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Learning How to Fall Asleep is Hugely Important

When you sleep, your body and mind regenerate and reset, which is incredibly important for your well-being and health. Luckily there's a lot of advice on how to fall asleep available, because having issues sleeping can be extremely bothersome and affect your mental and physical health.


A big part of a human being's life is spent sleeping. Infants sleep round the clock; toddlers need around 13 hours of sleep every night. Young people should ideally sleep for 8 to 9 hours, while most adults can do with 7-8 hours. How much sleep a person needs, however, varies a lot and can be related to gender, physical activity, quality of sleep, etc.

As people grow older, they will have to accept that they are able to sleep less and less hours every night, and will usually end up sleeping much, much less than they did when they were young. This is often due to decreased exercise levels, but almost all elderly people suffer from insomnia to some degree, so it appears to be a natural occurrence.

So when are we talking about actual insomnia and serious sleep and snoring disorders? If a person feel that their work, family life, and overall well being is being affected by their trouble of falling asleep for long periods of time, it can be a very real health issue. If you cannot always fall asleep at night, but feel completely rested every day, you may just be one of those lucky people that do not need at lot of sleep.

how to fall asleepAnybody, even children, can have periods of their life where they have trouble falling asleep. This will often occur during difficult times of their lives; stress, worries and concerns are all known causes of insomnia. It's possible that you have no issues falling asleep when you first go to bed, but then wake up feeling wide awake, unable to go back to sleep.
 
 So you might be asking yourself, what is the best way? How can I fall asleep? Although there is plenty of sleep medication that can be used, this path should be avoided as much as possible and only be used for short periods of time. 

On long bus trips or flights where it can be very difficult to get comfortable and feel relaxed enough to sleep, a lot of people choose to have sleeping pills prescribed by their doctor. The body will easily adapt to sleeping medication, and regular users will have to increase their dose frequently, as they become increasingly tolerant to the medicine. The effect of prescription sleeping aids will also often last for a long time after the alarm clock has gone off, and can make you feel groggy and lethargic.

 

One of the most important things you can do to fall asleep easier is to first make sure that you do not have a sleep disorder. The cause of your trouble with falling asleep can be due a real disease that will often be genetically determined. Over the past few decades, the list of known sleeping disorders has grown to numbers in the triple digits! Many of them have no specific treatment, and people often do not even know that they suffer from them. 

 

how to fall asleepThe most common sleep disorders are dyssomnia, a number of sleep disorders including insomnia; hypersomnia, conditions including sleep apnea, in which a person can sleep excessively, but not feel rested after sleeping; narcolepsy; nocturnal cramps and jitters; and restless leg syndrome. A separate group of sleep disorders that are caused by shift work and jet lag also exists.

There are various remedies available, including surgeries, mouth guards and cognitive behavioral therapy, that can allow you to fall asleep easier. 

Luckily there are many more simple tricks that can help you figure out how to fall asleep. Naturally it is important to be comfortable in your bedroom and to keep it as dark as possible. It is also common knowledge that getting enough exercise (not too late in the day, though) will also make you sleep more soundly.

If you feel like you have all this covered already, you can try some of the tips below to fall asleep easier.

  • Skip the sheep counting
It might be hard to believe, but it's true: people still do this! Numerous studies have proven though that counting sheep is simply too boring and does not tire the brain out sufficiently to make you fall asleep. Although this is one of the most common pieces of advice you will get on how to fall asleep, you will be better off trying different brain exercises. Try instead to think of something beautiful, a waterfall or a nice beach, which will have a much more hypnotic effect.
  • Warm milk does indeed help
This is another old remedy, but granny's wisdom may actually not be that far off this time. Hot milk calms the brain, in addition to providing calcium, which restores the muscles. It also contains the amino acid tryptophan, which is a precursor of the neurotransmitter serotonin that plays an important role in the body’s ability to get a good night's sleep.  

The issue with tryptophan, however, is that it must compete with other amino acids to penetrate the blood-brain barrier and enter the brain, and unfortunately is last in line. This problem can be solved by eating something sweet after you drink the milk or to add something sweet to it, like honey. The sweet stimulates the body's production of insulin, which removes the competing amino acids. You should not expect a big effect - but hot milk may do the trick.

  • how to fall asleepBreathe
Focusing on your breathing may help you fall asleep. Breathe slowly in and out three times, through your belly, drawing the breath out to fully empty your lungs. Do this six or seven times then go back to breathing normally. This breathing exercise should make you relax and ultimately feel sleepy.
  • Control your thoughts
Instead of focusing your thoughts on how tired you will be the next day, you should try to think positively instead. Negative thoughts can be overwhelming and make the issue much, much worse. So trying to fix your mind on good experiences that you will have the next day can help a lot.
  • Meditate
Meditation provides you with relaxation and tranquility, and research shows that yoga and meditation can have a very positive effect on your sleep.

For more tips on how to fall asleep and how to wake up again, Rahat's website Fall Asleep Snug is a great resource. A troubled sleeper himself, Rahat will tell you what works best for him and which devices can have a good impact on your sleep pattern.

Useful Links:

If you're having trouble falling asleep, maybe a smartphone app can help. SleepQ for example, not only monitors your sleep, but it also 'trains' you. It teaches troubled sleepers more about their sleeping patterns and what they can do to improve them.


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