From time to time, everyone finds themselves in the midst of a frustrating nightfall battle where the mind has too much to say and sleep only seems to run farther away. This common disorder is not only a curse which strikes at later hours, but its negative effects also leak into the waking day too, disrupting your mood, punching holes in your memory, and weighing heavily on your productivity.
If this sleep struggle sounds all too familiar to you, go and speak to a medical professional for individual advice, and in the meantime, try these little tricks which don’t include sheep counting.
1. Yoga and Meditation
One of the best ways to sleep faster and better is practicing your yoga and exploring a meditative state before bed can help to push your mind, offering you a break from your daily stresses whilst releasing any physical tension through deep stretching. Regular exercising can also exhaust the body into an easier place of slumber, but rather tackle your gym session earlier in the day, as evening training can lead to post-workout insomnia.
2. A Comfortable Bed
To get a great night’s sleep you will need a great bed too. Ensure your mattress is supportive and firm, use a foam wedge if need be, and remain wary of any incorrect pillow usage which may bend your neck out of line. When it comes to your sleeping position, this is largely down to personal preference, but always be conscious of keeping your spine as straight as possible throughout the night.
3. Trick Your Brain
Show your brain who’s boss by tricking it into falling asleep. This can be the way to sleep faster and better. Use reverse psychology and tell yourself that tonight you are going to stay awake, sitting upright and keeping your eyes open for as long as possible, removing the pressure. You can also throw your mind away by reading a book until your eyes can’t see the words anymore. Always avoid watching films or doing work in bed, as your brain should only associate this area as a place of rest. And if all else fails, go for a 10-minute walk around the house and then try again.
4. Don’t Look at the Clock
The longer you watch the minutes ticking by, the more urgent the need for sleep will seem until you are so stressed out that you may as well stay awake forever. Rather hide your clock, refusing to check the time even if you wake up in the middle of the night because these numbers will only make it harder to go back to sleep.
5. Experiment with Temperatures
Consider adding a hot shower into your bed routine, as this will not only relax your muscles but will also cause your temperature to rapidly decrease when you step into the cool air, which should tire the body. If you’re feeling anxious, splash your face with freezing water as this will shock your brain into reset mode and calm your heart down.
6. Experiment with Aromas
Using scents such as lavender, roman chamomile, and petitgrain essential oils are said to relax the mind whilst lowering your blood pressure. The advantage of scent therapy is that they hit the central nervous system immediately, and the more you use this technique, the more your mind will associate them with bedtime.
7. Experiment with Sounds
Listening to classical or any slow music can have a lullaby quality to it, as this distracts your brain from the previous day whilst blocking out the world’s external sounds. If music isn’t your jam, then maybe try out some nature sounds or Buddhist chants.
8. The 4-7-8 Method
The most popular breathing technique for sleep is the 4-7-8 method, which increases oxygen in the bloodstream, slows the heart rate, and provides instant calm. This is how you do it: inhale through your nostrils while counting to four, hold that breath and count to seven, then exhale out through your mouth with a whoosh sound for a total of eight seconds. Repeat this until you’re gone.
It’s important for your mind to differentiate day from night, so try hanging out in the sun during waking hours, and then make your room as dark as possible when you’re ready for bed. It’s also worth noting that the glow which comes off of your electronic devices are known to suppress the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, which is why you must turn these off a few hours before bed to sleep faster and better.
10. Building a Routine
Your brain recognizes patterns, which means that going to bed and waking up at the same time every day will set your body clock, automatically preparing itself for bedtime to sleep faster and better. Always eat dinner a few hours before bed to let it digest, and avoid lengthy naps during the day too. Goodnight!