11 Sleep Tips for Falling Asleep

Sydney Mulroy
11 Sleep Tips for Falling Asleep

Having trouble falling asleep? Find yourself just staring up at the ceiling just wishing your mind would drift off into a slumber? Impaired sleep is something that everyone has been impacted by at some point. There could be several factors that are impairing your ability to fall asleep. With research and knowledge about the science of sleep, these 11 sleep tips help you navigate how to choose foods, design your bedroom, pick supplements, and plan your nighttime routine to help you fall asleep. 

Define Your Sleep Hygiene

Before diving into more specific sleep tips, I wanted to define “sleep hygiene” and what that really means. Determining what is included in your personal sleep hygiene is the biggest tip! Just like your routine to maintain your dental and personal hygiene, your sleep hygiene is also really important. Your sleep hygiene can impact your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. 

Sleep hygiene can include food and nutrients you are consuming. The environment you sleep in, which for most is a bedroom. The activities that lead up to your head laying down on your pillow.  There are many factors that go into your sleep hygiene. When considering which tips you want to try, developing this overall routine that supports a healthy sleep hygiene is crucial. 

 Time your Caffeine

Caffeine is a nutrient that can be a big disruptor of sleep and make it challenging to fall asleep. Cut off your caffeine consumption once you have moved into the p.m. hours. Caffeine can have lingering effects from 3-5 hours. Suprisingly, it can also reduce deep sleep by 1 hour if consumed within 6 hours of sleeping. If you are a chronic afternoon energy or coffee drinker and are concerned you might experience caffeine withdrawal effects if you completely cut out the caffeine, try this tip; start small with trying to reduce the ounces of your caffeinated beverage by half. Continue this activity until you have gradually reduced your portion to zero. 

 Other activities that could help with the afternoon slump include: 

  • Getting outside for fresh air 
  • Caffeine free carbonated beverages
  • Exercise
  • Take a 15-20 minute power nap 
  • Snack with complex carbohydrates 

Magnesium at Night

Consuming a magnesium rich food or a supplement can be an ally in your goal to fall asleep. Magnesium is a natural relaxer, might reduce the amount of circulating cortisol (the stress hormone), and could increase melatonin.

Foods to include in your evening include: oats, yogurt, almonds, dark chocolate (just beware of portion due to caffeine content). Try this sleep promoting dessert, a yogurt parfait topped with granola, frozen tart cherries, and shaved dark chocolate. 

If you're considering taking a magnesium supplement to rich your levels, be sure it’s magnesium glycinate or the picometer-ionic form of magnesium chloride, this is the most bioavailable form. Other forms, such as Magnesium Oxide or regular Magnesium chloride, can result in digestive tract distress, cramping, and diarrhea. Check those supplement nutritional facts to make sure your getting the best form in your supplement. 

How do you know if you're getting enough magnesium? If you are interested in testing your magnesium levels, check out Vessel’s simple at home urinary test, you’ll have your results in under 5 minutes. 

Chamomile Tea

Tea is a natural way to get your mind into that calm dreaming state to allows you to fall asleep. Chamomile tea has phytonutrients called flavonoids that have sleep promoting qualities.  Steeping a tea bag of chamomile tea in hot water or milk creates a drink high in the flavonoid apigenin. This means that it binds to receptors in the brain acting as mild tranquilizer to induce sleep.

There is research to support consuming chamomile right before bed can help reduce insomnia and might result in undisturbed sleep. The routine of making chamomile tea in the evening would be a great ritual to add to your sleep routine! 


This nutrient is commonly associated with sleep. It's a naturally occurring hormone in the body that helps regulate your circadian rhythm, aka when you wake up/fall asleep. Some foods that are high in melatonin include pistachios, almonds, seeds, tart cherries, eggs, and poultry. Foods with protein, specifically the amino acid tryptophan such as turkey, are precursors to melatonin, and might also increase this hormone's release to promote sleep.

What is the best form of melatonin? Should you opt for gummies or hard capsules? There is little research on the most effective form of melatonin supplementation, however generally look for supplements that also contain other phytonutrients such as chamomile, ashwagandha, probiotics, lemon balm, or L-theanine to maximize the benefits of taking your supplement. 

Light Bulbs 

Have you considered the type of light emitted from your light fixtures in your bedroom? If your light sources are flooding your bedroom with blue light, it could be impairing your brain's ability to recognize it is sleep time. Blue light triggers the brain to be in an awake state. However red light therapy has been linked with increased melatonin production (that lovely sleep hormone), plus it might even help you wake up feeling more energized and less groggy.

There are red light emitting lamps, light bulbs, face shield, and other devices to help you get a daily dose of some red light to help improve your sleep. While research is still being done, there are still plenty of devices on the market and testimonies of the benefits of using red light therapy.

Night Mode Electronics

On the topic of the impact of light and the signal for the brain to fall asleep, using your electronic devices close to bedtime or even worse, in bed, could be one of the most distributive activities to falling asleep. Phones, computers, TV while in bed can keep your brain stimulated and awake. Try to limit exposure to electronics at least 1 hour before your desired sleep time. Use of electronics within 30 minutes of bedtime might be a bigger disturbance to your sleep quality than other known poor sleep factors such as consuming alcohol, experiencing depression, and exercising near bedtime. 

To mimic the natural circadian rhythm that humans followed before modern day electronics, aka waking up with the sun and going to sleep when the sun sets. Now there is a setting to turn screens on a “night mode”, which changes the color and reduces the amount of light coming from the device. Explore your screen settings to see how you can create automatic timers to turn night mode on to help limit exposure to blue light in the evening.

Keep your Bed for Sleep 

Designate a bed for sleep, the brain can then associate the bed with sleep. You want your brain to see your pillow and blankets in your bedroom and to start producing sleep inducing hormones to prep your body for a slumber. Just like seeing a coffee maker in the morning time or your morning vitamins are associated with waking up and your morning routine. If you bring work, tv, phone, games, and other non-sleep activities into your bed, then it decreases the strength of the association between bed and sleep. 

If you started working from bed during some part of the day due to the past few years, this routine and habit could be impairing your ability to fall asleep at night. 

End Your Shower with a Cold Finish 

Have you heard of hot and cold therapy to regulate your central nervous system? Another tip to help fall asleep is if you normally shower within 1 hour of sleep, try a cold shower. The cooler temps can decrease stimulating hormones that if circulating when you fall asleep might make it harder to drift off. Another reason to shower in cooler temps or just drop the temperature a few minutes as you are doing a final rinse, it decreases your overall body temperature. This can also be helpful if you workout/exercise close to your bedtime, it can help reduce adrenaline hormones, decrease body temp, and calm your overall self for a restful night sleep. Cooling down your internal temp is important, and also having a cool environment can improve your ability to fall asleep.

Keep it Cool

Along with a cold finish to your shower, The National Sleep Association recommends setting the bedroom at ~65 degrees Fahrenheit. This is one of my personal favorite sleep tips! Some products or hacks you can try to help reach this cool temp include: 

  • Set a timer on A/C to automatically drop to this temp 30 minutes before bedtime
  • Use a fan to circulate cool air, try not to point it at yourself to reduce drying out your skin
  • Try cooling bed sheets with moisture wicking properties such as cotton and linen
  • Use an electric cooling mattress cover and set your bed to the temperature best for you to fall asleep and the best temp for a gentle wake up 

Exercise to Promote Sleep 

There is a ton of research that supports exercise improves how ability to fall asleep and the overall quality of sleep. However, one thing to be mindful of is the type of exercise you are performing within 1 hour of your desired bed time. While meeting moderate exercise guidelines is a healthy sleep habit, the type of exercise you are doing right before bed can be kicking up those anti-sleep hormones. Limit intense cardio or weight lifting within 1 hour before going to bed. The increased cortisol, adrenaline, and overall core body temperature from these activities can impair your ability to calm the mind to fall asleep.

For some bedtime movement these light exercises are less intense and can be also be helpful for reducing sleep to help you fall asleep:  

  • Yoga, restorative, save the hot or power flow for you morning workout
  • Slow Walk
  • Tai Chi 
  • Deep stretching right in bed 

In Conclusion

Know you have a few sleep tips to try out tonight to help you fall asleep. If you try something and it doesn’t seem to help the first time, give it a few nights of practice before you write it off! If you feel like your overall wellness could be improved with having access to more data of your nutrient levels such as magnesium, calcium, or even hydration levels, then take the wellness test and start tracking your nutrient levels today with Vessel Health. Along with the urinary test cards you also get access to Nutrition Coaches that can help you really dive into our wellness goals and work with you to improve your sleep hygiene. Don’t sleep on the importance of your health, get testing today!