How to fall asleep quickly with chronobiology
When falling asleep takes hours, take the time to analyze your breathing rhythm and your habits: the key often lies in the need to resynchronize your internal clock.
If the mere idea of counting sheep to fall asleep is enough to get you out of bed and ranting against the author of this stressful and ineffective method, you’ve come to the right place.
When falling asleep is a recurring problem, some tips or more or less esoteric techniques won’t help you to fall asleep quickly.
Ideally, we suggest that you first try to better understand what is going on in your body, take a step back from your day, to find a good rhythm and establish the right routines that will help you on the long term.
Because very often, can’t fall asleep at the start of the night, the reasons might be:
1 / your state of mind, your level of stress or anxiety;
2 / the way your evening and your day go or your habits;
3 / the functioning of your body!
This is where chronobiology can help you.
Falling asleep is a more complex physical mechanism than we think.
Chronobiology is the study of our biological rhythms. Because our organism, like that of many living beings, is regulated by an internal clock.
In humans, this internal clock is located in the brain, at the hypothalamus.
What does all this have to do with falling asleep? Well, just about everything!
To fall asleep, our body follows, step by step, a much more complex process than we think. Falling asleep depends on:
– circadian rhythm, so our internal clock, will tell our body whether it is day or night.
– so-called “homeostatic” processes. In layman’s terms: time spent awake or dormant in our day. The longer you are awake, the more your body will understand that it will have to recharge the batteries soon.
Without going into details, if your internal clock is disturbed and your life rhythm is irregular, your sleep and falling asleep will suffer all the more. This is particularly evident among night workers, who may find themselves “out of sync”.
To fall asleep quickly: pay attention to your own pace
These two processes result in the production of different hormones and the work of different neurotransmitters in your brain which will induce the feeling of tiredness and then falling asleep. Melatonin plays a particular role in inducing sleep, but it is not the only one. In fact, it’s a complex cocktail that your brain receives. The substances that promote wakefulness and daytime activities such as work and concentration will fluctuate during the day and in the evening it will decrease. Those more conducive to falling asleep, experience peaks, especially in the evening.
If you are listening to your body, you will see that it sends you signals … to send you to bed!
Here are the signs that sleep time has arrived:
A feeling of being cold, this is your body temperature going down. Your body reaches its lowest temperature overnight. This is also the reason why we do not recommend overheating the room;
the feeling of fatigue, a sign that we are entering a period of low intellectual activity.
If you feel these signals at the end of the day, it’s a good idea to go to bed! Generally, sleep will occur in a few tens of minutes, when you go to bed at the right time. Lucky people who manage to fall asleep naturally and without much difficulty usually do so in less than 30 minutes. This is the duration commonly accepted as “normal” by medicine.
On the other hand, if you are struggling and you prefer to relax for a few more minutes in front of the television until the end of your episode or if you absolutely want to finish this thrilling chapter of your bedside book, know that the feeling of tiredness will pass … And that the suitable time for sleep will not return until one to two hours later.
Avoid disturbing the circadian rhythm
The correct technique for falling asleep quickly is therefore above all to avoid disturbing your biological clock.
1. Exposure to light during the day
Light acts as the winding mechanism of your biological clock. It is because of light, in large part, that the neurotransmitters are agitated in our hypothalamus to announce time for rising, just as much as time for falling asleep.
If you are not exposed to enough natural light during the day (and this is the case for many of us in our modern lives), the synchronization of our natural chronobiology may be affected.
But the biggest disruptor of good light hygiene remains the screens. From smartphones to computers to TV, they emit blue light that stimulates the cells in the retina that pick up light. So they can no longer tell our body that the time has come to roll up in a duvet. Blue light has been shown to disrupt the secretion of the sleep hormone melatonin. In short, too many screens and insomnia awaits us.
Ideally, avoid them at least one to two hours before bedtime.
2. Take care of your diet
Food also plays an important role in our internal clock. We know for example that a rich or fatty diet can interfere with metabolism. But even more surprising, the regularity by which we eat meals would have an influence on our functioning.
To promote rapid falling asleep it is also recommended to:
have regular meals during the day;
eat lighter in the evening;
not to go to bed immediately after a meal.
You probably already know, but also remember that it is better to avoid caffeine and all stimulants several hours before bedtime.
3. Exercises and sport: Doing the right activity at the right time.
Your sleep can also be disturbed by your end-of-day activities, and in particular, by sportive activities. Chronobiology also shows that there are schedules more favorable to do physical exercise than others!
If you exercise at the end of the day, shortly before going to bed, you will increase your body temperature, and therefore send the wrong signals to your body.
So yes, do sports, but at the right time.
4. Play with temperature
Your body temperature acts on your internal clock. It is the lowest at night. It can be interesting to try to play on the natural thermoregulation of your body. First by properly regulating the thermostat in your room, around 18-19 ° C. American researchers found that a hot bath or a hot shower in the evening about 90 minutes before going to bed would promote rapid falling asleep. Test this and tell us!
When stress and anxiety get involved.
Obviously, if you feel stressed or anxious, sleep disorders will arise more easily and the risk of having difficulty awakening in the morning will increase.
To avoid falling into a vicious cycle of insomnia, take even better care of your bedtime than usual. What you can do:
read a book about ten minutes before falling asleep;
test some relaxation exercises, based on breathing to encourage your brain to rest;
why not set up a sleep routine, based on meditation and soft music …
In summary, there is no miracle method for falling asleep in seconds without effort. The key to good and quality sleep is regularity and respect for your own functioning. Do not hesitate to go through an observation period, why not keep a sleep diary to better understand your needs … and to better meet them!
Do you want more ?
Read our articles to sleep well!