How to Fall Asleep Fast: 26 Tips to Beat Insomnia

April 5, 2022 | Casper Editorial Team
Illustration of man and woman sleeping with blanket and pillows Illustration of man and woman sleeping with blanket and pillows Illustration of man and woman sleeping with blanket and pillows

Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, with up to 30% of adults reporting short-term sleep issues. But if you’ve been up at night wondering how to fall asleep fast, it might be affecting you even more than you realize. 

Failing to fall asleep isn’t only frustrating — the anxiety from not being able to sleep can actually make it even harder to fall asleep in the future. So how can you stop this domino effect to successfully catch some zzz’s?

1. Try The Military Method

The military method is a technique that focuses on muscle relaxation, breathing, and mental visualization. Here’s how to fall asleep fast with the military method. 

  1. Lay down on your bed.
  2. Beginning with your face, tense your muscles and then loosen them as you take deep, calming breaths. 
  3. Repeat this process down your body until you feel at ease. 
  4. Clear your mind. Then, picture a relaxing scenario like peacefully lying in a canoe on a calm lake or gently rocking back and forth in a completely dark room.
  5. If this doesn’t work, repeat “don’t think” to yourself for 10 seconds and try again. 

The military method works better as you get more practice with it, so don’t give up if you have trouble clearing your mind right away. Over time, this technique should help you get to sleep in less and less time.

2. Use The 4-7-8 Method

With the 4-7-8 method, you focus on counting to distract yourself from feelings of anxiety. Here’s how to sleep faster with the 4-7-8 method.

  1. While laying down in bed, relax your tongue and rest it on the roof of your mouth. 
  2. Slowly exhale through your mouth, completely emptying your lungs. 
  3. Breath in through your nose for four seconds.
  4. Hold your breath for seven seconds.
  5. Exhale for eight seconds.
  6. Repeat this process at least four times. 

The 4-7-8 method is based on Pranayama, a traditional yoga technique. Research supports that Pranayama can ease anxiety and lull you into a state of calm, thus helping you fall asleep faster. 

3. Try to Stay Awake

An unexpected strategy for trying to fall asleep fast is actually by trying to stay awake. An unplanned all-nighter isn’t ideal, but lying awake worrying about your sleep won’t make you sleepier. It sounds counterintuitive, but trying to stay awake can lessen your anxiety about trying to fall asleep.

Try not to check your phone or turn on any bright lights when you’re attempting this. Instead, try:

  • Drinking water
  • Reading a book using ambient lighting
  • Challenging yourself to keep your eyes open (in your dark bedroom)

Since falling asleep is an involuntary process, taking your mind off of the task at hand can give your brain the break it needs for you to stop counting sheep.

4. Turn Down Your Tech

Illustration of phone on top of pillows

With the prevalence of modern technology, surfing the internet before bed is more of a given than a question. While it can be tough to turn off your tech, looking at your screen before bed can negatively impact your quality of sleep

Many devices emit a blue light that simulates sunlight — and while this is helpful before your morning coffee, it can do more harm than good when trying to hit the hay. 

If you’re not able to completely part with your devices for an hour before bed, consider turning down your tech instead. Try reducing screen time by:

If you can’t pull away from the screen at night, browse your device’s settings to see if there’s a night mode. This typically will make the screen warmer colors, reducing the effects of blue light on sleep.

5. Don’t Worry If You Don’t Fall Asleep Instantly

Is it even possible to fall asleep in five minutes? Many people make the mistake of trying to fall asleep almost instantly, but going from wide awake to snoozing isn’t always like flipping off a switch. 

Instead, start to wind down around an hour before bedtime. Slowly set up a sleep-friendly environment in your bedroom by:

  • Dimming your lights
  • Relaxing your body
  • Lowering bedroom temperature
  • Playing ambient noise 

6. Try Autogenic Training

Autogenic training is a relaxation method created by Johannes Heinrich Schultz, a German psychiatrist. 

Based on the principles of hypnosis, autogenic training uses a series of statements to create a calming effect. Here’s how to fall asleep fast with autogenic training:

  1. Lay down and bring focus to your breath, saying to yourself, “I am completely calm.”
  2. Bring your focus to your arms and repeat to yourself, “My arms are very heavy,” then, “I am completely calm,” at least six times. 
  3. Repeat this mantra for different parts of your body, such as your legs, abdomen, forehead, and heart. 
  4. Once you feel relaxed, begin to shift your attention to your entire body, where you should feel relaxed and warm.
  5. Repeat the above steps until you’re ready, at which point you can open your eyes (if you haven’t yet fallen asleep) and enjoy the state of calm. 

According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), autogenic training is well-researched to help alleviate many physical and emotional concerns, including anxiety. This makes it a good strategy to fall asleep faster.

7. Do a Body Scan

While a body scan might sound a bit medical-grade, it’s actually an easy relaxation technique you can do before bed to promote better sleep. A body scan is a check-in with yourself and your body you can do by bringing awareness and intention to each part of your body. 

  1. Lay down in a relaxed and comfortable position.
  2. Beginning with your head, focus on one section of your body until it feels completely relaxed.
  3. Move down to your shoulders, allowing them to relax before progressing down the right side of your body. 
  4. Once your right side feels relaxed, begin focusing on the left side of your body. 
  5. After 10 to 20 minutes, check in with your body to see if you feel completely relaxed. 

Body scans are similar to the military method. Both strategies focus on one section of the body at a time until you feel completely relaxed. However, with a body scan, you move at a very slow rate throughout your body, taking 10 to 20 minutes to reach the tips of your feet.

8. Take A Warm Bath or Shower

Illustration of man taking a bath with soap and plants in the foreground

A warm soak has long since been known as a remedy after a long day. But did you know taking a warm bath or shower is shown to help you fall asleep 36% faster

A reason for this might be that a drop in temperature helps signal to your body it’s time for sleep. While we all hate the feeling of stepping out of a warm bath or shower, that shock of cool air may help you sleep better.

Next time you think you might be up counting sheep, step into the tub for a nice and relaxing soak. Taking time for a hot bath or shower can also improve your quality of sleep — even during warm weather. 

9. Do Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Similar to body scanning, progressive muscle relaxation involves focusing on different areas of your body to put yourself in a relaxed state. However, with progressive muscle relaxation, you tense different muscle groups a few times before allowing them to relax. 

  1. Raise your eyebrows to tighten your forehead muscles, then allow them to relax, focusing on the release of tension from the temples.
  2. Squeeze your eyes shut, then allow them to relax, focusing on how your eyelids fall over your eyes. 
  3. Smile to feel tension in your cheeks and jaw, then allow them to relax, focusing on how each muscle interacts within your face.
  4. Repeat this process through the rest of your body, moving through muscle groups in the shoulders, arms, abdomen, and legs, before finishing at your feet. 
  5. Lay in this relaxed position until you doze off to sleep. 

10. Meditate Before Bed

Research has shown meditation can be a powerful way to overcome insomnia. By taking time before bed to meditate, you can clear your mind of the stresses of the day and focus on the present moment. Use the below method to meditate before you go to bed.

  1. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. 
  2. Close your eyes, slow your breathing, and focus on deeply inhaling and exhaling. 
  3. Clear your mind of thoughts. If you feel thoughts intruding, push them away by refocusing your breathing.
  4. Start with as little as five minutes of meditation, working your way up to longer periods as it feels comfortable. 

If you have trouble meditating, there are plenty of guided meditations available that will help you practice mindfulness and fall asleep faster.

11. Practice Imagery

Illustration of a lake with rolling hills

Imagery is a mental exercise you can do to calm your senses before bed. To practice imagery, picture a peaceful and happy image from your past and try to paint the picture in your mind, down to the very smallest of details. You can imagine scenes like:

  • Walking on the beach
  • Floating in the ocean
  • Laying by a babbling brook 
  • Watching the sunset

This mental exercise will engage your brain and focus your attention on your chosen image, promoting relaxation and putting you in a state of calm. 

12. Avoid Caffeine Up to Six Hours Prior

While caffeine may be the MVP for getting you out of bed, it’s also a major culprit in keeping you from falling asleep. So how long before bedtime should you be avoiding your daily cup of joe? 

Research has shown caffeine can impact your quality of sleep up to six hours before bedtime — so if you typically sleep at around 10 p.m., you should probably be finishing up your last cup before 4 p.m. 

Be wary of surprise caffeine sources like:

  • Chocolate
  • Mocha- or coffee-flavored protein bars
  • Coffee- or chocolate-flavored ice cream
  • Hot chocolate
  • Certain baked goods
  • Soda

Caffeine can even make you sleepy if you drink it too much. To get your drink fix before bed, opt for a decaffeinated drink like calming chamomile or lavender tea to satisfy your cravings without sacrificing your sleep. 

13. Create a Bedtime Routine

Creating a consistent bedtime routine can help you set your internal body clock so you know when to wind down for the night. Your bedtime routine can be as simple as playing a pre-bedtime playlist or taking a nightly bath — what matters is your routine works for you.

Your bedtime routine should be catered to your self-care preferences. There’s no one specific bedtime routine that works for everyone, but if you stick to a simple nightly ritual, your body will thank you for it. 

14. Keep the Thermostat Low

Do you ever feel like you spend your whole night trying to flip to the cold side of the pillow? While you might think sleeping in a warm environment would keep you restful and cozy, it’s actually better to sleep in a cool room. 

The ideal temperature for sleep is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. While it might feel too cold for comfort during the day, your internal temperature drops at night as an internal signal it’s time to sleep, meaning a cooler room provides the right situation for better quality sleep. 

15. Dim the Lights With a Glow Light

Light is an important signal that tells your body what “mode” to be in. While bright lights like blue light are great for keeping you alert, ambient yellow-toned light can help signal to your body it’s time to turn in.
Using a dimming light, like a Casper Glow Light, can help your body gradually relax into a sleep-ready state. For the best results, start dimming your lights slowly after dinner, until you’re ready for bed in your dark, cozy haven.

16. Do Yoga Before Bed

Illustration of a woman in childs pose

If you end the day feeling restless, a bit of calming yoga can be the reset your body needs to wind down before bed. Studies have shown that yoga before bed has helped people with insomnia improve their sleep quality by helping them fall asleep faster and sleep for longer. 

Yoga is a great way to relax your mind and your body by encouraging deep breathing and muscle relaxation. Next time you’re trying to fall asleep, consider spending a few minutes in child’s pose or happy baby first to get yourself ready to catch some zzz’s. 

17. Put Socks On

If you’re struggling to fall asleep and don’t know why, you might be getting cold feet — literally. Research has shown that when your feet are cold, your blood vessels constrict, causing less blood to circulate and sending signals to your brain to stay awake. 

Putting on a pair of socks before bed can help warm your feet and cause the blood vessels in your feet to dilate, sending signals to your brain it’s time for some sweet dreams. 

18. Take a Walk

Can’t stay still at night? Try taking a walk (kind of). While it may sound counterintuitive, getting up at night and moving to another area of your home for a few minutes can reset your brain so you’re not lying in bed restlessly waiting for respite. 

If you’re still struggling to fall asleep after 20 minutes, it might be time to do a quick reset. Just try to keep your nighttime stroll to around five to 10 minutes, making sure not to do anything jarring like turning on a bright light or causing a loud sound. 

19. Use a Weighted Blanket

Illustration of a man sleeping with a weighted blanket

Weighted blankets are heavy blankets used as a form of pressure therapy to create a calming effect and help stimulate the release of serotonin in your brain. The ideal weighted blanket is around 10% of your body weight since the blanket applies enough pressure at this weight so you’re calm and relaxed without feeling too restricted.

Whether you use a weighted blanket during your pre-bedtime ritual or throughout the night, your body will surely thank you for it.

20. Turn off the Clock

When you’re struggling to sleep at night, looking at your clock can further compound your sleep anxiety. Try turning off your clock, or turning it around so you can’t see the time at night. 

To block out all light sources and distractions, make sure your phone is placed face down and put on a sleep mask. That way, you won’t be as tempted to check the time — or go on a late-night web-surfing binge. 

21. Consider Melatonin Supplements

If you feel like all else has failed, melatonin supplements are an option that may help you fall asleep. Melatonin is a hormone that helps your body prepare for sleep. Taking melatonin supplements as you start your bedtime routine might help you fall asleep faster. 

If you’re considering melatonin supplements, first talk to your doctor to determine whether this is a good option for you.

22. Try a New Sleeping Position

We’ve all experienced how difficult it is to fall asleep when you’re not comfortable. If you’re having difficulty sleeping, it could be time to switch up your sleeping position.

For example, side sleepers can experience discomfort if they’re not properly supported. If you’re normally a side sleeper and find yourself tossing and turning to get comfortable, try sleeping on your back.

23. Play Relaxing Sounds

Relaxing sounds such as white noise can help restless sleepers settle into bed and fall asleep faster. Not only do these sounds help drown out other distractions like a busy street, but they help you relax too.

  • White noise is ambient noise where sounds are equally spread across the sound spectrum.
  • Pink noise is ambient noise where lower frequency sounds are more prominent than high-frequency sounds.
  • Brown noise is an ambient noise that only has low-frequency sound.

A noise machine or playing ambient sounds from your phone can all help you fall asleep fast. Popular relaxing sounds for sleep include:

  • Rain sounds
  • Instrumental music
  • Guided meditation

There are many options out there that combine different popular relaxing sounds to help you sleep. Try this option from the Casper Sleep Channel which combines relaxing music, guided meditation, and other ambient sounds to help you sleep.

24. Practice Sleep Hygiene

Sleep hygiene is a collection of habits that you practice throughout your day to help you sleep better at night. Common sleep hygiene habits include:

  • Laying in bed only if you’re sleeping (no scrolling on your phone!)
  • Cutting out naps
  • Getting out of bed as soon as you wake up in the morning 
  • Getting out of bed if you’re having trouble falling asleep
  • Maintaining a strict sleep schedule

To practice proper sleep hygiene, start by making sure your bed is associated only with sleeping. Instead of tucking into bed to watch some TV, try cozying up on the couch until it’s time for sleep.

25. Get Enough Exercise During the Day

If you’re consistently lying awake in bed at night, it could be a sign you need to spend more energy throughout the day. Initial research supports the idea that moderate exercise can help you sleep better at night.

You don’t need to go full-on gym jock to reap these benefits. Simple switches like taking a quick walk in the morning can help you sleep better. However, exercising too close to bedtime can keep you awake. Make sure you’re working out more than 90 minutes before bedtime to fall asleep faster. 

26. Increase Sunlight Exposure

Getting more sunlight or exposure to bright light during the day can also help you fall asleep faster at night. Research shows that bright light can help regulate your circadian rhythm, which is how your body decides it’s time to fall asleep and wake up. 

To take advantage of this, make sure you’re getting outside for a couple of minutes each day and keep your bedroom dark in the evening. This simulates sunrise and sunset, so your body knows it’s time for sleep once you start dimming your lights.

Set Yourself Up For Success

A good night’s sleep does wonders for you, both mentally and physically. But if you’re awake wondering how to fall asleep fast, the anxiety that triggers can actually make it even harder to catch some zzz’s.

Whether you do progressive muscle relaxation or start dimming the lights after dinner, set yourself up for a great night’s sleep with a soft and supportive mattress for the sleep of your dreams. 

FAQs

How Can I Fall Asleep in 5 Minutes?

tire body, starting at your face and working your way down while you take deep breaths. When you have relaxed your whole body, picture a relaxing scene, like lying in a canoe on a calm lake, and drift off.

How Can I Fall Asleep in 2 Minutes?

The 4–7–8 breathing exercise can be done in just a couple of minutes and helps you fall asleep faster. For this exercise, breathe in through your nose for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and exhale for eight seconds. Repeat as needed until you fall asleep.

How Can I Fall Asleep in 5 Seconds?

There is no quick fix to falling asleep within seconds, but with long-term habits to improve sleep hygiene, falling asleep should get easier over time.

How Can My Child Fall Asleep Fast?

Creating a bedtime routine and sticking to it is the key to helping your child fall asleep fast.