Few things are as annoying to us as are prone to throwing and turning before bed, than noticing that after just minutes your partner (or seatmate) snores away.
Why are some people so good at falling asleep almost immediately? Science is on the rise and has found answers that can help turn troubled sleepers into a hit-your-pillow-and-snooze type.
Do you accidentally train yourself to be a bad sleeper?
It's the takeaway message from a recent Elemental post by Mark Heid that takes a thorough look at the latest research into how people fall asleep and why some people struggle to do so. If you are prone to insomnia, it is well worth reading in full. But for those who just want practical advice, here's the most important thing to grab Heid's findings.
"If you want to take a turn in a car, you first have to slow down," sleep scientist Michael Grandner told Heid. The same is true when you fall asleep. A little preparation is key. To "press the brakes" and get your brain ready for sleep, Grandner and other experts suggest you do three things before you fall asleep.
Stay away from social media (and without arguments). Strong emotions are an even more effective pick-up than strong coffee. So before you go to bed, you can avoid anything that will emotionally lead you. That means saving contentious conversations in the morning, but less obviously, it also means staying out of social media before bed. "Recent research suggests that social media can be inherently stimulating, and therefore an obstacle to falling asleep," reports Heid. "This is a piece along with other recent studies that have found that social media can be a potent sleep deprivation."
Grab and book . Reading before bedtime is popular for a reason. "It's a cliché, but reading doesn't involve a lot of visual stimulation, it's not social, and it doesn't require a lot of light," says Grandner. That combination of qualities makes a book an ideal sleep aid.
Schedule empty time for your evening. These days, many of us go too full from the moment the alarm rings to the moment we climb into bed. It can be productive, but it's not how your brain is designed to work. "In most of humanity's history, people had a lot of free time when the brain wasn't engaged or distracted," notes Grandner. We need time to work and reflect on our days so that our brains can calm down, even if it is only 1
Of course, there are many other reasons why you may be struggling to sleep, starting at 1 p.m. 10:00. Espresso habit of biological factors, but for many people simply integrating these three simple elements into their nightly routine will be enough to transform them from problem sleepers to sound.
The views of the Inc.com columnists here are their own, not those of Inc.com.