13 Best Ways to Fall Asleep Faster and Sleep Better
Sleep is one of the best ways for our bodies to restore and heal themselves from all the damage we put them through on a daily basis. This is a time for your body to recover from the constant toxic exposure it encounters. Everything from the food you eat and the water you drink to the city you live in is full of toxins that can derail your body by filling your cells with unwanted junk.
But when we sleep, we have more energy for creating new, healthier cells to replace the unhealthy cells that no longer work as efficiently. Try to get at least seven hours (eight is ideal) of sleep per night, and listen to your body! If you feel tired or groggy, sometimes more sleep is the answer. If you’re already sleeping eight hours, it may be that you need to increase the quality of your sleep.
Sleep also helps restore the tear layer and repair the surface of the eyes, making sleep especially important for those with dry eye disease. Most people don’t prioritize sleep like they should. They instead stay up late watching TV or playing on their smartphones. What is more important, liking that Facebook post or healing your dry eyes (along with all the other great benefits of sleep)?
7 Health Benefits of Sleep
Getting sufficient sleep (seven to eight hours) has many benefits for your overall health, and this can in turn benefit your eyes. Here are a few other ways that sleep benefits you:
1) Getting sick less often
When your body gets adequate rest, your cells are able to regenerate and form new, healthy cells. As a result, you’ll get sick less often and have less worry about common ailments.
2) Less brain fog and clearer thinking
Sleeping the recommended 7-8 hours nightly means that your brain has time to repair and become rejuvenated. When you wake up in the morning, the goal is to actually feel like you slept well, without the brain fog.
3) Greater ability to focus and concentrate, as well as improved memory
Just like the previous point, sleeping promotes brain health because it allows the brain to rest. With proper rest, the brain has a greater focusing ability and can concentrate much more easily.
4) Better mood and reduced stress
Do you remember the last time you had a horrible night of sleep? I bet you felt horrible the next day. When the body doesn’t rest properly, hormones are thrown off, leading to increased cortisol and stress the next day.
5) Better will power to make better decisions
Because your brain has time to rest, you’re better able to use that brain to make good decisions and choose healthier options throughout the rest of your day.
6) Weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight
Studies have shown that when people don’t get enough sleep, their levels of satiety and hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin are thrown off. This could lead to weight gain due to overeating throughout the day.
7) Lowering your risk for serious health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and dry eyes
When you sleep, your body repairs itself and fights inflammation. Inflammatory diseases such as these can often be calmed by simply sleeping better, both longer and more soundly.
13 Best Ways to Fall Asleep Faster and Sleep Better
We all want to get more restful sleep, and so many of us need this for our health to improve. Below are 13 tips you can use to fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and achieve more restful sleep. While you don’t need to use all of these tips, we do use most of them and encourage you to choose the ones that stand out to you.
Get 10 to 30 minutes of sunlight in the morning. We’ll discuss more about this below, but this could be one of the most important things you can do to get better sleep. Sunlight in the early morning, especially before 10:00am, increases your serotonin levels, and serotonin is converted to melatonin at night. Being the main hormone responsible for the sleep-wake cycle, melatonin is an important factor in ensuring that you sleep well and wake up feeling rested.
Cut off electronics 2 hours before sleep (TV, Phones, Computers). After the sun goes down, blue light is naturally reduced, which causes an increase in melatonin production, which is your sleep hormone. All of our screens emit blue light, which disrupts your circadian rhythm by tricking your body into thinking it’s still daylight. This prevents melatonin production, so turning off your devices a few hours before bed can really help let your body know that it’s time to sleep.
Wear Blue Light Blocking Glasses when working on a phone, computer or watching TV AND 2-3 hours before bed. This will help with the melatonin production as discussed above. We recommend wearing 30-35% blue light blocking glasses for working on your computer or watching TV during the day and then switching to 95-100% blue light blocking lenses after 7pm. This will ensure that you’re protecting your eyes from blue light without making you unnecessarily sleepy earlier than you should be.
Get into your bed at the same time every night. We recommend heading to your bedroom 30 minutes before going to bed. What will you do? Get ready for bed, talk with your partner, have sex, read a paper book or magazine. All of these are great options and will wind you down for a restful night’s sleep.
Get 8 hours of sleep scheduled (go to sleep and wake up at the same time everyday). Consistency is one of the best ways to fall asleep easily and sleep well through the night. That’s why we go to bed at the same time during the week and on the weekend. We also wake up within the same time window every single day. This ensures that your body becomes accustomed to falling asleep at a certain time and being awake during certain hours.
Turn fans and vents away from you. The constant breeze from these will cause dryness of your eyes, so this is especially important for those with dry eye disease. If you use a fan for noise, purchase a white noise machine (we love ours and even have one in our son’s room). We all sleep better for it!
Make your room pitch black with black out curtains. The darker your room is, the better you’ll sleep because any light can disrupt your sleep patterns. We use black out curtains in both our room and our son’s room because even a little bit of light can disrupt your circadian rhythm and trick your body into thinking it’s daylight.
Plug your phone in another room or turn it on airplane mode. Unless you really need to get notifications in the middle of the night (in case of emergencies), you should remove your phone from your room or at least turn it off. Low frequency electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure can wreak havoc on your health and disrupt your sleep, especially if your phone sits on your nightstand by your head all night.
Remove the TV from your bedroom. Bedrooms are for sleep and sex only...and maybe reading a good book. TV in your bedroom will only keep you up longer and disrupt your sleep. If you fall asleep with the TV on for noise, invest in a white noise machine.
Diffuse Lavender Essential Oil. You should begin this in your bedroom at 7:00 pm and run it all night. This will help reduce toxins in the bedroom and put you in a calmer state. Lavender is known for its calming properties, and it is a wonderful way to achieve more restful sleep for everyone in your family.
Avoid caffeine after noon and alcohol in the evening. Excessive caffeine and alcohol intake throughout the day can not only be detrimental to your dry eyes, but it can also disrupt your sleep. It’s best to stick to a morning cup of coffee and no more than one alcoholic drink with dinner.
Move your body. Exercise and physical activity can help you fall asleep and stay asleep. It’s best to avoid exercising right before bed, so try to do it in the morning if you can. If not, just make sure that your exercise routine is consistent so that your body can learn when it’s time to sleep.
Try stress relieving techniques. If you stay up at night worrying or feeling anxious, try keeping a gratitude journal next to your bed. Each night, write down 3-5 things you are grateful for that day, and make sure to jot down any extra thoughts and to-do lists for the next day. This will keep your mind clear and ready to shut down. In addition to journaling, Yin Yoga or meditation right before bed could help you fall asleep much faster. These help to relax the mind and body so that you’re ready for a restful sleep.
What does getting 10 to 30 minutes of sunlight in the morning do for you? Sunlight in the correct doses is very good for health. The sun is our ultimate energy source that provides us life on earth. With that being said, it is very powerful and should be approached with caution. The sunlight we are recommending you get is before 10:00 am. Any time after that, make sure to wear sunscreen and proper protection such as sunglasses, a wide brimmed hat, and protective clothing.
According to Dr. Jack Kruse, neurosurgeon and longtime proponent of morning sunlight, “Sunlight releases a[n] opiate (ß-endorphin) when we are exposed to the sun. Guess why nature did that? Could it be that she wanted us going in the sunlight often for its healing powers? …It turns out that the combination of [ultraviolet] and [infrared] solar light humans are designed to get in the AM also pre-treats the skin to lower inflammation. The fact that [UV] light induces a small opiate response tell us nature is trying to get us to come out into the solar light in the morning.”
Who doesn't like a good sunbath? Getting as little as 10 minutes of sunlight in the morning can provide numerous health benefits for you later that day, and this benefits overall health and vitality.
A reduction in Vitamin D plays a large role in a ton of chronic diseases including dry eye, asthma, type II diabetes, high blood pressure, and more. Your skin will absorb the morning sunlight to be used later in the day for vitamin D production, which helps reduce the risk of these diseases.
Speaking of using later in the day, morning sunlight increases your serotonin production, which your body converts into melatonin later in the day. Melatonin is naturally increased when the sun goes down, and it starts to signal to your body to go to sleep.
Avoid phones, TV's and other electronic devices at night, as this inhibits melatonin production therefore leading to inadequate sleep. Wearing a pair of blue light blocking glasses or using a night app on your phone will also help with increasing your melatonin production.
Sunlight helps increase endorphins in the body, which help to decrease stress and anxiety as well.
Safe sunlight has numerous benefits:
Increased melatonin at night to regulate your circadian rhythm, which is your sleep cycle
Increased vitamin D production
Reduced risk of cancer
Reduced risk of major chronic diseases
Positively affects endocrine and hormonal levels
Improved mood and feelings of well being
If this article hasn’t been able to convince you that you need to be doing things to get better sleep, I’m not sure what will! There are so many lasting benefits of proper sleep and, using the simple tips above, you can achieve the sleep that your body needs.
Do you have sleep issues? Let us know if you’ve tried any of the tips above!