Mastering the art of falling asleep faster: expert tips revealed

Scientists have been studying our sleep for ages, and they've found some very useful insights. Thanks to expert tips we've managed to gather, you can immediately improve your life quality. A good night of sleep will boost your health and your skin. All you need is to implement the following advice!

Understanding sleep cycles and insomnia

To begin with, we don't need eight hours of sleep. What we need are 5 cycles of sleep, one and a half hour long each, roughly. You may consider the first two as vital cycles, numbers 3 and 4 as rest and number 5 as extra rest, in case the next night is somewhat shorter.

During each cycle, you go through four stages: first the transition stage, then the cooldown stage, third the deep sleep stage, and finally the REM stage (rapid eye movement) – when you dream. Deep sleep usually occurs only during the first three cycles. It is not uncommon to briefly wake up between cycle 4 and cycle 5 and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Insomnia occurs when it takes you hours to fall asleep, or when you wake up in the middle of the night and don't fall asleep again. However, sleep quality can be poor even without noticeable insomnia. For example, people suffering from sleep apnea will very briefly wake up, several times per night, because their breathing stopped.

What happens when you fall asleep

To make it short, the whole point of falling asleep is to reach stage 3, deep sleep. But before that, you need to go through stages one and two.

During stage one, you're more or less aware of your surroundings, while your body slowly transitions to “sleep mode”. Your brain is still active, and your muscles are not relaxed. During this stage, which lasts less than 10 minutes, pretty much anything can wake you up.

Stage two is a 20-minutes cooldown phase where your body lowers its temperature while your brain and muscle relax. While you're indeed asleep, short periods of activity are not uncommon. Apparently, they help counter the effects of external stimuli. But noises and lights can still wake you up. It's only during stage three that you'll be profoundly asleep and impervious to most external stimuli.

Conquer stage one of your sleep cycle

Have trouble falling asleep? Everything happens during stage one. Something must be wrong, perhaps there is too much light, it's too warm, there's noise, or your brain simply won't stop working. Here's how to handle this situation like a pro.

Slow down your activity

Would you fall asleep straight after racing up the stairs? No, of course not, and the same applies to your brain. You need to create your own pre-sleep transition phase. Take between half an hour and a full hour to gently relax. Don't reply to work e-mails or conflictual messages, avoid deeply existential questions, and forget your everyday stress factors. Read a nice book, have a civilized conversation with your partner… and avoid screens!

Follow a regular schedule

Your body loves to follow a rhythm. If you always go to sleep at the same hour, your body will anticipate this. It will start producing melatonin, the sleep hormone, some time before that specific hour. This will naturally slow you down and prepare you to fall asleep.

No screens allowed

Computer and smartphone screens emit blue light. And this is the enemy of your melatonin, the sleep hormone. Blue light tells your body “It’s the morning, wake up”. You can, of course, apply a red filter on your devices, but keep in mind that most activities performed on them may overstimulate your brain anyway.

Ventilation is key

Pollution is a stress factor, including odors. Before going to sleep, we encourage you to open the window and let in some fresh air. You'll have more oxygen to breathe and less pollution. Plus, fresh air is… fresh! Cooler air temperatures will naturally help your body lower its own temperature to sleep.

Don't eat too late

Digestion is an activity for your body. Experts will tell you: your digestive tract contains your second brain. And it needs several hours to correctly digest a meal. Better allow at least four hours between the meal and bedtime, more if you eat fatty foods.

Accept a longer transition period

Don't force sleep, that's impossible and will only increase your stress levels. If after thirty minutes you're still not sleeping, just accept it as such. After eliminating all environmental causes, accept that tonight you may not need as much sleep. We encourage you to get up and find a relaxing activity, something to take your mind off the sleep issue. After a little while, you'll feel tired again and can give it another try. Just enjoy lying down, relaxing, and sleep will take over.

Block all lights

Light significantly affects our sleep patterns. Morning light helps us wake up, while dimming lights at night signals our body it's time to sleep. Using warm lights in the evening can also help, as it mimics the natural colors of sunset.

However, some people are more sensitive to light. Even a small amount of light from outside or a standby light on a device can make it hard to sleep. For those who find this to be a problem, wearing a sleep eye mask can be a good solution. A silk mask, available in a variety of colors like the calming Green Sapphire, the deep Black Jade, and other soothing shades, can block out all light. This makes it much easier to relax and fall asleep. These masks are made for comfort and complete darkness, ensuring you get the restful sleep you need.

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