How to fall asleep faster and sleep better, improve your sleep in 10 simple steps.
In this article, you will discover how to fall asleep faster, better and improve your sleep in 10 simple steps.
Before being a Health Coach, I worked for 15 years in Human Resources for a company where the workload was very large.
My main job was to relocate employees internationally. My stress was very high, so my sleep was totally disrupted.
I used to wake up every morning with a headache, felt almost every day as if I was fighting a flu and often had trouble concentrating.
I thought it was normal to feel this way when you have a demanding, full-time job. Well no! When I discovered and started applying some tips to improve the quality of my sleep,
I was amazed to see how bad sleep undermines our quality of life! With the right tools, despite a hectic life, you can have a restful sleep and feel good during the day!
Side effects of sleep disorder
Here are some side effects of sleep disorder:
• Mental fatigue that can lead to a decrease in concentration, disturbances of alertness,
• Mood disorders that can affect social life and lead to a depressive state
• Lack of energy
• Increased risk of accidents at work or on the road
• Excessive desire which can lead to being overweight • Impaired immune system that can cause various infections
• Disruption of the metabolism that may increase the risk of developing certain diseases: strokes, diabetes, high blood pressure, certain cancers …
Are you taking your health for granted?
Thirty years ago, life brought me back to the harsh reality that physical and mental health were gifts not a given.
What are the benefits of quality sleep?
The benefits of adequate sleep are numerous . Here are a few:
1) It prevents weight gain
People who lack sleep have an increased risk of suffering from obesity.
This link is explained by hormonal changes involved in the regulation of appetite because it increases the production of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite.
It is recognized that lack of sleep reduces your ability to resist junk food cravings.Source:
2) Sleep keeps your heart healthier
Lack of sleep increases your risk of heart disease. Regularly depriving yourself of sleep can cause an increase in stress hormones such as cortisol.
Such an increase forces your heart to work harder, no longer getting all the rest it needs. Your body regenerates as it sleeps.
3) Good sleep will prevent your brain from overheating
You need more time in your day? Never cut on a good night’ sleep. A good sleep is linked to a high level of concentration and performance of cognitive functions.
A single sleepless night is enough to feel ineffective the next day. Your memory will not be as sharp and you will be more prone to making mistakes.
4) Good sleep, better mood!
Remember the last time you slept well? You probably woke up in a good mood, full of energy and were less likely to see the little challenges of everyday life.
Lack of sleep makes you more vulnerable to stress and anxiety, preventing you from sleeping well the next night and quickly creating a vicious cycle.
5) Best for your sex life
Quality sleep keeps your testosterone level higher. Research shows that men who sleep less than six hours a night have less testosterone, and such a drop automatically lowers their sex drive.
Sleep cycles and their importance for quality sleep
Once asleep, the body goes through multiple changes, the brain activates, then calms down, then activates again. Specialists distinguish 5 stages:
Stage 1 Sleepiness: (Represents about 3 to 5% of total sleep time) Is a kind of consciousness sleepiness, where brain activity slows down and thoughts wander.
It is during this phase that we sometimes have the feeling of stumbling and falling. The slightest noise can wake us up.
Be sure to reduce the factors that may wake you up as it is easier to fall asleep at the first attempt.
Stage 2 Light sleep: (Represents about 45 to 55% of total sleep time) 60% of people that wake up during this stage feel like they have been asleep.
Each phase lasts about 10 to 20 minutes. In this stage, there is no eye movement, muscle tone is always present and we can sometimes move. This is the beginning of the physical recovery of the body.
Stage 3, 4 Deep Sleep (Represents 15 to 25% of total sleep time) This is the most important phase. It is very difficult to wake up at this point.
Stage 3 is the transition period between light sleep and deep slow sleep.
Deep slow sleep promotes hormonal secretion production of growth hormones. Growth hormones enhance the effectiveness of the immune system and the anchoring of information in our memory.
Stage 5 REM sleep (Approximately 20 to 25% of total sleep time) REM sleep is known to be the period for dreams to occur. It also plays a vital role in the maturation of the nervous system as well as in the increase of storage capacities in memory. This stage lasts an average of twenty minutes.
Restful sleep is the foundation of physical and mental well-being. After a stimulating day, our body needs its deep sleep to recover and reset.
When we are rested, we are more alert, have clearer ideas, make better decisions and we are more creative at finding solutions.
When we do not have a restful sleep, we will be more likely to make mistakes and slower to perform our tasks.
I would like to share the experience of one of my clients Every time I talk about sleep, it reminds me of a young client who had been sleeping badly for 5 months.
After a coaching session and her diligence following my advice, she got results her first night! She fell asleep quickly, was able to go back to sleep even more quickly after her little nocturnal visit to the bathroom and she woke up much more rested.
She was amazed at how a good night sleep helps with higher energy, clear ideas and a better mood!
How to fall a sleep faster and sleep better, improve your sleep in 10 simple steps
If you apply all 10 tips, you will get results you desire. It is the accumulation of your actions that will optimize your results.
The 10 tips are broken into two areas: falling a sleep faster and sleep better
Tips for falling asleep faster
1 – Get 7 to 8 hours a sleep
According to the Mayo Clinic, for a healthy adult, the recommended amount of sleep is at least seven hours.
Most people don’t need more than eight hours of sleep to be productive. Keep in mind that the hours before midnight are generally the most rejuvenating.
Sleeping 7 or 8 hours will make you more resilient to stress, be more cheerful and more productive.
2 – Our nights are the reflection of our days
Slow down! Be aware of what you are asking of your brain and your body. Think about doing ‘empty brain micro-breaks’.
Here is an easy-to-integrate break that my customers prefer. Every time you take a bathroom break, take 5 deep breaths while becoming aware of your state of mind.
3 – Protect yourself from Blue-Light exposure
Two hours before going to bed, avoid watching television or any screen like a computer or a cellular. Blue light inhibits and delays melatonin’s production, needed to fall asleep and feel rested.
There are a few methods you can use to protect your eyes from this light exposure:
- Set your phone and computer to have an Orange light programed for a few hours before you go to bed
- Wear glasses that block Blue light
4 – Take a relaxing warm bath of shower
A warm, quiet bath before bed is often helpful. The temperature contrast from warm bath water to cold air facilitates falling asleep faster and increases the overall sleep quality, especially for older adults.
I suggest adding the following mix in your bath: ½ cup of Epson salt *, add 3 drops of lavender essential oil or Serenity or Balance.
Epson salt is recognized, among other things, to promote muscle relaxation. The advantage of adding the oil to the salt is to prevent it from remaining on the surface of the bath water.
Take this opportunity to massage your temples, neck, feet and consciously express your gratitude for the day.
Epsom salt is very well tolerated by our bodies, but take note that it is not recommended for use if you are pregnant, dehydrated or if you have open wounds or burns on your skin.
5 – Read an inspirational book
Read inspirational book or magazine for a few minutes before bed. Avoid dramatic or stressful reading material.
Reading a few pages before sleeping can relax you and eliminates the tensions of the day. The state of post-sleep stress would be reduced by about 68%.
Here are some examples of inspirational books: – The 4 Four Agreements, Miguel Ruiz – Biographies of people that fascinate you.
6 – Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is to be aware of what is happening as it happens. It is consciously paying attention to the present without judgment. It’s going off of autopilot mode.
Mindfulness allows you to take a step back from automatic behaviors and our thought patterns. It allows you to see things more clearly and to better respond to what happens to us, instead of reacting.
Once in bed, close your eyes, allow your mind to adjust. Pay attention to your breathing, notice the tension in your body, consciously get in the habit of relaxing each part body part. Stay in the Zen of the present moment.
7 – Take melatonin
Take 3-6 mg of melatonin 30 minutes before bedtime. You will sleep like a baby! You will feel fresh and ready to wake up. It will help you to fall asleep and to stay asleep.
You can buy melatonin at a pharmacy or at your local health food store.
Precautions: Pregnant or and breastfeeding women and children should caution when using melatonin as there is a lack of sufficient data regarding its use for these people. Always get your doctor’s approval before taking melatonin
Tips to improve the quality of your sleep
8 – Watch what you eat
Eat a light supper, make sure you do not go to bed hungry. Avoid fried foods and sweets as they may interfere with your digestion and wake you up at night.
Eat mostly vegetables for dinner with a small portion of protein such as salmon or chicken and 1/3 of avocado.
Note that foods containing magnesium, such as bananas, eggs and spinach are recommended as they have natural soothing properties. Beware of nuts as they can be difficult to digest.
9 – Diffuse an essential oil
Pure and good quality lavender essential oil is a great way to help fight insomnia and improve the quality of sleep.
An hour before going to bed, spread the essential oil in your room using a diffuser to maximize its calming effect.
Essential oils are not all created in the same way, so make sure you understand where they come from ’how they are made and how pure they are.
The inhalation of essential oils stimulates the olfactory nerves (sense of smell), which send signals to the limbic system of the brain.
The limbic system controls heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory and hormone production.
When the limbic system receives signals from the olfactory nerves, it triggers an emotional, physiological and endocrine response.
For example, when you smell lavender essential oil, its microscopic compounds immediately trigger your emotional brain to calm your nervous system and relax your muscles. These combined effects reduce your stress and help you sleep.Source:
10 – Avoid caffeine late in the day
Caffeine is a stimulant. Some people are more sensitive to it than others. Most people get caffeine from coffee, tea, soft drinks, energy drinks and/or chocolate.
Avoid caffeine 6 hours before bedtime. Caffeine blocks the effect of adenosine, which is a neurotransmitter that reduces the brain activity.
Adenosine makes us feel more relaxed and causes us to want to go to sleep.
As the day goes by, we build up adenosine which makes us feel more tired. Coffee reduces the adenosine effect, waking you up instead of preparing your body for sleep.
Instead of caffeine try to substitute with an infusion of chamomile, valerian or holy basil.
In conclusion, every day give yourself the gift of being attentive to what happens in your mind and body. Give yourself the gift to feel great and enjoy life. Help your brain and your body be at their best.
If you want to know more about how to improve your sleep quality, write to us via our contact form and ask for an appointment with a health coach.