How to Fall Asleep in Less Than 1 Minute

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If you’ve ever had a bad night’s sleep, you know the negative effects of insomnia. Characterized by difficulty falling or staying asleep, insomnia can cause hormonal imbalances, elevate stress levels, interfere with productivity, slow down exercise recovery and decrease alertness.

Insomnia: The Facts

Thirty-three percent of all people experience some degree of sleep difficulty in their lives. In the U.S. alone, 15 to 20 percent of the population suffers from short-term insomnia. Ten percent struggle with chronic sleep difficulties. Some studies suggest the condition may have a genetic component, with 35 percent of subjects reporting a family history of insomnia.

Multiple factors may contribute to sleep troubles:

• Age
• Anxiety and/or depression
• Chronic disease
• Hormonal changes
• Pain
• Poor sleep practices
• Stress

The influence of hormones may explain why women struggle with insomnia more often than men. Insomniacs are also more likely to be under stress from holding high positions at their jobs, dealing with divorce, raising teenagers or being unemployed.

A Range of Remedies

Over the centuries, people have tried a variety of folk remedies to beat insomnia. The ancient Greeks and Egyptians used opium to relax, and people in Victorian times believed in the power of putting magnets under their beds.

Today, black snakeroot is a popular Ayurvedic option for addressing insomnia. Chamomile tea, valerian root and supplemental melatonin are also common. Some people try eating fried lettuce or smelling raw onions; others are fans of warm baths or acupuncture. Tai chi may be useful for improving quality of sleep in older individuals.

You may have tried a few tricks yourself and found they either didn’t work or only helped in the short term. There are smarter and healthier ways to manage sleep, and such methods are easy to incorporate into your daily routine.

Tips for Better Sleep

For real help falling and staying asleep, try:

• Establishing a consistent bedtime and wake time
• Daily exercise
• Avoiding caffeine late in the day
• Cutting down on alcohol
• Quitting smoking
• Stretching before bed
• Sleeping in a dark bedroom without distractions
• Switching off the TV and electronic devices an hour before bed
• Having a specific relaxation routine
• Eating a bedtime snack high in healthy carbohydrates

Related: 7 Habits of People Who Always Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Another method many people swear by for healthy sleep is the “4-7-8” breath. Popularized by holistic physician Andrew Weil, this simple breathing exercise is performed twice per day to ease tension and improve sleep quality. NeuroNation, a brain training provider (more details about NeuroNation brain games can be found here), created an insomnia infographic with more information about this sleep trick and other methods you can try to help you sleep well.

Try it out and see if it works for you.

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