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Since Zander was born I have felt tired more often than not. I have written posts about dealing with the newborn sleepless nights, how to fall asleep and what to do when you are constantly sleep deprived. Motherhood and not sleeping are not a great combination. If I don’t get a good nights sleep I usually stay at home all day the next day and feel lazy. When I get a good nights sleep I have energy to get out of the house and do fun things with my kids, I am happier and more patient, and more likely to be active. I have noticed since becoming a mom that falling asleep is a little easier than it used to be, because I am so tired. But my active mind and sore back and shoulders often keep me awake long after I have turned the lights out.
There is nothing as frustrating as being so tired you can barely keep your eyes open, but still be unable to sleep. Over the years I have developed some ‘sleep hacks’ that help me fall asleep super fast. Some of them are a little weird, but they actually work!
26 Ways to Fall Asleep Fast
1. Watch TV
Everyone says turn off your devices before bed, but for me watching TV on my phone always puts me out. I turn on a show and prop it up on a pillow next to me and tell myself I am going to watch the whole episode and not fall asleep. Usually half way through I have to turn my head to get comfortable and so I end up just listening to the show instead of watching it. I almost never make it through a whole episode of TV show.
2. Schedule Tomorrow Before Bed
Sometimes I can’t fall asleep because I have a lot on my to do list. Scheduling my week ahead of time really helps me fall asleep because I don’t lay in bed wondering if I will remember to do this or that. Planning the next day is usually the last thing I do before going to sleep.
3. Try Staying Awake
Oddly, trying to stay awake can sometimes trick your brain into falling asleep. It happens to me all the time. I lay in bed and tell myself that in two minutes I am going to get up and do the dishes, laundry, etc. Next thing I know I am dreaming.
If you stay at our house and find me sleeping on the couch or in the guest room it probably isn’t because Kris and I are fighting. If I can’t fall asleep I switch to a new bed/couch and often that is enough to help me relax. I have no idea why this works so well, but I often will lay in bed awake for an hour and then move to the couch and fall asleep in five minutes.
5. Treat Sore Muscles
One of the biggest reasons I can’t fall asleep is because of sore muscles. I get really bad back and shoulder pain from typing too much and carrying Zander around. After complaining about it a lot Kris mentioned that I should try taking something. I found some TYLENOL® PM at Walgreens and it does the trick surprisingly well. It helps if you take it half hour before you want to go to bed on days where your muscles are especially sore. It is a non habit forming sleep aid, I hardly notice the effects, it just helps you fall asleep very naturally.
6. Take a Hot Bath
Sitting in the hot tub or a hot bath is another great way to relax sore muscles before bed. I find the combination of a hot bath and TYLENOL® PM to be especially effective when my muscles are really sore. I fall asleep almost instantly after this routine.
7. Lower the Lights
Lowering the lights helps encourage your body to produce melatonin, the body’s natural sleep hormone. I light candles and turn the lights low when I am trying to unwind at the end of the day.
8. Sleep Upside Down
This is similar to moving to a new bed or the couch. If you don’t have a guest room or couch to move to, try turning around and putting your head at the foot of the bed. Kris is always surprised to wake up with my feet beside him when I do this, but it works so….
9. Try Box Breathing
This simple relaxation technique is really helpful in falling asleep. To do box breathing breath in deeply for four counts, then hold your breath in for four counts, breath out slowly for four counts and then hold for four counts before breathing in again.
10. Read a Book
Turn the lights low and read a book in bed, preferably a long, somewhat boring and descriptive novel that requires you to pay attention. If your body is really tired then this should make your eyes start involuntarily closing.
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11. Clean the House
Sometimes getting up and moving around is all you need to be able to fall asleep. If you have been laying in bed for awhile and are feeling restless, get up and do something not fun like cleaning the house. Go back to bed as soon as you feel ready. Keep the lights low while you work.
12. Put a Pillow Under Your Knees
If you lie on your back and put a pillow under your knees this will help your spine relax into a natural and comfortable position. It not only helps you fall asleep, it also helps reduce sore muscles from sleeping in a bad position.
Science shows that people who exercise (especially first thing in the morning) sleep better at night! I am not great at this, but I do notice the days I exercise I fall asleep way faster.
14. Splash Your Face in Cold Water
There is this weird thing called the mammalian diver reflex that happens when you put your face in cold water. Basically it makes the blood in your body flow mainly to your vital organs, which decreases your heart rate and blood pressure. This helps you relax and fall asleep. The water only needs to be colder than the surrounding air for this to work.
15. Turn on White Noise
When I was a kid noises in the house really bothered me. I would hear the floor creak downstairs and immediately have to run check it out. I started sleeping with a fan on so I couldn’t hear noises in the house and that is when I discovered the power of white noise! It is very relaxing and helps calm your thoughts and encourage sleep.
16. Turn Down the Thermostat
Sleeping in a cool space can help you sleep faster, better and longer. The inclination to get cozy under the covers when it is cold makes you feel more comfortable in your bed.
17. Make Your Room Pitch Black
Even small lights like an alarm clock or TV sleep light can keep you up at night. Make sure all lights are gone from your sleep space.
18. Rock Yourself to Sleep
Rocking isn’t just for babies! If you have a rocking chair sit in it, close your eyes and rock for a few minutes! You will probably feel funny doing it, but if it helps you sleep, who cares!
19. Breath Through One Nostril
This is another weird one that really helps! Plug your left nostril with your finger and breath slowly and deeply through your right nostril, feel your body begin to instantly relax!
20. Sleep Naked
This works the same as turning the thermostat down. If you are cooler you will likely sleep better. Also sometimes PJ’s can make you uncomfortable and inhibit sleep. So get rid of them!
21. Don’t Be Afraid to use Tylenol PM
Using TYLENOL® PM can help you sleep when sore muscles prevent you from finding rest! It is non habit forming and effective. I reserve use of TYLENOL® PM for when my muscles are really sore and I can’t sleep. I only need it once every week or two and it is so helpful!
22. Tense All Your Muscles
While you lie in bed try tensing and releasing the muscles in your legs, abdomen, back and arms. This releases pent up energy and can distract from any discomfort that was making it difficult for you to sleep.
23. Stretch Before Bed
Before you go to bed try stretching. This can help release tension in your muscles and also is a way to tire out your body just a little bit more before sleep.
24. Go Outside
Sometimes a breath of fresh air helps clear your mind and relax your body. Plus if it is winter or fall the cold air will get you excited to run back inside and curl up in bed.
25. Mentally Review your Day
Go over the events of the day and play them in your mind. Don’t analyze them, just play each moment as if you were watching a movie of your life in your mind. If you had a particularly stressful or exciting day don’t do this, this works best on an average, boring day.
26. Stay Awake & Schedule a Nap
If all else fails, just stay awake and do something productive! Schedule in a nap for the next day. If I can tell nothing is going to help me sleep, I would rather accomplish something productive then toss and turn for hours. I can always nap the next day!
When I get enough sleep I notice a huge difference in my life. I am able to remember things better, I am more productive in the mornings, I am less cranky with my family. Sleeping well also helps maintain a healthy weight and gives you enough energy to exercise and stay active!
Right now you can get $1.50 off TYLENOL® PM 100 count (regularly $11.99) with your Walgreens card, valid 11/5-11/11. Head to Walgreens now so next time aches and pains keep you up at night you will be prepared! Check out TYLENOL® PM on Facebook and YouTube for more information and follow them to stay up to date on coupons and promotions.
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TYLENOL® PM contains a pain reliever and nighttime sleep aid. ©Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. 2017 The third party trademarks used herein are trademarks of their respective owners.