How to go to sleep fast? This is a high demanding question but highly required by more and more people nowadays. This due to 2 reasons I think. First of all, I know some people they could sleep well after they fall asleep but before that the “fall asleep part” takes long time for them to get through. So they will be very happy if the beginning part can be shorten. On the other hand, with the life speed gets faster and faster, some people don’t have big piece of time for them to sleep, no matter day or night. For example, I know in some companies in China the employees have to work from 9am to 9pm which is not counted as working overtime. Then if something urgent happens they have to stay up late to fix it in office. Thus, they may be off around 2am and be at home around 3am or 4am. Or sometimes they have to work for whole day and night then only have a rest for one or 2 hours now and then. They cannot have rest if “fall asleep part” takes long time. There are several ways to solve this and I will explain them in details.
1. 4-7-8 breathing exercise
Dr. Andrew Weil, a Harvard trained medical doctor believes this “4-7-8 breathing exercise” is a “natural sedative of the nervous system” and help people fall asleep within 60 seconds without taking other medications. It is very easy and you can do it anywhere and anytime. It only has 4 procedures as follows:
- Exhale through your mouth completely
- Close your mouth and inhale through your nose. Meanwhile, count 4 numbers in mind – 1, 2, 3, 4
- Stop inhale, hold your breath and count 7 numbers in mind – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
- Exhale through your mouth completely and slowly. Meanwhile, count 8 numbers in mind – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Repeat above 4 steps for 4 times as a round and continue doing it for 3 round. Use nose without making any sound when Inhale and use mouth with a whoosh sound when exhale. And make your tongue against Maxilla when exhale. You can choose any position you like if you do it when you lay on the bed but you have to sit in a comfortable position with a straight back and feet on the ground if there is no bed around. You may not fall asleep within 60 seconds the first time you do this but at least you can feel calm, peaceful and sleepy. You are supposed to achieve the goal of falling asleep within 60 seconds if you can do it twice a day for 6 to 8 weeks.
This exercise is inspired by a breathing exercise from ancient India. Dr. Andrew Weil revealed the principle behind it: we want to inhale more oxygen through our lungs to increase the amount of oxygen in our body which can adjust and balance our parasympathetic nervous system. Thus, our body get relaxed and we can easily fall asleep. He also believes this exercise can reduce our anxieties.
2. Breathing with one side nostril
This method is created by professor からのご挨拶 in Tokyo Women’s Medical University, Japan. He is also a great doctor in the area of controlling high blood pressure. With this breathing exercise our autonomic nervous system will be adjusted and balanced which will help us sleep well and our blood pressure get controlled as well. Autonomic nervous system contains two parts – parasympathetic nervous system and sympathetic nervous system. Body blood pressure will increase when sympathetic nervous system starts to dominate; on the contrary, body blood pressure will decrease if parasympathetic nervous system is in charge. From Yoga point of view, right nostril controls sympathetic nervous system and left nostril controls parasympathetic nervous system. Thus, we can get relaxed when breathing with one side nostril alternately. The procedures are as follows:
- Lay on your bed and face up
- Use your finger to press left nostril
- inhale with right nostril slowly for 10 seconds
- exhale with right nostril slowly
- Repeat above steps for the other side. Keep breathing from side to side for 10 minutes.
This breathing exercise has incredible result for those who have high blood pressure, hot blood or hot flashes.
3. Breathing slowdown exercise
Breathing with certain rhythm and then slowly slow down your breath until you reach a comfortable slow breathing speed and breathing with that speed for 7 minutes. Then you can fall asleep. When you do this please just focus on your breath and don’t think anything else. This process is like hypnosis. Slowly slow down your breathing frequency can relax your body and make you sleep eventually.
4. Breathing exercise generated by myself
Sometimes I cannot sleep fast because of thinking too much. I don’t like counting numbers during breathing since I still have distracting thoughts. Thus, I am using following procedures:
- Lay on the bed, find a comfortable position and relax your body.
- Slowly and deeply inhale and feel the air goes through your nostrils, lungs and get to your belly.
- Hold your breath and use your imagination: imagine the air as an animation character which at least has two legs. Imagine it runs in your belly clockwise or counterclockwise for two or three rounds. Then slowly exhale naturally.
I think it is another version of 4-7-8 breathing exercise but instead of counting numbers I am using imagination to make me feel like I am watching an animation. That is easier for me to get rid of distracting thoughts than counting numbers. It is funny and relaxing.
How amazing it is! Just using breathing we can fall asleep as fast as 60 seconds. Just try above 4 breathing exercises if you cannot sleep fast. Feel free to let me know which one works for you the most and you are also welcome to share in the comments if you have your own secret breathing exercise. How to Go to Sleep Fast? Breathing with me.