A number of people have difficulty falling asleep. There are cases when people spend more than an hour trying to fall asleep even though they are very tired after a long and stressful day. Other wake up in the middle of the night and again have trouble falling asleep. This makes you wake up tired and without energy. This article will help you train your mind to fall asleep in no time.
Remove caffeine from your diet
Experts suggest avoiding caffeine at least 2 weeks before trying this method. Therefore, drinks such as coffee, caffeinated tea, cola, chocolate (including cocoa), and yerba mate should be excluded from your diet because even a small cup of coffee can disturb your sleep or make you sleep restlessly.
Train your brain to fall asleep again
This technique involves a long-term process of brain training. It requires time and effort, but once you train it, it will become almost effortless and you will fall asleep in the blink of an eye.
Understanding the training process
The process can take months and, sometimes, years. It won`t take much of your time, the key point is to be persistent long enough in order to achieve the results.
Human brain needs specific training in order to fall asleep faster. Similarly to the physical exercises, if you want to do splits, you need to train them first.
The most important part in this process is to train your brain to leave aside every other activity, and focus on falling asleep when you desire. The brain is active even when sleeping, in different modes of consciousness- beta (waking), alpha, theta and delta phases. When people are trying to fall asleep, that is in fact waiting for a transition to another mode. When your brain is not trained for this, it takes more time for this. The brain remains lazy if you don`t stimulate it.
The conscious mind may want to fall asleep, but it is not in charge, the unconscious is. Moreover, the subconscious will is constantly putting up distracting ideas and thoughts, instead of allowing your mind to calm down and fall asleep.
But, when the subconscious mind is trained, it obeys the conscious mind. However, this only works if you are tired or sleepy.
The following technique will help you fall asleep faster by training the brain to switch to the right mode on time, without delay. The process consists of taking short naps, and here is how it works:
If you feel tired during the day, take a 20-minute nap. You can use your alarm or a timer. Turn on the alarm when you lie down. You only have 20 minutes for this activity, whether you sleep or not. However, do not stress yourself, just relax and try to sleep. If you manage to fall asleep, great. If you just lie down for 20 minutes, also great. If you sleep for a couple of minutes of that period, great too.
When the alarm rings you must get up. You may feel tempted to turn off the alarm and continue sleeping, but you must not. Either you can put it on the other side of the room so you will have to get up, or find someone to wake you up by force. If you still tired, wait for a hour and then take a nap again. Make sure you get up after 20 minutes.
It’s best if you take these naps during the day but if you can’t they can be taken at night as well. Try napping after dinner or an hour before going to bed and see how you feel. It’s not mandatory to take naps every day but it could help if you do it regularly. Start with one nap a day and you can see how it goes from there.
Next, you’ll need to learn how to wake up with the same alarm every morning. Set your alarm at the exact same time every morning, 7 days a week and once you hear it ringing get up instantly. If you’re having difficulties with this phase we recommend reading How to Become an Early Riser, How to Become an Early Riser – Part II, and How to Get Up Right Away When Your Alarm Goes Off. These articles are very useful and have helped nay struggling with the same issue.
Another thing you need to learn is when to go to bed. You should get enough sleep so that you don’t feel tired in the morning, which means if you need to get up early you should go to bed early. Calculate your sleeping time so that you always get at least 7 hours of sleep.
By doing this you’re actually telling your brain that you have limited sleeping time. You will get up after a nap or in the morning no matter what so if your brain wants to rest it must adjust and use the maximum time it gets to sleep. If it wastes time turning and tossing in bed it sleeps less and then it can’t wake up in the morning without feeling tired.
When you go to sleep without setting a time you reward the brain for laziness. If you spend half an hour to go to sleep the brain knows it can sleep later. If you go to sleep earlier and wake up with an alarm, you essentially tell your brain it’s ok to waste time transitioning modes because there’s extra time to get the rest it needs.
Eating chocolate or drinking coffee will be detrimental for the process because they’re fuel for the brain, keeping it going when it needs to. Eliminating these obstacles will force the brain to adapt quickly and along with the removal of the snooze time your brain will quickly learn it doesn’t have any other option but going to sleep fast. Otherwise it won’t get the rest it needs.
Your brain needs to learn that sleeping is limited and the only way you can do it is by not oversleeping. Through evolution, the brain became good at optimizing physiological resources; if it learns that sleep is a limited resource, it will adjust its use just as it has with sugar and oxygen.
If you feel sleepy during the day take a nap, take a couple of naps throughout the day if you feel like it. Just don’t nap for more than 20 minutes and make a minimum 30 minutes break between them.
After a while you’ll have no problem with these short 20 minutes naps and that’s when you should start making them even shorter. Cut the time to 15, 10 and 5 minutes in the end. It may sound like 5 minutes is not nearly enough time to nap but you’ll see how refreshing they are. Teach the brain that 20 minutes naps are 20 minutes of total time lying down. If it wastes that time, that’s’ less time for rest.
You need to teach your brain that 7 or 8 hours of sleep is all it gets so it shouldn’t waste time at night trying to fall asleep. Time is precious and shouldn’t be wasted.
Once you’ve mastered this process and your brain is trained you can sit back and relax, forget about the timer and wake up whenever you like. You can start drinking coffee as well but only after a few months have passed. Continue with the naps and make sure you set the alarm when you need to get up at a specific time.
You need to know that it takes determination and a strong will to do this, know that it will be difficult at time but you can make it! If you keep thinking the process is strict for you, you’ll fail. Giving your brain a way out is not an option, it will just make it resist the adaptation and you won’t make the transition.
We’re all different so there’s no sure way to tell how much time you’ll need to adapt. Some need a few weeks or months, others even years. It depends on many factors but the crucial thing that influences the result the most is what you eat. Heavy food is detrimental for the process so try eating lighter, healthier meals to make the transition easier and faster. You’ll benefit greatly from regular exercise as well, especially cardio because it helps to re-balance hormones and neurotransmitters, which are involved in the sleep cycles.
Changing your lifestyle is crucial to the process and increases your chances for success, not changing it will only make the adaptation more difficult and undermine your results.