, from external circumstances to the state of health of the person. The most common ones that prevent us from falling asleep are:
- Noises around, excessive light, and for some, a lack of light causing anxiety.
- Use of gadgets before going to bed or in bed.
- Hunger or a heavy dinner late at night.
- Intense physical activity or worrying before going to bed.
- Consumption of alcohol, stimulant foods, certain medications.
- Irregularities in regimen.
- Change of time zones.
- Uncomfortable conditions: unsuitable temperature, stuffiness.
The list could go on for a long time. Here’re the most common causes:
- Difficulty falling asleep on a Sunday-Monday night. On the weekend, young adults actively go out at night and get up late in the morning. Sleep pressure decreases, social jetlag occurs, resulting in sleep deprivation, deprivation of some of it.
- In the morning a man gets up broken, his head doesn’t work, his mood is bad. What does he start to do? Drink coffee and energy drinks. Caffeine sensitivity can be highly pronounced.
- Excessive lighting. We are talking about the use of gadgets, computers, TV, and artificial light sources. With the advent of the first electric light bulb in the last 100 years, mankind’s sleep duration has decreased from 8 to 6 hours.
How to Fall Asleep Quickly: Is It Possible to Believe the Advice From the Internet
True insomnia and health problems that interfere with sleep should be dealt with by doctors. If external circumstances interfere with the mood for rest, it isn’t difficult to eliminate them: air the room, put on earplugs or a sleep mask, close the curtains, turn on a soft night light.
But sometimes we twist in bed for a long time and do not understand why we are still awake. In this case, it can be useful tips and tricks told by somnologists, yogis, psychologists and simply by Internet users. Which of the ways can you believe?
- The classic “count sheep.” Monotonous counting distracts from the intrusive thoughts and memories of the day. An alternative method is not to do simple math, but simply to repeat two long numbers in your head, such as “1353 – 1355.”
- Imagine a pendulum swinging slowly from side to side.
- Get out of bed for about 15-20 minutes and get busy.
- One by one relax all the muscles from the forehead to the tips of the toes. Concentrate on this feeling.
- Do a breathing exercise. For example, inhale through the nose for 4 counts, hold your breath for 7 counts, exhale through the mouth for 8 counts.
- Use acupuncture massage: stimulate the points between the eyebrows, the corners of the eyes, the solar plexus, the wrist from the palm to the little finger.
- Imagine a calm and happy place, mentally transport yourself to it.
All methods belong to cognitive-behavioral therapy and can sometimes help. breathing, monotonous counting of objects, massage, autotraining in the form of relaxation of the muscles promotes relaxation, distraction and faster falling asleep. But the techniques may work for those who are willing and ready to do them. For some, the actions will cause a worsening of the situation: a person does the exercises, doesn’t fall asleep for 15-20 minutes, and becomes irritable.
There is one rule that we recommend. If you lie in bed for 20 minutes and don’t sleep, it’s better to get up and do monotonous activities. Without bright lights, TV, taking alcohol, smoking – these factors only excite you. For example, reading a book with spot lighting is suitable – just not from a phone or computer screen.
The use of white noise helps: the noise of trees, waterfalls, birdsong, quiet music. For most people, white noise is experimentally proven to synchronize neurons and trigger the process of sleep, allowing you to avoid concentrating on your own thoughts and worries.
Habits for Healthy Sleep
The key to a restful sleep is its hygiene: respecting the schedule of falling asleep and waking up even on weekends and holidays, comfortable conditions, avoiding active sports and gadgets before bedtime. You should not use the bed as a workplace and a place to eat – it should remain a resting area. It’s also recommended to have sufficient light during the day instead of constant semi-darkness – otherwise, the production of melatonin is disturbed.
It’s scientifically proven that the position on the back increases mortality due to various reasons, on the stomach – the gastrointestinal tract is compressed. The optimal position is on your side, left or right – not so important. Many people think that sleeping on the left side is bad for the heart – it isn’t.
It’s important not to overeat at night but also not to go to bed hungry – it doesn’t contribute to sleep. It isn’t recommended to have a big dinner for 4 hours before going to bed. A light snack during this period is possible.
They say that you should eat dairy products, cheese and nuts before going to bed. They contain the amino acid tryptophan – a precursor of melatonin, so this food helps some people to fall asleep. But it is impossible to give universal recommendations. For example, people with lactase deficiency cannot tolerate milk – because of it, the stomach will be so rumbling that it will not be up to rest.
Cherries are also touted as a product for sleep. They do contain a relatively high concentration of melatonin. It isn’t the sleep hormone, as it is incorrectly called, but the hormone of the night – a signal to the whole body that daylight hours are over. During the day, there are trace amounts of melatonin in the blood, and its concentration increases as darkness falls – so foods with melatonin can improve falling asleep.
A non-hot shower or warm bath helps to lower blood pressure, relax and help you fall asleep. But there are exceptions as well. Restless legs syndrome (found in 15% of the population) uses cold or contrast showers to relieve discomfort in the legs. It’s better for a person to check for himself what exactly helps him sleep – everything is individual.