How To Fall Asleep In 2 Minutes?
I’m Dr Tristan Nguyen, a General Practice Registrar in Castle Hill, NSW.
Problems with sleep are one of the most common issues people experience and present to their doctors for assistance.
Let’s be honest, it’s never easy to take the first step, but hear me out. I have personally struggled with sleeping difficulties myself & decided to speak up about it as a doctor and patient, so more people would find courage to do it.
So what did I do?
I found that taking the time to think about all the aspects of my evening that support and interfere with my sleep, as well as to make good sleep a priority in my life for me and my family have really helped. As weird as it sounds, I also spoke to my doctor when I realised I couldn’t do it alone.
As a doctor, my patients often discuss sleep issues with me. This has become especially relevant during the current crisis. Adequate sleep is essential and problems with sleep can cause significant distress in one’s life and relationships. There are many causes for sleep problems and therefore many options in how a doctor may help you manage this.
So let’s start with the basics.
A normal amount of sleep greatly differs from person to person. For some, 4 hours is enough, for others it’s more like 8-10 hours per night. I know my father only needs 4-5 hours of sleep and he is perfectly fine with this. I, however, need at least 7 hours of sleep to feel “okay” the next day, and any less than this will start interfering with my mood. So as you know, the way you sleep can become a problem when you’re not listening to your body’s needs.
You may have difficulties falling asleep once lying in bed, maintaining your sleep, waking up repeatedly throughout the night, or maybe you are waking too early and being unable to fall sleep again. Other issues as a consequence of this is that you may have feelings of fatigue, tiredness or no energy during the day, you may fall asleep when at rest during the day, as well as have difficulty performing day to day activities. It’s important to notice what is it exactly that bothers you and take action.
Insomnia is the most common sleep problem which is a lack of adequate sleep. This is usually temporary however can be longer lasting. This can be due to multiple causes, whether it be personal problems in your life, the setup of your daily life that interferes with sleep, psychology stress such as depression and anxiety, side effects of medications or the result of medical conditions such as sleep apnoea or restless legs.
If you are having difficulty getting enough sleep there are a number of steps that may be helpful such as:
- Make a sleep routine a thing like brushing your teeth
Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day to make a routine about sleep.
- Avoid caffeine after lunch
Caffeine in the afternoon or at night can make it more difficult to fall asleep at night.
- Avoid alcohol
Alcohol interferes with the quality of sleep, as well as may make waking up in the morning more difficult.
- Have a proper diet
Light meals before bed can be useful and a balance diet can be beneficial. Going to bed on an empty stomach can make you feel restless.
- Regular exercise
Getting regular exercise is good for your mind and your body. Exercising at least 30 minutes a day may help you feel more refreshed in the morning and more ready for sleep at night.
- Avoid naps during the day
Sleep in the day can make it harder to sleep at night.
- Go to bed when feeling sleeping
Going to bed when you're not feeling sleepy can mean you are just lying in bed awake. If you are having difficulties sometimes getting up and trying again once you begin to feel sleepy is useful.
- Make your bed ready for sleep
Make your bedroom a place suitable for sleep. Avoid eating, watching TV or playing with your mobile phone in bed. Make the bedroom a suitable place to sleep by making it dark, relaxing, quiet, and comfortable and blocking out morning light.
- Practice relaxation techniquesRelaxation techniques prior to bed such as deep breathing or meditation.
There are many other useful tips that you may find works better for you.
I have found that as a doctor, talking through everything my patients do approaching their evening can really help identify the cause. Sleep is sometimes no longer the priority or that family life has overtaken the sleep as a priority.
The best methods of managing insomnia are to treat the issue that is causing the problem, to remove or change any medications that may be contributing to your poor sleep and to change lifestyle factors such as your family routine or bedroom layout to support your sleep. Other options may be available such as treating any underlying medical conditions and a trial of psychological behavioural therapies.
If the above are ineffective a short course of medication to assist with sleep may be used.
There are also sleep specialists that may be able to further assist in you in managing your sleep problems.
For further information, assessment, and questions regarding sleep problems or insomnia and how it can be managed please consult with one of the doctors on Medinet.