What Really Helps When Falling Asleep

Whether warm milk or sheep count helps, there are many other tips and tricks to fall asleep. What is behind it and what really works.

Another sleepless night? Many people are struggling with sleep problems. Often it is stress and worry that bring us to the deserved night’s sleep.


Anyone who has permanent sleep problems should better consult his GP. Sometimes it makes sense to have an examination in a sleep laboratory or with a psychiatrist or neurologist. Short-term remedies promise many tips such as warm milk, sports before falling asleep or the famous sheep count. Everyone has their own method. But what really helps? I put the best-known tricks and home remedies to the test:

The goodnight milk

The glass of warm milk with honey is a popular home remedy. Many swear by its sleep-inducing effect. The effect is not scientifically proven. Although milk contains the hormone melatonin, as does the amino acid tryptophan. Both are sleep-promoting substances. But the amount is too small to really accelerate falling asleep. Warm milk is more likely to have a psychological effect. It makes you full, relaxed and helps you to calm down.

Count sheep

The most well-known sleep aid can actually help. Counting is a very monotonous and irritating process. It distracts from problems and thoughts that could prevent you from sleeping. Of course, the sheep are not the deciding factor. Other calming, low-stimulus thoughts can also have a lulling effect. So, it helps to imagine a beautiful landscape. It is important that you relax while doing so. Anyone who puts too much pressure on the sheep will be hampered by sleep. It is worth doing relaxation exercises already during the day. So, they fall easier at night.

Reading as a sleep aid

A useful and useful method: reading helps much like counting sheep when switching off. However, only as long as the reading does not stir too emotionally. Better not to read directly in bed.

TV keeps awake

Less suitable than reading is television. The blue light emitted by TV as well as computer and smartphone seems to inhibit the production of melatonin. It can thus prevent fast falling asleep – despite the pre-TV sleep-in effect.

Sport – but not too late

Anyone who does sports gets tired and can sleep better afterwards. Sounds logical so far and is correct. However, body and mind need time to relax after sporting activities. That’s why you should not exercise any more at least two to three hours before bedtime. The ideal time is in the late afternoon. This gives the body enough time to rest.

Take warm shower

Do showers help before bedtime for quiet nights? Depends on. Cold showering has a stimulating effect on the circulation and therefore rather dispels tiredness. The situation is different with a warm shower or a bath. The body heats up, which can make falling asleep easier. Even thick socks can be helpful. However, socks in bed are not common to everyone’s taste. The temperature in the bedroom plays a role in falling asleep. It should be around 18 degrees.

Alcohol – at the expense of deep sleep

The after-work beer is popular with many. In fact, alcohol promotes faster falling asleep. But: alcohol consumption leads to a less deep sleep. As a result, one wakes up more often at night. Those who consume large amounts of alcohol over a longer period of time can permanently disrupt their sleep depth and continuity.

Is there the perfect sleep method?

Probably not. Most of the funds have a psychological benefit. No matter whether it is herbal teas, milk or the numerous other foods that are said to have a sleep-inducing effect. When falling asleep, the placebo effect plays an important role. Therefore, everyone has to find out for himself what weighs him best to sleep. It is important that body and brain come to rest. That’s why you should avoid stress in the evening if possible and tune in with a relaxed evening program on the bedtime.

In addition, solid habits are helpful. Rituals like reading, taking a short walk or drinking a glass of milk often make falling asleep easier. This allows you to program the body for sleep. He then connects, for example, the reading with the upcoming night’s sleep and adjusts accordingly. The bed should only be there for sleeping so that the body does not associate it with any other activity. Fixed bed travel is also recommended.

The convulsive attempt to finally fall asleep usually only leads to the opposite. Then you quickly get into a vicious circle, in which one is brooding in bed and certainly not come to rest. In such cases, it may be better to get up and distract yourself for a few minutes with another occupation. For example, listening to music or ironing. When you have sorted the thoughts, go back to bed.

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