What really helps you fall asleep?

girl counting sheep to fall asleep
Can counting sheep help you fall asleep faster?

Another sleepless night? Many people struggle to fall asleep. Often it is stress and worries that deprive us of the night’s sleep we need. Whether warm milk or sheep count, there are many tips and tricks for falling asleep. What is behind it and what really works?

If you have permanent problems falling asleep, you should better see your family doctor. Sometimes an examination in the sleep laboratory or with a psychiatrist or neurologist is useful. Short-term remedies promise many tips such as warm milk, sports before going to sleep or the famous sheep count. Everyone has their own method. But what really helps? We put the best-known tricks and home remedies to the test:

Warm milk to fall asleep faster

A glass of warm milk with honey is a popular home remedy. Many swear by its sleep-promoting effects. However, the effect has not been scientifically proven. Milk contains the hormone melatonin as well as the amino acid tryptophan. Both are sleep-promoting substances. However, the amount is too small to induce sleep. Warm milk is more likely to have a psychological effect. It makes you feel full, relaxed and thus helps you to calm down.

Counting sheep

The most well-known sleep aid can actually help. Counting is a very monotonous and low-stimulus process. It distracts from problems and thoughts that could prevent you from sleeping. Of course, the sheep are not the decisive factor. Other calming thoughts can also have a sleep-inducing effect. So it also helps to imagine a beautiful landscape. It is important that you relax. If you put too much pressure into counting sheep, you will be prevented from sleeping even more. It is worth doing relaxation exercises during the day. This makes it easier to practice them at night.

Reading as a sleep aid

A sensible and useful method: reading, like counting sheep, helps to switch off. But only as long as the reading doesn’t get too emotional. It is also better not to read in bed.

TV keeps you awake

Television is less suitable than reading. The blue light that the TV screen as well as computers and smartphones emit, seem to inhibit the production of melatonin. It can prevent you from falling asleep quickly – despite the effect of falling asleep in front of the television.

Exercise to fall asleep better – but not too late

Those who exercise get tired and can sleep better afterwards. Sounds logical so far and is also correct. However, body and mind need time to switch off after sporting activities. Therefore, you should not do any sport at least two to three hours before going to bed. The ideal time is in the late afternoon. This gives the body enough time to calm down.

Warm showers may help to fall asleep faster

Do showers help you fall asleep? Depends. Taking a cold shower has a circulatory effect and therefore tends to stimulate the body. The situation is different with a warm shower or bath. The body warms up, which can make falling asleep easier. Thick socks can also be helpful. However, as is well known, socks in bed are not everyone’s taste. Also, the temperature in the bedroom plays a role in falling asleep. It should be around 18 degrees Celsius.

Alcohol does not improve sleep quality

The after-work beer is popular with many. In fact, alcohol promotes quicker sleep. However, alcohol consumption leads to less deep sleep. As a result, you wake up more often at night. Those who consume large amounts of alcohol over a long period of time can permanently disrupt their sleep depth and continuity.

Is there a perfect way to fall asleep?

Probably not. Most of the remedies have a psychological benefit. No matter whether it is herbal teas, milk or the numerous other foods that are said to have a sleep-promoting effect. The placebo effect plays an important role in falling asleep. Therefore, everyone has to find out for themselves what best lulls them to sleep. It is important that the body and brain come to rest. Therefore it is best to avoid stress as much as possible in the evening, and persist with a relaxing evening routine.

Routines are helpful. Rituals such as reading, taking a short walk or drinking a glass of milk often make it easier to fall asleep. It can be used to program the body to sleep. It then firmly connects reading with the upcoming night’s rest, for example, and adjusts itself accordingly. The bed should only be there for sleeping so that the body does not associate it with any other activity. Fixed bedtime is also recommended.

A persistent attempt to finally fall asleep usually only leads to the opposite. Then you quickly get into a vicious circle, where you lie brooding in bed and certainly don’t come to rest. In such cases, it may be better to get up and distract yourself with a different activity for a few minutes. For example, listening to music. When you have sorted out your thoughts, go back to bed.

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