Tips & Tricks

How to Fall Asleep Faster and Stay Asleep Longer



If you struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep, you’re certainly not alone. A startling 51 percent of adults across the globe report they get less sleep than they need on an average night, while as many as 67 percent of adults worldwide report sleep disturbances at least once a night.


Getting adequate sleep isn’t a luxury—it’s a necessity. Sleep allows your body and mind to rest, repair, recharge, and prepare for the day ahead. While it may seem like nothing is happening when your body is laying quietly at rest in your cozy bed, your brain and body are actually hard at work overseeing a wide variety of biological upkeep. Restful sleep helps boost your memory, supports a strong immune system, promotes good energy levels, and allows your body to repair damage.


So, what can you do if deep, restorative sleep eludes you night after night? In this article, we’ll be breaking down tips and tricks for falling asleep and staying asleep. Let’s begin by exploring techniques you can apply to fall asleep quickly.


Techniques for falling asleep


In order to fall asleep, your mind and body need to be in a relaxed state. The following techniques are designed to soothe the nervous system and promote calmness, allowing you to easily drift off into dreamland.


1. Use the 4-7-8 breathing method


This simple breathing technique involves breathing in through your nose for four seconds, holding your breath for seven seconds, and breathing out audibly through your mouth for eight seconds. Repeat this breath cycle four times. This deep, rhythmic breathing sequence sends a message to your brain that you’re safe and at ease, which naturally reduces anxiety and tension, allowing you to more easily fall asleep.


This method, pioneered by Harvard-trained doctor Dr. Andrew Weil, describes it as a “natural tranquilizer for the nervous system.” For a demonstration of the 4-7-8 breathing method, watch this video of Dr. Andrew Weil. 



2. Practice visualization


Did you know that your brain can’t tell the difference between something that’s actually happening and something imagined? You can use this to your advantage by practicing various visualizations before bed.


You could visualize yourself being somewhere that relaxes you or makes you happy, such as laying in a hammock on a pristine, white-sand beach. Imagine as many sensory details as you can about the scenery, such as the temperature, the texture of the sand, the sound of the ocean, and the feeling of the breeze on your skin. You can practice visualization on your own or with the assistance of guided audio, such as this Guided 5-Minute Beach Walk Visualization


Some other ideas for sleep-inducing visualizations include:


  • Imagining your problems and worries as leaves floating down a river and out of your sight.
  • Imagining all the wonderful things you’d like to dream about that night.
  • Imagining a soothing, protective light surrounding you.


You can find more effective visualizations here. Experiment with different visualizations to find which ones are most relaxing for you.


3. Do a nightly meditation


Meditation is the practice of training your mind to focus on the present moment. Research has shown that this practice effectively reduces stress, controls anxiety, and encourages good sleep.


To meditate before bed, you can either sit in a chair, sit cross-legged on the ground, or simply lie back in bed. Close your eyes and breathe in and out through your nose. If your mind starts to wander to thoughts or sensations, bring your attention back to your breath—over and over again.


It can help to completely block out stress-inducing, high-pitched noises using SleepMuffs, an ergonomically-shaped, sound-blocking neck pillow. SleepMuffs provide the optimal meditation environment with the added benefit of helping your neck relax thanks to its ergonomic shape. You can even use earbuds while wearing SleepMuffs to listen to soothing sounds, music, or your favorite meditation app like Headspace or Calm.  


4. Avoid long naps and naps late in the day


If you have trouble sleeping at night, it can be tempting to take a nap (or three) during the day, however, long naps or naps that are late in the day can throw off your sleep cycle and make it more difficult to fall asleep at night.


That’s not to say that naps are off-limits, but you have to do them right. Here are three keys to making naps productive without hindering your quality of nighttime sleep:  


  • Keep naps short: When you lay down to take a nap, set your alarm for 10 to 20 minutes. This allows for restorative rest without drowsiness after waking or nighttime sleep disruptions.
  • Nap earlier: Try to nap around the halfway point between the time you wake up and the time you plan to go to bed.
  • Create a sleep-friendly environment: While it may be tempting to take a nod-off slouched over on your couch, you’ll have a more productive nap if you find a place that is dark, cool, and quiet where you can fully lie down.


  1. Avoid bright lights

Exposure to light in the evening can affect your circadian rhythm, which is an internally driven cycle that rises and falls during the 24-hour day. Although your circadian rhythm is controlled by your brain, environmental factors, such as bright lights, have a major impact on it. Light essentially tricks your brain into thinking it’s still daytime which, in turn, reduces the production of hormones like melatonin that help you relax and fall asleep.

Blue light—which electronic devices such as smartphones, laptops, and LED TVs emit in large amounts—is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to disrupting a person’s circadian rhythm. To reduce your blue light exposure, stop using your digital devices at least two hours before bed. Also, leave your smart devices outside your room while you sleep to avoid the temptation of using them if you wake up in the middle of the night. Get an old-school alarm clock rather than using your iPhone’s alarm.


Even bright room lighting can throw a wrench in your ability to fall asleep. To stay in sync with your circadian rhythm, dim your room lighting and use mood lighting in the evening. This will allow your sleep hormones to flow freely.


Tips for staying asleep


While relaxing your mind and body to prepare for sleep is crucial, it’s equally important to do what you can to increase your chances of staying asleep through the night. Here are some tips for minimizing sleep disturbances, many of which also support more easily falling asleep. 


1. Make sure your room is dark and cool


Since light suppresses the production of melatonin and essentially tells your brain that it’s time to wake up, it’s important to keep your room as dark as possible. Consider wearing an eye mask or investing in blackout curtains to prevent sleep disturbances.


It can also help to keep your room temperature comfortably cool. This is because a high body temperature not only negatively affects a person’s ability to fall asleep, but also their sleep quality,  sound-wave sleep, and REM sleep, which is when the body repairs and restores itself.


Most experts recommend keeping the thermostat set between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 to 19.4 degrees Celsius). Comfort varies from person to person, so experiment with what temperature allows you to sleep most soundly.


2. Block out noise


For many people, noise is a major obstacle for both falling asleep and staying asleep. Research shows that exposure to noise while trying to sleep fragments sleep and leads to redistribution of time spent in different sleep stages, typically increasing wake and stage 1 sleep and decreasing slow-wave sleep and REM sleep (i.e. causes a shallower sleep). As such, having a quiet bedroom is essential.


The best solution is to live in a quiet area or a home with brick or concrete walls and air-tight windows and doors, as these features prevent sound from entering your home. For many people, however, this isn’t possible for a number of reasons.


A good alternative, especially if the noise is coming from inside your home or bedroom, is SleepMuffs. They block almost as much sound as Bose’s QuietComfort 25 Active Noise Cancelling headphones and 44 percent more sound than 3M’s high-quality earplugs. Unlike earplugs or headphones, SleepMuffs are designed to avoid in-ear and over-ear pressure by covering your ears with wide, ergonomically-designed side cushions that evenly distribute the weight of your head to comfortably block out noise.  


4. Avoid caffeine and alcohol late in the day


An alcoholic drink before bed may help you fall asleep faster, but it can also cause you to wake up in the night as its effect wears off. On top of that, alcohol prevents you from getting to the deep (or REM) sleep stages.


Caffeine is also a major sleep killer. Having a morning cup of coffee is fine, but do your best to avoid caffeine in the afternoon and keep your daily intake below 400 mg.


Refer to the table below to see where your caffeine intake stands. If you realize you’ve been overdoing it, which can easily happen in this busy, high-stress world, try to go caffeine-free on the weekends. That will help your body get rid of the excess caffeine that’s disrupting your sleep!


Coffee (250ml or 1 small to average sized cup)

Depends on brand and strength

Instant coffee

65-100 mg 

Brewed coffee


Iced Coffee

Up to 150mg per carton 

Decaffeinated coffee      




Tea (250ml or 1 small to average sized cup)


Herbal tea

0-30 mg

Green tea


Normal tea

50-70 mg



Soft Drinks (375ml can or medium sized cup)


Coca-Cola, Pepsi or similar               

35-50 mg

Red Bull 

80 mg

122 mg


126 mg







Most Dairy Milk Chocolate (Dark chocolate has more caffeine)

10 mg per 50g serve

Cocoa and Hot Chocolate

7-70 mg per cup



Caffeine Tablets


NoDoze (Regular strength, per tablet) 



5. Support your neck posture


Supporting your neck is an often overlooked key to a comfortable, uninterrupted night’s sleep. For support, many people turn to ergonomic pillows. While some pillows are great, such as Temper-Pedic’s Ergonomic pillow, others can actually cause more trouble due to poor ergonomic design or being too high or too low.


SleepMuffs, on the other hand, offer incredible head and neck support thanks to intensive parametric testing. Their ergonomically-shaped neck wedge and side cushions were specifically engineered for optimal comfort by keeping your head and neck aligned to your spine and supported throughout the night.


You can use SleepMuffs with or without a standard pillow to achieve the perfect height. Generally, side sleepers with broad shoulders prefer using SleepMuffs with a normal pillow, while those with smaller shoulders prefer to not use a pillow at all.


5. Put clocks out of sight


If you wake up in the middle of the night, looking at the clock can be enough to induce anxiety, stimulate brain activity, and prevent you from going back to sleep. To avoid this, turn your clock away from you or put it somewhere out of sight. 


The bottom line


Getting high-quality sleep is just as important for your overall health as eating well and exercising regularly. It’s important, however, to not beat yourself up if you experience a bad night’s sleep, as this could negatively affect your performance during the day. Rather, work on acceptance. Remind yourself that your sleep struggles are not a failure on your behalf and that you now have several tools you can apply for better sleep. By giving yourself grace and treating yourself with kindness, you’ll be releasing tension and pressure, allowing for more restful sleep.


Incorporate as many of these helpful sleep aids as you can into your routine, taking notice of which ones offer you the most benefit. With mindfulness, patience, acceptance, and consistency, you’ll be on your way to restorative sleep in no time.