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Can't Sleep? 5 Ways You Can Learn How to Fall Asleep Fast

Updated on September 2, 2015
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Fact: Insomnia leading to sleep deprivation could cause severe health problems, maybe even death.


I know that sounds unbelievable, but it is true. In a recent article published on June 27, 2012 by the Huffington Post, a 26-year-old Chinese man actually died after going for 11 days without sleep. Seems he was attempting to stay awake and watch every game in the recent European Championship soccer matches.

Apparently, staying up and going so long without sleep weakened his immune system to the point that it caused his eventual death. You can read the article for yourself here.

Past research findings published in Scientific American have indicated that it is possible for people to go for as many as 10 days without sleep while not suffering any significant health risks, but that is rare.

While the health of these sleep deprivation study subjects did not experience any serious problems with their health, they did have problems with perception, concentration levels, awareness, irritability, hallucinations and other similar problems. These conditions worsened the longer study subjects were awake. If you're suffering from insomnia, you know what I'm talking about.

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Insomnia Can Lead to Bigger Problems

OK, so you're not staying up for 10 or 11 days and this doesn't affect you, right? Well, maybe you should consider the following facts about insomnia and sleep deprivation.

After just 24 hours without sleep, bad things are already starting to happen to your body - like a rise in the levels of stress hormones and blood pressure levels. These conditions can lead to heart problems among other things.

After just a day or two without sleep, your body may have difficulty metabolizing glucose, internal body temperatures begin to go down and your immune system stops working. After several days with no sleep, things just continue to get worse.

There are currently no studies that have discovered why going for many days without sleep may be fatal, however, studies done on animals have indicated that going without sleep for two weeks can lead to death, according to Scientific American.

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Even if you're not going for days without sleep, the lack of restful, adequate sleep can lead to other health conditions.

Adequate sleep is defined to be about 10 to 11 hours each night for kids, 7 to 9 hours for teenagers and about 8.5 to 9 hours or more for adults.

Cumuluative lack of sleep caused by chronic insomnia may contribute to other health problems like obesity, diabetes, depression, heart disease and depression.

If you'e having trouble sleeping, you're probably reading this article in the middle of the night or after several nights of being deprived and you need some helpful, solid advice to help you learn how to fall asleep...

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Method #1 - Exercise Defeats Insomnia

It has been common knowledge for some time that exercise may help beat insomnia. As a matter of fact, exercise is one of the most effective methods to lessen or beat insomnia.

Exercise is known as a beneficial stressor to the human body. Your brain actually knows how to compensate for the exercise by increasing the amount of time you sleep.

Exercise also promotes the best, restful stage 4 sleep. One note here, you should not exercise for at least 4 hours before going to bed.

A study done at Stanford University of Medicine showed that people who exercised for 20-30 minutes each day fell asleep up to 50% faster and slept longer.

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Method #2 - Cell Phones and Falling Asleep

If you want to learn how to fall asleep fast, simply turn off cell phone 1 hour before bed. Recent research indicates that the electromagnetic radiation produced by cell phones and other WiFi devices may actually hinder the ability to get to sleep.

All brain activity comes from bioelectrical pulses generated and transmitted by neurons through a system of complex neural circuits. Electrical brain wave patterns may be disrupted by signals produced by a cell phone, causing aberrations in normal sleep patterns - sometimes long after the cell phone is turned off. Turn off the cell phone may help you beat insomnia.

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Method #3 - Aromatherapy, Essential Oils and Insomnia

Some of the best essential oils used in aromatherapy to treat insomnia include clary sage, bergamot, chamomile, jasmine, frankincense, marjoram, lavender, sandalwood, rose and ylang ylang.

In Europe years ago, children were sent to bed with a small herb-filled pillow filled with hops, lavender, chamomile, melissa and dill to help them sleep. Adults would make pillows filled with dried hops which have a natural, mild sedative effect.

Other effective insomnia treatments include a warm bath with chamomile and lavender oil added. Some aromatherapy treatments may be obtained by burning an aroma scented candle. You can find more information and essential oil recipes to beat insomnia and learn how to fall asleep at the link below:

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Method #4 - Take an Imagination Vacation

The main trick to this method of learning how to fall asleep fast is bringing the outside awareness of your surroundings to the inside of your mind. Some have a fancy term for this - guided imagery.

I just call it a little imagination vacation. In simplest terms possible, this is how it works: When awake, your mind is aware of external surroundings and images.

Images are how your mind communicates with your body. When you think of a place from your past, you see it in your mind. Your mind also remembers the feelings and sensations associated with that memory.

When you see that place in your mind's eye, the mind tells your body to experience those associated feelings and sensations. In other words, if you can imagine a relaxing place in your mind, your body will also relax.

Reading does the same thing by causing you to see images in your mind rather than outside, or in plain sight. This inward imagining makes it easier to learn how to fall asleep fast and beat insomnia.

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Method #5 - Melatonin for Insomnia

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) discovered that melatonin (a hormone normally secreted at night in humans) can help adults get a better night's sleep - especially older adults.

According to this study, about 0.3 milligrams was enough to restore normal sleep patterns and sleep all the way through the night. Melatonin is a natural substance and readily available in most health food stores and the most popular dosage is 3 milligrams - that's about 10 times the amount used in the MIT study.

Too much melatonin can actually cause potentially serious side effects and even cause a "melatonin hangover" in some people. Before using any substance, it's best to check with your doctor first.

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What is the longest period of time you have gone without sleep?

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good suggestions my friend, but this is definitely not my problem. I have regular sleep hours and my body is in tune with the natural flow...thankfully.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Helpful points made here, sleep is very important to every individual.

    • MKayo profile image
      Author

      MKayo 4 years ago from Texas

      DDE 56 - thanks for the read and taking time to leave a comment!

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up. You made some really good suggestions about sleep problems. Haven't had too many sleepless nights but there are times when my active brain won't sleep. Passing this on.

    • MKayo profile image
      Author

      MKayo 4 years ago from Texas

      Gypsy - Thanks for the read and comment - glad you're sleeping well and that you found something useful enough to pass on. M

    • lanablackmoor profile image

      lanablackmoor 4 years ago from New England

      Voted up! I'm making so many of these mistakes and it definitely explains my troubles getting to sleep.

    • frozenink profile image

      frozenink 4 years ago

      I think most people can't sleep well because of electronic devices. Step 2, common but very important. Thanks for sharing!

      =)

    • mbyL profile image

      Slaven Cvijetic 4 years ago from Switzerland, Zurich

      very interesting and good stuff you wrote! I shared it!

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Hmmm. I frequently am unable to sleep and I tend to have a lower than average body temperature? Unfortunately, I have tried all of your suggestions and still don't sleep well. I have never gone to sleep quickly, even as a young child. Oh, well. I hope your hub helps someone who isn't quite as bad at sleeping a I am! Insomnia certainly is unhealthy.

    • MKayo profile image
      Author

      MKayo 4 years ago from Texas

      Natashalh - I am so sorry that you have not found a way to get to sleep quickly. Have you tried bio-feedback or hypnotism? I sure hope you can find a way to sleep. Thanks for stopping by to read the article. I wish I could be more help to you. Perhaps some other readers could chime in and help out???

    • jravity1 profile image

      jravity1 4 years ago from bellevue, MI

      I have had problems sleeping before, and I searched a lot. I never once heard about the cell phone. Thank you, I will try that tonight.

    • Wakerra profile image

      Wakerra 4 years ago

      I found a way to hypnotize myself to sleep when I often stay awake with too many thoughts flying around. I play a relaxing song in my mind (usually the same one, for me it works best with "Dire Dire Docks") Then either imagine myself flying through a star field, falling through the air, or sinking in the water. As I fly/fall/sink, all the thoughts that come through my mind I imagine floating from me as I let them go. Tomorrows test, what I did that day, etc. As quickly as they enter my mind, I imagine them floating away and don't think of them any more. Before I know it I'm fast asleep

    • kingkos profile image

      kingkos 4 years ago

      drink milk before sleep - kids

      drink beer before sleep - to u =)

    • That Grrl profile image

      Laura Brown 4 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

      Most of the time I hate going to bed, unless I'm so tired I'm falling asleep and can't do much except sleep.

    • profile image

      bluevine 4 years ago

      Reading a book works for me. Every time. You should try it.

    • Insane Mundane profile image

      Insane Mundane 4 years ago from Earth

      You said: "Adequate sleep is defined to be about 10 to 11 hours each night for kids, 7 to 9 hours for teenagers and about 8.5 to 9 hours or more for adults."

      Oh, dear, that means I should have been dead years ago, even when I was a child; yikes!

    • leahlefler profile image

      leahlefler 4 years ago from Western New York

      Exercise definitely helps me sleep better - swimming and skiing are two activities that usually result in a very good night's sleep! I have a little boy who has severe sleep apnea and a feeding pump that runs through the night - I have to get up frequently throughout the night and sometimes can't fall back to sleep. I will definitely try some of these suggestions to get a little more rest!

    • ryokowaren profile image

      ryokowaren 4 years ago from USA

      Great article! Voted-up. When I have trouble sleeping sometimes, I read a book and it does help a lot.

    • rosika profile image

      rosika 4 years ago

      Great tips here Mkayo--i will share this with my friends who have been complaining of sleepless nights!

    • SidKemp profile image

      Sid Kemp 4 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

      Every one of these is an excellent remedy. I'm going to try aromatherapy next!

    • Silver Poet profile image

      Silver Poet 4 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer

      Excellent hub. I like the imagination vacation idea best!

    • ClarkSteveB profile image

      Steve Clark 4 years ago from Northern, VA

      Some omitted things to try. Improve your diet, reduce caffeine, and of course, have sex... with or without someone.

    • Chleo Splendora profile image

      Chleo Splendora 4 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Very useful Hub! My favorite idea is the imagination, since it requires visualization it will most likely work best for me.

    • lindalou1963 profile image

      Linda 4 years ago from Texas

      Congratulations!! And thanks for some great information.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Very inspiring hub. I should bookmark this hub and I'll show to my mom. Since I know that she can't sleep soundly. Thanks for writing and share with us. Voted up!

      Best wishes, Prasetio

    • FullOfLoveSites profile image

      FullOfLoveSites 4 years ago from United States

      Like many people, I usually go to bed to surf from my phone and leave it there beside me while I sleep. As much as ironic as it sounds, I turn the alarm on from the cellphone and keep it close to me so that I could be awaken right away. I didn't know how much a cellphone could affect a good night's sleep because of the signals produced by it. All I know is that it really distracts me from sleeping early because of surfing and chatting too much.

      Thanks for the very informative hub. And congratulations on having HOTD. Up, useful and a following from me. :)

    • MKayo profile image
      Author

      MKayo 4 years ago from Texas

      Wow - thanks for all of your wonderful input, votes and compliments. I am so glad to hear that so many of you may benefit from something I wrote about - if I can help just one person have abetter night's sleep, then it's all worth it! Thanks to all!

    • mariexotoni profile image

      mariexotoni 4 years ago

      This is a great article. I know personally exercise plays a major role in how fast I fall asleep. Method #4 is a really neat idea I'm going to try out! My favorite thing, however, to do to help me sleep (if I haven't managed to exercise ) is listen the the Pandora stations for meditation, relaxation and tranquility. I really love the "ocean waves for deep sleep radio".

      But I really enjoyed this hub! What a smart topic to write about! Voted up

    • calmclinic profile image

      calmclinic 4 years ago

      This is a very interesting post. I have also heard of like situations when people deprived of sleep for several days just drop dead. People should realize the importance of a good sleep.

    • MKayo profile image
      Author

      MKayo 4 years ago from Texas

      calmclinic - Yes, it's the body's time to regenerate and recharge. Thanks for stopping by and taking time to read my article.

    • divacratus profile image

      Kalpana Iyer 3 years ago from India

      Should switch off my cell phone and electronic gadgets 1 hour prior to sleeping! I have done it before and it used to help a lot. Need to do that again. Nice hub here.

    • MKayo profile image
      Author

      MKayo 3 years ago from Texas

      divacratus - Thanks for the compliments, glad you enjoyed the read.

    • profile image

      Lela 13 months ago

      I've tried everything in here and nothing works for me.

    • MKayo profile image
      Author

      MKayo 13 months ago from Texas

      Lela, perhaps a visit to your doctor or a local sleep clinic might be a next step. I hope you do get some help. Lack of sleep is a terrible thing.

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