How to Fall Asleep Quicker on Long, Cold Winter Nights

Three tips to help enhance the quality and quantity of sleep

Chloe Patel, Lead Reporter

  Students today can have a hard time falling asleep due to factors such as stress, staying up late working at a job or doing homework, or drinking caffeinated beverages before bed. According to the Institute of Medicine, an estimated 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from a chronic sleep disorder. In the long winter months of January and February, light is scarce, causing people to struggle with waking up in the morning due to the darkness. This becomes a huge setback for students while they try to do schoolwork, sports or extracurricular activities. Lack of good sleep can seriously impact students’ health or well being throughout the winter months. For example, drowsy driving alone claims over 1,500 lives and causes at least 100,000 motor vehicle crashes each year according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. When searching “how to fall asleep” on Google, many results will mention suggestions like setting a sleep schedule, eating particular foods or shutting down technology at least two hours before sleep. While these methods can be beneficial if planned out beforehand, they do not help in the moment when unable to sleep. Additionally, concentrating on sleeping makes it harder to fall asleep, so discovering new methods that are distracting is the key to quickly fall asleep. While not all these methods may work for everyone, one should be able to find at least one thing mentioned to integrate into their lives to expedite falling asleep.


  One app that could be used to help fall asleep is Shhh. After opening the app, users are met with a screen listing three options: Night Sleep, Power Nap and Flight Sleep. After pressing an option, the app counts down from three and starts a series of noises that the app’s developers found to have a good effect on sleep. Shhh is a free app, and there are no advertisements.

  Another free app that could be useful in falling asleep is White Noise Ambience Lite. This app comes with a pro option, but the free version has plenty of options, with over 40 sounds are available. Once users open the app, they are immediately met with a string of sounds that they can reach by swiping through. While each set of songs is automatically set to 10 minutes long, users can set the music in a loop to go through various sounds. Additionally, users can create playlists on the apps to create the ultimate sleeping experience.

Sounds and Music

  Another option to help fall asleep quicker is listening to various calming sounds and music. Instrumental music or rain and other natural sounds can be soothing. According to, relaxing classical music is effective in reducing sleeping problems. On YouTube, there are many videos available to help with sleep that vary from sounds similar to Shhh to meditation music to natural sound compilations. Each person may like a variation of sounds, so experimenting with various noises and music is important to find what one may like.

Making Mental Lists

  An uncommon option to help fall asleep faster is making mental lists. Making mental lists of things like colors, dog breeds, foods and other miscellaneous topics gets the mind off sleeping, making it easier to fall asleep. While making these lists can be beneficial, it is important to make lists of random things, not lists of after-school activities, homework assignments or tasks that need to be completed, as this will contribute to stress and anxiety and not aid sleep. According to, the more anxiety you feel around bedtime, and the more difficult it becomes to fall asleep. In addition to lists, repeating the same word over and over again will also calm the mind. For example, repeating the word ‘nothing’ calms the mind, as this tactic forces the mind to focus only on one thing: the word ‘nothing.’ Visualization, according to an Oxford University study, helped people fall asleep 20 minutes faster than they usually would.

With these methods, the long nights of winter will be full of high quality sleep. Finding what fits each individual can be difficult, but working to find those methods results in falling asleep quicker.