It’s only normal to wear down as the day progresses when you’re constantly on the go. That’s the way human bodies are, so don’t worry about it.
According to sleep medicine specialist Michelle Drerup, PsyD, DBSM, “we have a sleep urge that builds up the longer we are awake.” The “sleep urge,” or the “demand for sleep,” is at its peak late in the day.
However, everyone possesses what’s termed a circadian cycle, or internal sleep rhythm. This pattern, which varies from person to person, marks the moment when our physical and mental energies begin to wind down and prepare for sleep.
According to Dr. Drerup, “this internal rhythm determines when we start to feel drowsy.” The term “night owl” is used to describe those who don’t feel tired until late in the day. “Others are earlier risers.”
Ideally, how long does it take until you can go off to sleep?
Putting your head on the pillow and expecting to fall asleep instantly is unrealistic. A rapid decline in alertness is an indicator that you are not getting enough shut-eye.
While he acknowledges that this time can vary, Dr. Drerup argues that “if they don’t have any sleep troubles, most people usually fall asleep within 10 to 20 minutes.” It’s not necessarily an issue if it takes you 45 minutes to fall asleep if that’s the average for you.
The human tendency is to sleep in the next day if we didn’t get enough the night before. Dr. Drerup warns us that this isn’t always the wisest course of action, and it won’t help us get to sleep any more quickly. As an example, “If I had a rough night, I’m going to take a nap,‘” is something we would say. I think I need some more coffee. Often, the things we do to try and improve our sleep actually end up making it worse the next night.
Techniques to help you sleep more quickly
Don’t stress yourself out trying to fall asleep.
It seems odd, but if you want to sleep quickly, you should stop thinking about sleep. In fact, those who sleep soundly “probably don’t think about sleep at all,” as Dr. Drerup puts it. When they start to feel drowsy, that’s when they go to bed. They don’t follow any particular bedtime routine and have no serious sleep-related concerns. It’s second nature to them; it’s what they do.
Anxiety is a common side effect of sleeplessness. It’s not a great condition for getting some shut-eye. Dr. Drerup warns, “You might start to dread going to bed.” Attempt as you might, the more sleep evades you the harder you try to induce it. Letting go and returning to what your body wants to do naturally — sleep — is ideal.
Maintain a consistent routine.
The best method to ensure that you begin sleeping at a reasonable hour is to stick to a regular sleep routine, especially on weekends when you may not have to wake up early. According to Dr. Drerup, “change in routine and absence of schedule actually can worsen sleep disorders.” During the epidemic, “we found a substantial increase in sleep disorders, not only because of increased stress but also due of altering schedules.”
She also notes the significance of the elimination of her daily commute. Someone might remark something like, “Well, suddenly my schedule’s changed completely. When I was younger, I was much more active than I am now. This means that I spend more time at home and spend most of my time merely pacing from the restroom to my desk. If I don’t have to get up early to commute to work, I can sleep in.
You should be aware of how you use displays.
Screens, whether they’re on a laptop, tablet, TV, or mobile phone, can disrupt your sleep cycle. When it comes to adults, though, the content of those devices can have an effect on the quality of their sleep.
Dr. Drerup believes the material has an effect. It all comes down to the content of your digital interactions. When we’re in the process of winding down, our focus and energy can be kept up by anything that stimulates our brain.
Putting away electronics for at least two hours before bedtime will help you settle into sleep. But if you’re up late scrolling, please pay attention to what you’re doing.
Dr. Christian Drerup suggests that we can utilize our electronic gadgets to help us go asleep by playing soothing music or engaging in another activity that diverts our attention.
Don’t worry so much
The inability to fall asleep quickly due to stress is a common problem. When all is said and done, how often have you crawled between the covers and hoped for a good night’s sleep, only to lie awake for hours with your mind racing?
As a means of de-stressing, the use of relaxation techniques is highly recommended. Mindfulness meditation, for instance, has been demonstrated to help people with chronic insomnia get a better night’s rest and feel less agitated during the day.
Dr. Christian Drerup says that various forms of relaxation, such as progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery, help induce a calm state of mind that makes it easier to go off to sleep. The stress response is countered by inducing the relaxation response.
Playing a continuous soundtrack of noise might be a stress reliever for some. Air conditioning, fans, and other noise-generating appliances and apps are all viable solutions. Both white noise and colored noises like pink noise are common, as are sounds of nature.
A former patient of Dr. Drerup’s appreciated techno music because “the beat helped them fall asleep.” “Most people would find that weird, but they put a lot of emphasis on keeping the beat steady. They were able to calm down thanks to it.
Be careful with your diet.
You are what you eat, and your diet may have an impact on your quality of rest. According to Dr. Drerup, “what we eat might affect both the quality and duration of our sleep.” As an example, eating spicy food before bed might increase the discomfort of acid reflux and lead to heartburn.
Caffeine, a component of foods like coffee and chocolate, is widely known for its ability to maintain alertness. Since its effects wear off within five to seven hours, Dr. Drerup advises his patients to stop drinking caffeine around noon.
Important parts of a balanced diet are also helpful for our quality of sleep. Dr. Jerrold Drerup warns that a diet heavy in sugar, saturated fat, and processed carbs might cause sleep disruptions. There appears to be a reverse effect from eating more plant-based meals, fiber, and unsaturated fats.
You might think that a couple drinks will help you nod off faster, but alcohol really has the opposite effect.
After the effects of alcohol wear off, people may be roused from deeper, more restorative stages of sleep, as noted by Dr. Drerup. There’s evidence that it can make sleep apnea even more severe. It may make you more likely to experience such phenomena as sleepwalking, sleeptalking, and frequent nightmares. The potential for harm is high.
The melatonin might help.
The pineal gland in your brain produces melatonin, a hormone that is sensitive to light. This gland responds to darkness by secreting melatonin, and it responds to light by stopping production. As a result, melatonin plays an important role in regulating the body’s 24-hour sleep-wake cycle.
Studies have revealed that light has an effect on sleep start and melatonin production, as Dr. Drerup explains.
Melatonin is a hormone produced naturally by the body, but it can also be taken as a supplement. It could be helpful for those who have problems falling asleep quickly. Dr. Drerup argues that melatonin is most effective for those with a delayed circadian rhythm. So, a person who prefers to spend their time awake late at night. Even though they would rather stay up late and sleep in, they may have to get up early for work, school, or other obligations.
When to get help for sleeplessness
Excessive, ongoing daytime sleepiness is a red flag that you may require assistance. According to Dr. Drerup, “when we’re talking specifically about chronic insomnia, it’s where you’re having this trouble at least three times a week.” And it’s having a negative effect during the day.
That could be due to daytime sleepiness or another factor. “Perhaps you’re thinking, ‘I just don’t have any pep in my step. I can’t seem to get my mind off other things. Warning indicators include recognizing that you didn’t get enough sleep the night before and that this is having an effect on how you feel during the day.
Your doctor will know what course of action is best in this situation. Both the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American College of Family Physicians advise exploring behavioral modification techniques before resorting to medication.
- Read more about Deep sleep