In the past, the only defense I had against my insomnia was walking into my local pharmacy and walking out with over the counter sleep meds. Problem with this is that it’s not a long-term solution. And, who knows what damage the meds are doing to my body over time?

Since then, I have become more educated on natural methods of getting a good night’s rest and I have put together the 5 best ways to make this happen.

One item not on the list is that I highly recommend you avoid all screens for at least 60 minutes before bedtime. This means TV, smartphone, anything you can check your email on.

Need entertainment? Read a book or journal. Preferably both.

Here are 5 quick tips that will help.

1. Create a Worry List

The responsibilities of modern life account for one of the biggest causes of restlessness. Worry about what you need to do tomorrow, and the stress that accompanies it is enough to give even the best sleepers insomnia.

If you’re worried that you’ll forget what you need to do tomorrow, and it’s causing you insomnia. The Mirror recommends taking a few minutes to write a list. The list should be anything that is causing you worry – the doctor’s appointment, the call to the new client, your kid’s soccer practice, problems at work and so on.

Once your worries are written down, it’s easier to let them go. If you still find that you’re troubled by tomorrow’s responsibilities, try creating a mental filing cabinet. See yourself putting your list in the cabinet for safe keeping until tomorrow. Sleep should eventually come once these worries are taken care of.

2. Healthy Feet, Healthy Sleep

Who knew that your feet played such an important role in your sleep patterns? An article on The Huffington Post suggests that having warm feet and hands helps you fall asleep faster. At a minimum, you should put socks on to warm up your feet.

However, you can make foot care a part of your evening routine leading up to going to bed. You can start by giving your feet a detox bath filled with lavender essential oils and Epsom salts. According to Bare Natural Health, this encourages your body to detox through the feet.

After that, you can give your feet some acupressure. Pressing on the area between the first and second toes as well certain areas of the feet helps, too. Finally, you can end this ritual by slipping your socks on and heading off to bed.

3. Get up for 10 Minutes

If you can’t sleep, it’s best to get up and do something that engages both your head and your hands. However, this activity should not be watching TV or checking email: The screens on these devices emit a blue light, which causes sleeplessness.

Don’t try to exercise either, because this will only increase your heart rate and give you a boost of energy. Instead, pick up your sketch book and draw for a few minutes or read a book. Doing this creates a stimulus control, which means you begin to associate your bed with sleep and not worry, TV-watching, or work.

Actor Shailene Woodley of the “Divergent” series is a big proponent of a variation of this ritual before bed. For her, a warm cup of tea and a book of poems is just the thing to encourage relaxation and eventually, sleep.

If this doesn’t work for you and you still have troubles falling asleep, resist the temptation to take sleeping pills, as they have unpleasant side effects. There are a lot of natural sleep aids you should give a try before resorting to medication.

4. Mindfulness Meditation

According to the Harvard Medical School, practicing mindful meditation has a direct impact on fatigue, depression, and insomnia.

Better yet, these positive changes can take effect in as little as six meditation sessions. Mindful meditation brings your body and mind back to the present, helping you push away the worries of tomorrow. 

And meditation has some powerful celebrity proponents, including Jerry Seinfeld. While he loves how it helps him get more work done during the day, he also acknowledges how well it makes him sleep, according to The Huffington Post.

He says, “I always say to people; you know how about three nights a year you get a good night’s sleep? You can have it every day with meditation.”

5. Get a Slow Groove On

Music that is played at 60 to 80 beats per minute encourages the brain to slow down long enough to fall sleep. Slipping in a CD of classical music 45 minutes before you go to bed will help slow down your mind.

You can make this your bedtime ritual or add it to one that you already have like the foot care rituals mentioned above.

Final Thoughts on Falling Asleep Faster

Few things feel more frustrating than not being able to fall asleep. While it’s common for people to take over-the-counter medications to help themselves fall asleep, other alternatives exist.

The natural remedies in this article will help you establish a bedtime routine, reset your inner clocks, and help you fall asleep faster in the process.

By Alex Moore