IF YOU’VE BEEN STRUGGLING TO FIND WAYS TO FALL ASLEEP FASTER, TRY THE FOLLOWING METHODS, BACKED BY SCIENCE OF COURSE, THAT INCLUDE SEVERAL WAYS TO PREPARE YOUR BODY FOR SLUMBER.
It is a well known fact that the human body requires sleep more than it does food. Lack of sufficient sleep can affect your performance at work and at home, daily tasks can become debilitating and the anxiety that comes with it just perpetuates the sleeplessness cycle.
Unless you are on special medication or have a medical condition that inhibits regular sleep, then anxiety is most likely to be the villain in this story.
Whether you suffer from insomnia or just find it difficult to get a good night’s sleep, then have a go at these few simple slumber-inducing techniques.
1. THE “PARADOXICAL INTENTION”
The basic idea here is to lay down in bed and try to stay awake with your eyes open. A group of participants in a study conducted at the University of Glasgow were instructed to do so and the results were shocking. The others were instructed to go to sleep without this paradoxical intention and what they found was that the group that lay awake with their eyes open fell asleep faster and showed less sleep performance anxiety than those that did not. Reverse psychology, although it may not be a long-term solution, can certainly help in transporting you to dreamland.
“I always tell people, sleep is the one thing in life where the harder you try and the harder you work at it, the more likely it is you’ll fail,” says Lisa Meltzer, a scholar for the National Sleep Foundation and associate professor of pediatrics at National Jewish Health.
2. REGULATE YOUR BODY TEMPERATURE.
If you take a hot shower and then step into cool air, about an hour before going to sleep, it will cause your body temperature to gradually decrease. Studies show that that this rapid thermal switching can quickly slow your metabolism and prepare your body to fall asleep. You can get the most value from this method by making it a consistent part of your bedtime routine.
“Then your body has an expectation of what’s coming next,” says Meltzer.
3. SUBMERGE YOUR FACE IN ICE-COLD WATER.
If you find yourself feeling uneasy or anxious trying to fall asleep, an easy way to calm down before bedtime is a face full of ice-cold water. Immersing your face in water (for about 30 seconds) can trigger something known as the Mamalian Dive Reflex, which lowers your heart rate and drops your blood pressure down to a point that is more conducive to deeper sleep.
4. IMAGINE YOUR HAPPY PLACE.
Try to visualize a scene that is engaging enough to distract you from your current state of worrying and over-analyzing. Counting sheep is only helpful if you’re a sheep farmer.
An Oxford University study was published in the journal Behaviour Research and Therapy that showed insomniacs who were asked to picture a relaxing scene, like a waterfall or a beach, fell asleep 20 minutes quicker than those who were told to imagine nothing at all or to count sheep.
5. AVOID BLUE LIGHT WAVES BEFORE BED.
Light of any sort can inhibit the body’s natural production of melatonin which is an essential sleep-inducing chemical. Blue light waves, like the ones from fluorescent light bulbs, smartphones, tablets, TVs, LED lights(etc), are more powerful in suppressing melatonin levels, thereby shifting sleep-friendly circadian rhythms into something more chaotic, according to Harvard Health Publications.
Avoiding this kind of exposure before bedtime can help you sleep peacefully and reset your body’s rhythms.
6. THE “4-7-8” METHOD.
Best-selling author Dr. Andrew Weil has a method that has been corroborated by a number of wellness bloggers, and they say it can put you to sleep in less than a minute.
If done correctly, this method can relax you by increasing oxygen flow in the bloodstream, slowing down your heart rate, and expelling carbon dioxide from your lungs. Here’s how to do it according to DrWeil.com:
-Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
-Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of 4.
-Hold your breath for a count of 7.
-Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of 8. This is one breath.
-Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of 4 breaths.
7. LISTEN TO MUSIC.
It has been proven by science, that music with a slow rhythm between 60 and 80 BPM, can help to induce sleepiness.
In a study conducted in 2008, students between the ages of 19 and 28 listened to classical music for 45 minutes before bed. What they found was that not only did the participants who listened to music show significant improvement in sleep quality, they also reported a decrease in symptoms of depression.
There are lots of ways to shut your mind off and let go of the thoughts of the day, despite the fact that we find ourselves fighting it every step of the way. Take some time for yourself and try these methods out.