After a weekend of bridesmaid festivities for a friend's wedding, I've been falling asleep like a baby—sometimes even with the remnants of my Postmates-delivered dinner in my bed. I tend to go through spurts of having no trouble sleeping to having stints where I'm lying in bed wide-awake for hours, so I wanted to look into some of the best ways to fall asleep. It's good to have some techniques to rely on for those nights when you need a little something extra to nod off.
On those nights in the past, I've forced myself to try to relax, put on a soothing meditation track from Buddhify, or gotten frustrated and watched a Netflix show (or two or three). Sometimes they worked, but other times they weren't effective, which stressed me out even more (is there anything worse than being stressed about not getting enough sleep?). With a little research, we found a few proven nighttime hacks so that you'll be equipped with the best ways to fall asleep. Heads-up: We strongly suggest writing these down.
Sleep in a chilly room
It may sound silly, but if you are having difficulty falling asleep, put on a fan or crank the AC. According to Harvard Medical School, some experts believe dropping the temperature can tell your body to go to sleep. The National Sleep Foundation even suggests setting your bedroom temperature between 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal z's.
Blow some bubbles
Do you remember blowing bubbles outside as a kid? Go pick yourself up a bottle of bubble solution and blow some before bed (maybe not right in your room). Rachel Marie E. Salas, MD, a professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, swears that the bubbles are hypnotizing. "It's like a deep-breathing exercise, which helps calm your body and mind," she says. "And since it's such a silly activity, it can also take your mind off of any potential sleep-thwarting thoughts."
Breathe through your left nostril
Pranayama, aka the yoga of breathing, can help you to get to sleep faster by calming your brain before bed. One specific practice to try involves breathing through your left nostril. Using your finger or hand to keep your right nostril closed, start taking deep breaths (it's recommended to take 26 in total).
Put your clock out of sight
Who else gets the inkling to look at their clock or phone to check the time when they can't get to sleep? This can end up doing you a major disservice, so hide your clock before bedtime. In fact, Sonia Ancoli-Israel, a fellow at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and a professor of psychiatry at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, says that this bad habit may be keeping you up.
Give the 4-7-8 breathing exercise a go
Speaking of breathing, some people say you can fall asleep in 60 seconds by using this exercise, which has been called "a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system." Begin by lying down in bed, and then repeat this process about five to six times: Breathe for four seconds, hold your breath for seven, and breathe out for eight.