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How to Fall Asleep Fast Without Pressure

Not being able to fall asleep is a tormenting experience. Conventional tips for falling asleep, such as practising good sleep hygiene, may not have an immediate effect, causing frustration to grow. The problem is: the more pressure we put on ourselves to fall asleep, the harder it gets. You can take the pressure off yourself with the following tips for falling asleep.

I want to fall asleep fast

Someone who has no trouble getting to sleep at the moment may not even understand your problem. According to a survey by the insurer Techniker Krankenkasse, 85% of Germans say they fall asleep within half an hour. What sets you apart from all these good sleepers? Essentially nothing. The main difference comes from having the thought: “I just want to fall asleep now.” Or fearing on a daily basis: “What if I can’t sleep again tonight?” Maybe you have already read a whole catalogue of tips on how to fall asleep and are trying everything you can to achieve your goal. This “wanting” is what creates the pressure that keeps you awake, and it can lead to your difficulty falling asleep becoming a problem.

Classic tips for falling asleep faster: replacing thoughts

You’ve probably heard this advice from someone before: Think positive! And you can also apply this approach to falling asleep. Instead of thinking: “I just want to finally fall asleep,” you deliberately think the opposite: “I don’t even have to fall asleep now.” Or you could think up a pleasant good-night thought, like imagining what you’ll do on your next holiday. For some people, tips for falling asleep, such as thinking positively, help them to relax and fall asleep. Try it out for yourself. However, if this just feels like you’re telling yourself something you don’t believe, you can try one of our other tips for falling asleep fast.

Another approach: Why do you want to fall asleep in the first place?

The question sounds redundant and even a little provocative. But if you answer it, it will tell you something about the fears that lie behind insomnia. Are you afraid of becoming physically ill if you don’t sleep enough? Are you afraid of being less productive the next day? Do you think you could fall into depression because you lie in bed ruminating too much? It is perfectly understandable for such anxieties to arise. But what are these fears all about, and how can you turn them into effective tips for falling asleep?

Can you become ill from a lack of sleep?

How much sleep is necessary? There’s no universal answer to this question. Every person is different, and we have different sleep requirements in each stage of our lives. It is exhausting to put yourself under pressure to sleep 7-8 hours at all costs just because this is seen as an ideal amount. You don’t automatically develop depression or a physical illness because you can’t fall asleep. The onset of mental or physical health problems is always a complex interplay of different factors. So if you have health fears about your insomnia, these are just thoughts that you can notice. They are not truths.

Does sleep affect your performance?

So maybe not falling asleep isn’t as bad as you think, health-wise. But what if you have to get up early? How do you get through the day with only two hours of sleep, and how does that affect how you perform in your work or other activities? There is indeed a correlation between little sleep, concentration and performance. 

However, this correlation does not always have to be negative. It’s also possible that you push yourself harder after a sleepless night because you’re aware you could be less efficient than usual. You can also ask yourself the question: What would be bad about performing less well today? For example, you could tell your colleagues or your boss that you had a bad night’s sleep. You will probably be met with understanding. This kind of openness can even strengthen your working relationships.

Have a rest

Your body needs sleep. Sooner or later you will fall asleep. Just as we don’t starve before our pizza arrives, we won’t lie awake in bed forever and ever. Maybe your body doesn’t need a deep sleep right now, but just a rest. From a neutral standpoint, your time in bed could just as well be spent relaxing. You also regenerate by lying down and doing nothing. Try to enjoy this. You can take some deep breaths in and out and say to yourself, “I’m just going to rest and doze.” A calming sleeping environment also helps you to unwind. However, if you’re wide awake and don’t feel like relaxing, you can get up and do something completely different. Then, when you do get tired, return to your bed to rest.

Healthy living

Getting enough sleep is part of a healthy lifestyle. If this aspect of your health is not going so well at the moment, you can focus on something else. Self-care is more important for your wellbeing than getting to sleep quickly. Instead of putting pressure on yourself to follow sleep tips, ask yourself each day: What can I do for myself today during the day? A healthy lifestyle is also based on sufficient exercise and a balanced diet, for example. One way to promote restful sleep is through exercise, such as yoga. To avoid being preoccupied with sleep during the day, do things that you enjoy. If you’re not getting much sleep, give your wellbeing a boost by consciously activating the resources that give you strength.

Tips for falling asleep in exceptional circumstances

The problems we encounter with sleep are specific to each individual and may be caused by a particular stage of life or special circumstances. For example, pregnancy or the menopause can lead to sleep problems. Having an unfavourable rhythm, when working nights, for example, can also lead to sleep problems that push conventional tips for falling asleep to their limits.

All tips for falling asleep at a glance

  1. Try to replace the thought “I want to fall asleep now” with an opposite or pleasant thought.
  2. Be aware of any fears underlying your worries about not falling asleep.
  3. Remember: a lack of sleep will not, by itself, make you mentally or physically ill.
  4. Be open about “bad nights” and tell others about them – maybe your colleagues, superiors or friends also have trouble sleeping.
  5. It’s perfectly okay to just rest and snooze instead of falling asleep.
  6. Do something for your wellbeing, like getting enough exercise and eating a balanced diet.

Better sleep with HelloBetter

Having taken on board these tips for falling asleep, would you like to take a deeper look at your sleep habits and systematically learn techniques to help you fall asleep and sleep through the night? Then our online course HelloBetter Sleep could be right for you. The course has been proven effective in four scientific studies and 90% of participants would recommend the course to others. For more information and to register, visit the course page linked above.

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Our articles are written by psychologists and reviewed by psychotherapists.