How to fall asleep Graphic Sleep Guide

How to Fall Asleep (Eight Best Sleep Tips 2023)


Have you ever asked this question before? If you are tossing and turning and it is way past midnight, trust me, you’re in good (but sleepy) company! A staggering 50-70 million US adults have a sleep disorder, according to the American Sleep Association.1 Millions!

Insomnia, the most common among these, affects 30% of adults sometimes, while 10% suffer from chronic insomnia.2

It can be torture when you can’t fall asleep. SO we looked for EVERYTHING we could find about sleep. And then we collected the best info to make sure you fall asleep fast and easy.

Hope you are all settled in for a cozy read, because we’re about to take a deep dive into how you can get to sleep quick and easy.

How to Fall Asleep.  cat with headphones image

Benefits of Good Sleep

Like anything with the body, sleep is complex. It might surprise you, but sleep is not a passive state of inactivity, but an active and dynamic process that plays a critical role in our overall health and well-being. During sleep, the brain is actively involved in various important tasks such as information processing and consolidation, and physiological maintenance1

So learning how to fall asleep is very important. Quality sleep enhances cognitive function, mood, and even weight management.3 According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, sleep plays a crucial role in the growth and development of children and teenagers, and it contributes to the healing and repair of heart and blood vessels.4

In contrast, inadequate sleep or sleep deprivation has substantial negative implications for health. Chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to a variety of health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and it is even associated with increased mortality risk.5

It doesn’t even stop there, insufficient sleep often results in cognitive impairment, mood instability, and reduced quality of life.

How to fall asleep. A girl sleeping peacefully with the best headphones for sleep on her ears, suggesting the use of sleeping headphones for a restful sleep

8 Core Principles of Sleep

It is crucial to acknowledge the importance of how to fall asleep and to seek appropriate solutions for sleep-related issues. These solutions may include lifestyle changes, medical interventions, or consultation with a sleep therapist. 

When it comes to achieving quality sleep, there are EIGHT KEY ELEMENTS to consider:

Light exposure, temperature, airflow, habits, nutrition, sounds, bed comfort, and mindset.

Each of these elements plays a big role in promoting restorative sleep. Keep scrolling to learn how you can improve on each of these eight elements.

1. Light Exposure


Let’s shine a light on how light affects sleep.

Light, both natural and artificial, plays a huge role in regulating our sleep patterns. It helps synchronize our biological clock (the “circadian rhythm”), which decides when we feel awake and when we feel sleepy.

Light influences our sleep-wake cycles with the production of melatonin, a hormone that signals to our bodies that it’s time for sleep. As the sun sets and darkness falls, our bodies produce more melatonin, preparing us for sleep.6

Effects of Light Exposure

In contrast, exposure to light, especially bright and blue light, suppresses melatonin production, signaling to our bodies that it’s time to wake up or stay awake. This is why a burst of morning sunlight can feel so invigorating.

But here’s where it gets tricky – in our modern world, we’re not just exposed to the natural ebb and flow of daylight and darkness. We are also surrounded by artificial lights, including the glow from our electronic devices. So exposure to artificial light in the evening and the small hours can throw our internal clock out of whack, leading to poor sleep.7

Screen light, especially from smartphones and laptops, is often skewed towards the blue end of the spectrum. Research has found that blue light exposure close to bedtime can delay the release of melatonin. 8

Light Solutions

So, what can we do about this?

Consider limiting screen time before bed, using devices with ‘night mode’ settings that reduce blue light, or even wearing glasses that block blue light. Moreover, making your sleep environment as dark as possible can help boost melatonin production. Blackout curtains, eye masks, or simply turning off unnecessary lights can make a significant difference.

Also seeking out natural daylight during the morning hours, can help reset your clock to be in tune with the correct time of day. If you are waking up later than you want, try getting outside as fast as possible after waking up. It really helps!

LIGHT, in its various forms, is a powerful regulator of our sleep. Managing our exposure to light, ESPECIALLY in the evening, can help us align our sleep patterns with our natural biological rhythms, leading to better sleep quality and overall health.

2. Temperature

Heat and Temperature

Our body is deeply intertwined with various environmental factors, and temperature is a BIG one. Its role in promoting or disrupting sleep is obvious, but it’s a little more complicated than you might think.

The “circadian rhythm” our bodies sleep clock, is very sensitive to temperature. According to the National Sleep Foundation, there is a notable drop in our core body temperature as we prepare for sleep, and maintaining an optimal room temperature can facilitate this process.9

Optimal Temperature

What is this optimal temperature, you might wonder? Well, the magic number appears to be around 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius). At this temperature, our bodies can efficiently reduce their core temperature, leading to faster sleep onset and better sleep quality. However this number may vary slightly from person to person.

But what about when the temperature isn’t so sleep-friendly? The American Academy of Sleep Medicine points out that temperatures that are too high or too low can lead to restless sleep and increased wakefulness.10 But we don’t need an institution to know that. Everyone has experienced a time where it was just too warm to sleep. This is because overly warm temperatures can particularly interfere with the stage of sleep known as REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is crucial for memory consolidation and mood regulation.

Temperature Solutions

So, what can we do about this to help us fall asleep? Consider adjusting your thermostat, investing in breathable bedding, or even taking a warm bath before bed (it sounds counter-intuitive, but it actually helps lower your body temperature). And don’t forget the role of airflow in maintaining a cool sleep environment – keeping a window open can make a significant difference.

More recent studies also say the temperature dropping helps a lot too. So going from a warm environment to a cool one can be very beneficial. This explains why warm baths or showers can be so helpful. It’s not just the temperature itself, but the transition from warm to cool.

So it’s all about finding that sweet spot where your body can relax, unwind, and journey into a night of restful sleep. Remember to give your sleep environment the cool consideration it deserves – your sleep quality may just rise as the mercury falls.

3. Airflow

How to Fall Asleep

Ever wondered why a breezy nap on a hammock feels so refreshing? Or why you sleep like a baby in a cool room with a window cracked open? Well, it’s not just the temperature; it’s all about the airflow!

The role of airflow in promoting sleep quality is a subject of growing interest among scientists and sleep experts. Airflow, in the context of sleep, refers to the circulation of air in and around the sleep environment, which can be significantly influenced by factors such as ventilation.

Research conducted by the Eindhoven University of Technology found that improved ventilation, for instance by keeping a window or door open, can enhance the quality of sleep.11 The mechanism behind this does involve temperature like we already discussed, but it also involves carbon dioxide levels.

Carbon Dioxide

With carbon dioxide, a study published in the journal ‘Indoor Air’ reveals that elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the sleep environment can compromise sleep efficiency and potentially induce headaches.12 By improving ventilation through methods such as opening a window or a door, the carbon dioxide can be reduced, making a healthier sleep environment.

Also consider investing in a fan that is powerful but quiet, so it can increase airflow without keeping you awake. 

In conclusion, airflow plays a critical role in creating an optimal sleep environment. Improved ventilation can regulate temperature and reduce carbon dioxide levels, both of which are integral for promoting good sleep quality. Therefore, implementing measures to enhance airflow, such as keeping a window open, could significantly contribute to a better night’s sleep.

4. Sounds

How to Fall Asleep
Sounds and Audio

Listen up!

When we think about what we need for a good night’s sleep, we normally think about a comfortable bed, a dark room, and cool pillow. However, another crucial factor is sound. Sound can dramatically reshape our sleep environment.

In a world that is constantly buzzing with noise, achieving a quiet sleep environment can be challenging. According to the World Health Organization, exposure to noise during sleep can lead to various health issues, including sleep disturbances, cardiovascular diseases, and even cognitive impairment in children.13

On the flip side, the right type of sound can have a positive impact on sleep. Have you ever wondered why many people find it easier to fall asleep to the sound of rainfall or the rhythmic crashing of ocean waves? These sounds can help mask disruptive background noise and create a consistent sonic environment conducive to sleep.

White Noise

The American Sleep Association explains that white noise works by reducing the difference between background sounds and a “peak” sound, like a door slamming, giving you a better chance to sleep through it undisturbed.14 This is why white noise machines or apps are popular sleep aids.

However, it’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario. Sound preferences can vary greatly among individuals. Some may find complete silence to be the most sleep-promoting, while others might prefer the gentle hum of a fan or the soothing voice of an audiobook.

Sound Therapy

Moreover, advancements in sleep science have led to the development of ‘sound therapy’ or ‘sound conditioning’. This involves using specific sounds and music that have been found to induce and enhance deep sleep. Research has shown that sounds synchronized with the brain’s slow oscillations during sleep can improve memory and cognitive function15. It’s no surprise calm talking helps too! So DON’T FORGET to check out our library of sleep audiobooks! 😉

Sound plays a pivotal role in our sleep environment. Whether it’s the disruptive impact of noise pollution or the soothing effect of white noise, sound can either hinder or promote a good night’s sleep. So, the next time you prepare for sleep, consider the sound environment around you. It might make the difference between counting sheep till sunrise and drifting off into a peaceful slumber!

5. Bed Environment

Bed Comfort

The environment in which we sleep can have a absolutely impact the quality of our sleep. From the firmness of our mattress to the texture of our sheets, each element contributes to creating either a conducive or disruptive sleep setting.

Bed and Sleep

The centerpiece of any sleep environment is, of course, the bed. Your mattress and pillows play a crucial role in providing the right support for your body as you sleep. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that a good mattress can improve sleep quality and reduce back discomfort, and the right pillow can prevent neck and shoulder pain.16

Mattress firmness is a personal preference and should align with your comfort needs. A study in The Lancet found that medium-firm mattresses were generally better for alleviating lower back pain, highlighting the importance of adequate support. 17

Inclines and Sleep

Inclines or elevations in your sleep setup can also affect sleep quality. For people with conditions like sleep apnea or acid reflux, sleeping at a slight incline can help alleviate symptoms. The American Sleep Apnea Association recommends using a bed wedge or placing blocks under the bedposts to elevate the upper body.18 Reclining chairs can also create an effective incline and often work better than even wedges.

Sheets and Sleep

The sheets you sleep on can also significantly influence your sleep comfort. Material, texture, and breathability all factor into creating an ideal sleep setting. Cotton and linen sheets, for example, are known for their breathability and can help regulate body temperature throughout the night.

In addition, the cleanliness of your sheets can impact your sleep. The Sleep Foundation recommends washing your sheets at least every two weeks to remove allergens and skin cells that can disrupt sleep.19

The right bed setup, combined with attention to factors like inclines and sheet choice, can create a comfortable and supportive environment that fosters restful sleep. Remember, setting the stage for sleep isn’t just about closing your eyes; it’s also about where you lay your head.

6. Nutrition & How to Fall Asleep


Our dietary choices significantly influence the quality of our sleep. A balanced diet, mindful eating habits, and specific nutrients can set the stage for a restful night or disrupt our sleep.

Balanced Diet and Sleep

A well-rounded diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, provides a variety of nutrients that promote better sleep. Tryptophan, magnesium, and vitamin B6 are some key sleep-supporting nutrients found in a balanced diet.

Melatonin and Sleep

Melatonin, the “sleep hormone,” is crucial for regulating our sleep-wake cycle. Produced naturally in response to darkness, melatonin signals that it’s time for sleep. However, its production can be disrupted by factors like stress, light exposure, and aging.

Melatonin supplements are a popular choice for managing sleep issues such as insomnia and jet lag. As the National Sleep Foundation points out, melatonin can help individuals fall asleep faster, though its effects on sleep duration and quality are less certain.20 Always consult a healthcare provider before starting melatonin supplements, as appropriate timing and dosage can vary.

Glycine and Sleep

Glycine, an amino acid, is another supplement with potential sleep-enhancing properties. The Amino AcID may help lower body temperature, signaling to the body that it’s time to sleep.21 Participants in a study published in Sleep and Biological Rhythms reported improved sleep quality after taking glycine before bed22. However, more research is needed to understand glycine’s role fully, and it’s recommended to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any supplement regimen.

Vitamin D and Sleep

Vitamin D, often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” has also been linked to sleep quality. While its exact role in sleep is still being explored, low levels of Vitamin D have been associated with sleep disorders. A study in the journal Nutrients found that Vitamin D deficiency was prevalent in individuals with sleep issues such as insomnia and sleep apnea23. Therefore, maintaining adequate Vitamin D levels, either through sunlight exposure, diet, or supplements, may support better sleep. Consult a doctor as always, but taking vitamin D at night might be the best time to do it.


You’re not going to want to hear this. But cutting out caffeine entirely is the way to go. Most articles will say to avoid caffeine after 4PM or Noon. But we’re taking a strong stance here:

Cut it out completely.

Think about it. The time you wake up is the time you have the lowest amount of caffeine in your system. So you are literally waking up to withdrawal of a chemical designed to make you feel less sleepy. If you find yourself waking up late day after day… maybe it’s the caffeine!!!

That doesn’t mean you have to give up that cozy moment before setting off accomplish the day’s tasks. You can replace your coffee break with some amazing caffeine free alternatives. Especially mushroom, or Rooibos Teas!

Food Timing and Sleep

Lastly, the timing of meals can affect sleep quality. Eating heavy meals close to bedtime can lead to discomfort and indigestion, which can disrupt sleep. It’s advisable to finish eating 2-3 hours before bedtime for optimal sleep.

I think we made a clear case that nutrition plays a vital role in sleep quality. A balanced diet, mindful eating habits, and key nutrients like melatonin, glycine, and Vitamin D can contribute to better sleep. Remember, good nutrition isn’t just about feeding your body; it’s about nourishing your sleep, too.

7. Activities & Habits for How to Fall Asleep


When it comes to sleep, timing is everything. Our daily habits, such as when we exercise, establish our routines, and eat, can significantly influence our sleep quality. Let’s take a closer look at these three key elements.

Exercise and How to Fall Asleep

Physical activity is a fantastic sleep booster. Regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster, sleep longer, and enjoy a more restful sleep. However, the timing of your workouts can influence their impact on your sleep.

Working out too close to bedtime might leave you too energized to fall asleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, finishing moderate to vigorous workouts at least two hours before going to bed allows your body time to wind down and transition into sleep mode. 24

Routine and Sleep

Our bodies thrive on routine, and sleep is no exception. By establishing a regular sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, you can train your body to follow a regular sleep pattern. This is all thanks to our internal body clock, or circadian rhythm, which loves predictability.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, even on weekends, to enhance sleep quality and overall health. 25

It’s also helpful to pick a relaxing activity to do before bed, such as reading, or drawing. A great example of an activity that can help you unwind is an adult coloring book! No matter what your skill level, it can help you slow down your thoughts before bed.

Eating and Sleep

To wrap it up, let’s talk about food. What we eat, and when we eat it, can impact our sleep. Heavy meals close to bedtime can cause discomfort and indigestion, making it harder to fall asleep. The Sleep Foundation recommends finishing eating at least two to three hours before bed for optimal sleep. 26

Additionally, certain foods and drinks can interfere with sleep. Caffeine and alcohol, for instance, can disrupt our sleep patterns if consumed too close to bedtime.

The timing of our daily habits plays a critical role in our sleep quality. By wisely timing our exercise, establishing consistent routines, and managing our eating habits, we can work in harmony with our body’s natural rhythms to promote better sleep. So, as you navigate through your day, remember that when it comes to sleep, it’s not just what you do, but when you do it, that counts.

8. Mindset for How to Fall Asleep

How to Fall Asleep

When it comes to learning how to fall asleep, the role of our mindset might actually be THE most important. Our mental state, encompassing our thoughts, attitudes, and emotions, can significantly influence our sleep quality, because it determines which actions we choose to take.

Psychological stress, for instance, is a common disruptor of sleep. According to the American Psychological Association, stress can lead to hyperarousal, a biological state in which people are simply unable to wind down 27. This can result in sleep problems such as insomnia.

Mindfullness Techniques

On the flip side, maintaining a positive and relaxed mindset can significantly enhance sleep quality. Techniques such as mindfulness and meditation can help calm the mind, reducing stress and facilitating the transition into sleep. A study in JAMA Internal Medicine found that mindfulness meditation helped improve sleep quality in older adults with moderate sleep disturbances 28.

Our mindset about sleep itself also plays a crucial role. If we view sleep as a necessary evil or something to be fitted around other activities, we might not give it the priority it deserves. However, recognizing the importance of sleep for our overall health and well-being can encourage healthier sleep habits.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) is an effective approach that addresses attitudes and beliefs about sleep. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends CBT-I as the first-line treatment for chronic insomnia, as it helps individuals develop a healthier mindset and behavioral patterns related to sleep 29.

Furthermore, maintaining a regular sleep schedule and creating a peaceful sleep environment can reinforce the mindset that sleep is a valuable and enjoyable activity, not just a daily chore.

Consider Mindfulness, meditation, prayer. Also, realizing acceptance that sometimes people have rough nights. Let yourself get up and move around if you are having trouble sleeping. It can help reset and when you go back to bed, you might find it easier to fall asleep if the pressure is off.

The impact of our mindset on sleep is profound. By cultivating a positive and relaxed mental state, and by respecting and prioritizing sleep, we can significantly enhance our sleep quality. So, as you prepare for sleep tonight, remember to also set your mind at rest. After all, a peaceful mind makes for a peaceful night’s sleep. Don’t pressure yourself too much! One step at a time, improve day to day, and forgive yourself for not being perfect. Because none of us are!

How to Fall Asleep – Tying it All Together

Quality sleep is more than just a luxury; it’s a huge part of our health and well being. From the moment we start our day, everything we do, including our exercise routine, nutrition, mindset, and exposure to light, influence how to fall asleep.

The timing of these actions and our consistent routines also play a big role in aligning with our natural circadian rhythm. Just as important is the environment in which we sleep – the comfort of our bed, the incline we sleep at, and the sheets we use can either foster restful sleep or lead to restless nights.

Achieving quality sleep is about maintaining a balance of these elements. Like pieces of a puzzle, each factor fits together to create a complete picture of good sleep. Paying attention to these elements – from what we eat and when we eat, to where and how we sleep – can set the stage for a restful night and lead to better health and well being.

I hope this information has been helpful and enlightening. Remember, sleep is an active process that requires our attention and care. By getting better sleep, we are making our lives better during the day.



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