Devin Burke, Sleep Science Academy founder, discusses a crucial topic, how to sleep faster. And you will likely hear some things you have not heard before.
Why does it take so long to fall asleep?
If you have challenges falling asleep, it is probably due to a psychological pattern. In other words, if you are not tired, if you don’t have sleepiness at the end of the day, have anxiety (I call this activation) at the end of the night, this video can be crucial for you to overcome your onset insomnia.
First, Stop Trying to Fall Asleep
I say this because people struggling to fall asleep are typically trying to force and control sleep. Unfortunately, sleep is one of those things you cannot compel to regulate, and the more you try, the harder it is to sleep.
The more you try to control something you cannot control, the more out of control you feel. Perhaps you believe you must take supplements, take a hot bath, read a book, meditate, or do whatever you think you must do to achieve sleep.
You want to stop if you are doing anything to force sleep.
I’m not saying these things are bad; they can all help foster a relaxation response. But, if you are doing these things to sleep or control sleep, it is essential to understand that all of this will push rest further away.
Second, Make Some Room
Create some space to slow down the day’s momentum.
Our bodies build up tension and pressure throughout the day; you could call it stress or anxiety. Whatever you call it, the body builds momentum, and it’s not always due to stressful events.
It could be that you are enjoying what you are doing, having a great day, and being busy and energetic. We hold that energy in our body, taking it into the night, where that heightened state of arousal does not allow us to rest.
Slowing the day’s momentum means creating space throughout your day for your body to drop back to rest and digest the parasympathetic nervous system response.
Creating a space means simply not doing one thing and then the next thing, and the next, and so on. I call this nexting.
Instead of proceeding directly from one task to another, you want to create micro-breaks throughout your day to allow your body to rest before going to the next activity. These micro-breaks can be as simple as taking three deep belly breaths.
It doesn’t need to take that long, merely slow down and consistently create space throughout your day so you don’t have as much tension and pressure to release at the end of the day.
Third, Release and Relax
Towards the end of the day, we usually hold onto things mentally. We’re thinking about things we didn’t do and what we could have or should have done. Or maybe we are considering the next day and all the things we need to do, that we are going to, have to, or feel that there is energy around – “Oh, my gosh, I never have enough time.”
We need to practice releasing that, the mental habit of trying to problem solve at the end of the day. And we can do this by acknowledging we are trying to problem solve or we are in the past thinking of should-ing all over ourselves; “I should have done this, or he could have done that.”
It’s about bringing yourself back into the present moment. Living in the moment is a mindfulness practice that you can use during the day, but it is especially helpful for people struggling to initiate sleep.
Releasing that tension and being fully present allows the body to drop into the relaxation response creating the greatest opportunity for sleep to happen. Again, you cannot control sleep.
Fourth, Listen to Your Body
Today, many of us aren’t even aware we have bodies most of the time. We are so much in our heads, trying to solve problems and stuck in the fight or flight response.
Listening to your body means honoring your natural rhythm. Not everyone should be going to bed at the same time. Understanding your chronotype, whether you are a night owl or morning person, whatever is natural for your body, and honoring that will aid your body in building sleep pressure.
The neurochemical adenosine builds up, creating sleepiness and letting your body know at a particular time that it is natural for your circadian clock it is time to rest. Honoring the natural rhythm of your body is extremely helpful for being able to fall asleep fast.
Fifth, Building Sleep Pressure
There are a lot of techniques and tools for building sleep pressure, but most people make the mistake of spending too much time in bed, not asleep. In sleep science, this is called sleep efficiency.
We want to spend less time in bed to increase sleep pressure.
At Sleep Science Academy, clients sometimes say, “Well, I just don’t get sleepy.” Then, I ask how much time they spend in bed asleep, and they realize they spend far too much time in bed not sleeping.
Once they stop spending so much sleepless time in bed, the sleep pressure increases, sleepiness returns, and they are able to fall asleep within 15 minutes or less.
We are only scratching the surface here; there is much more to learn about sleep. I understand when you’re not sleeping, and it takes hours to fall asleep; when you are struggling with sleep, life just isn’t very much fun. It starts to affect every aspect of your life.
There is a proven path to restore your natural sleep cycles, which is precisely what we do with our clients at Sleep Science Academy. Schedule your complimentary sleep consultation and speak to one of our certified sleep coaches to discover how we can help you sleep faster and more soundly.
You can learn more about the Sleep Science Academy difference and Dynamic Sleep Recalibration (DSR) by clicking this link.