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How to Fall Asleep Faster

Say goodbye to sleepless nights with these tricks to help you fall asleep faster.

When you crawl into bed after a long day, you might feel tired and ready to sleep—only to toss and turn in frustration. If that's the case, you're not alone—over 30 percent of people report experiencing insomnia-like symptoms that get in the way of falling asleep.[1]

Good sleep is incredibly important for overall health, with a suite of health benefits from improved memory and attention span to reduced risk of illnesses. But that doesn't mean it's always easy to drift off into a deep, restful sleep. To learn more about techniques and products that can help you fall asleep faster, get back to sleep —and reap all of the health benefits sleep can offer—look no further.

How Long Does Falling Asleep Take?

If you've ever struggled to fall asleep, you've probably wondered about how long it should take to fall asleep. The time it takes for you to fall asleep—also known as sleep latency—can vary dramatically from night to night. On average, it takes a normal adult between 5 and 20 minutes to fall asleep.[2] Occasionally having difficulty falling asleep is totally normal, but if you find yourself dealing with it consistently, it's best to consult a physician. You may have an underlying sleep condition that should be addressed. However, you can always try to improve your sleep habits, including how long it takes to fall asleep and how deeply you sleep, with some at-home techniques.

4 Tips and Techniques to Fall Asleep Faster

Trying—and failing—to fall asleep? Try these three techniques to help your body relax get a good night of sleep.

  • Count backwards. If you're having trouble falling asleep, one of the most common strategies you can try is to count backward from 10,000 in your head. As you count, picture the numbers passing by as you count at a relaxed and slow pace. Then, if you lose track, start over from the last number you remember. This helps focus your brain on a mindless task, instead of thinking about stressors or things you need to be doing. The rhythm of counting can put you in a sleepy state and help you fall asleep faster.
  • Military method for sleeping. Supposedly, this sleeping technique was invented to help pilots fall asleep in just a couple minutes.[3] Start by relaxing your face, starting with your forehead muscles and working your way down through your cheeks, mouth, and jaw. Then relax your neck, shoulders—every muscle that you can feel from your biceps to your hands. Picture each muscle relaxing and shutting down. Continue through your chest, belly, and each leg. When your whole body is relaxed, clear your mind—try thinking about nothing at all for 10 seconds, then another 10 seconds. Soon, you should be asleep. Like most sleeping techniques, it might not work the first time, but using it consistently will train your body to shut down and rest more quickly.
  • 4-7-8 breathing method. The 4-7-8 breathing technique, popularized by Dr. Weil, is a way of exercising mindful breathing that helps the body relax and reduce stress levels.[4] Start by exhaling completely, pressing your tongue against your front teeth, then breathing in through your nose for four counts. Hold your breath for seven counts. Then, exhale completely through your mouth for a count of eight. Repeat this breathing pattern three more times. As you do so, you'll notice your body relaxing, sinking into your bed, and transitioning slowly into sleep.
  • Create a sleep schedule. Okay, this might not help you fall asleep faster right away, but it's one of the most effective ways to help your sleep in the long term. Creating and adhering to a consistent sleep and wake schedule helps hone the body's internal clock, which helps you fall sleep and wake up more easily.[5] Not only can a healthy sleep schedule improve the time you spend asleep, it can improve the quality of sleep, too—a critical element of overall health.
3 Products to Help You Fall Asleep Faster
  1. Weighted Blanket. Weighted blankets may have risen in popularity for anxiety relief, but they're invaluable for people who struggle to fall and stay asleep. Weighted blankets use deep pressure stimulation, which can increase levels of melatonin, the hormone that helps you sleep.[6] It can also reduce levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. The result: increased feelings of calm, security, and sleepiness. It's the perfect way to drift off. For a luxurious, ultra-soft weighted blanket, try the Harkla Weighted Blanket. With a mink-life fabric and hypoallergenic, eco-friendly glass weights, this blanket is an investment in sensory satisfaction.
  2. White Noise Machine. Did you know that white noise might help you fall asleep 38 percent faster?[7] Studies show that not only can a white noise machine improve the time it takes to fall asleep, it can also improve the quality of sleep[8] Try the SNOOZ White Noise Sound Machine for better sleep whether you're at home or traveling. The SNOOZ features an acoustic enclosure with a mechanical fan for peaceful white noise that you can control with a remote. It's energy-efficient, too, so you never have to compromise on your sleep health.
  3. Sleep mask. Using a sleep mask can help you fall asleep faster and improve the quality of your sleep. Studies show that eye masks result in longer periods of REM sleep—the stage of sleep that's most critical for health—and elevated melatonin levels.[9] Block out unwanted, intrusive light that can interrupt sleep and experience comfort with Blissy Silk Sleep Mask. It's made of the highest-quality, hypoallergenic silk that prevents creases and wrinkling around the eyes. Bonus: If you've ever woken up with dry eyes, sleep masks can help! They protect the eyes from dust and allergens, keeping them hydrated and healthy all night long.

A healthy sleep schedule is a crucial component of your well-being. If you still struggle with sleep latency even after trying different strategies and products, it's always a good idea to contact a doctor or healthcare professional.