Try to stay awake
Leszek-Glasner/shutterstock If you want to fall asleep faster, think about staying awake. “It sounds counterintuitive, but for those who find it difficult to sleep because they keep worrying about not falling asleep, do the opposite,” says Sujay Kansagra, MD, director of Duke University’s Sleep Medicine program and Mattress Firm’s sleep health consultant. Most of the time falling asleep is an involuntary process that takes virtually no effort on our part, but if we’re anxious, we do things like looking at the clock and calculating how little sleep we’re going to get, which then causes sleep performance anxiety. “Instead of worrying about falling asleep, think about staying awake instead. This often lessens anxiety and gives your mind a chance to relax enough to fall asleep. It’s a technique known as paradoxical intent, a cognitive behavioral therapy technique used to lessen the anxiety around falling asleep,” says Dr. Kansgara. Don’t miss these other secrets sleep doctors wish you knew.
Keep your toes toasty
iStock/esmeraldaedenberg If you have cold feet, your brain may not get the signal its time to snooze. According to Joseph Krainin, MD, founder and president of Singular Sleep, LLC, and Chief Medical Expert for SoClean, wearing socks to bed can decrease the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. “The benefit of wearing socks to bed seems to be vasodilation. The best explanation is that warming the feet causes blood vessels to dilate, and this signals to the brain that it’s time to fall asleep.” Or you could try using one of these sleeping apps to get better shuteye.