Whether you’re going through some horrible bouts of insomnia or you’re a light and sensitive sleeper, sound sleep is a real dream for you.
Wrestling occasional sleeplessness is challenging, too. Stop scouring the Internet, seeking the right solutions for you desperate night and get your pajama ready instead. Below are some of the tried and tested ways to help you fall asleep faster and sleep soundly all night long.
1.Avoid daytime napping
People who have trouble sleeping well at night tend to feel sluggish, lethargic, and sleepy, ending up catching some zzzs during the day. Although short naps are good for health, they might be bad for people with sleep disorders. The study done by the Boston College revealed that college students who often napped during the day might have an increased risk of various sleep disorders.
Another study found that older people who napped frequently had poor sleep, reduced energy levels, enhanced depressive symptoms, and were more prone to weight gain than those who took a nap 1-2 times a week.
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If you’re a frequent napper, this may be a reason why you keep tossing and turning in the middle of the night.
2.Ditch poor sleep behaviors
Yes, it’s finally Saturday and it’s your so much deserved day off, but it doesn’t mean you can spend all day sleeping. People who sleep over the weekend can worsen their sleep patterns and develop poor sleep behaviors. If you’re sleeping excessively on the weekend or during any other day, you’re taking pressure away from your body, giving it enough energy to stay awake at night. You may think that Sunday night insomnia is because you’re dreading Monday, but it’s actually because you’ve slept in over the weekend.
3.Keep regular bedtime and wake-up times
Have you ever looked at your parents and wondered how they wake up early without alarm clocks? That’s because they have a set sleep schedule. The body has its own internal clock, the circadian rhythm, which makes us feel sleepy at night and active during the day. When you go to bed or wake up at different times, you’re ruining the body’s regulatory system, increasing your risk of insomnia.
Set your own sleep schedule and stick to it to fall asleep faster and improve the quality of your night’s sleep.
4.Dim the lights
Light can affect your body’s internal clock. If your room is full of lights, including the lights of your smartphone, TV, tablet, or computer, it can cause mental stimulation, keeping you alert even if you turn off the lights. Dim them at least an hour before you fall asleep to prepare your mind for sleep.
5.Enjoy the sunlight during the day
When you expose your body to sunlight (even during the cloudy days), you teach your body to stay alert during the day. Darkness is typically associated with sleep, so whatever you do during the day, get out and enjoy some sunlight for at least 5 minutes. At night, when you dim or turn off the lights, your body will release more melatonin to help make you feel sleepy faster. If you work in a closed room with no excess to the sunlight, opt for a light therapy device.
6.Practice mindfulness meditation and yoga
Stress isn’t the only culprit for sleep disorders, yet it can keep you alert till the morning. If you’re a highly sensitive person, add overthinking to your stress and you’ll get the perfect formula for chronic insomnia. Meditation has been shown to boost melatonin levels and help the brain reach a specific state that promotes sleepiness.
Yoga involves the practice of body movements and breathing techniques that lower the tension and stress accumulated in the body during the day. The survey showed that more than 55% of people who practiced yoga claimed that it helped them improve their sleep quality. Some of the most relaxing poses for sleep are Left Nostril Breathing (Surya Bhedana), Reclining Butterfly (Supta Baddha Konasana), Seated Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana), Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana), Corpse Pose (Savasana), Legs Up The Wall Pose (Viparita Karani), Plow Pose (Halasana), Child’s Pose (Balasana), and Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana).
Both regular meditation and mindfulness meditation help to tame anxiety and worries as well as reduce stress and tension at the end of the day, making you sleepy in no time.
7.Keep an eye on the temperature
When you sleep, your body temperature can change. While the temperature of your feet and hands raises, the core temperature lowers. If it’s too cold or too hot in your room, this may be a reason for your poor sleep. Figure out what temperature works best for you and set your thermostat accordingly.
8.Avoid taking any sleep supplements
Unless you’re prescribed a certain sleep supplement, never take one because the ad promised you’d sleep peacefully at night. Even though sleep supplements contain natural, science-backed ingredients, such as magnesium, valerian, passionflower, melatonin, etc., they put a ton of pressure on you to sleep. Plus, you may develop an addiction to these supplements, believing that you can’t fall asleep without taking the one.
9.Shower at night
If you’ve used to take showers in the morning, consider doing it before bedtime. Showering at night will help you wash away your stressful day, increase your body temperature and quickly drop it, sending your body a key indicator that it’s time to sleep. After all, what can be more soothing than the feel of warm water? If you don’t feel like taking a shower, consider soaking in a warm bath.
10.Alter your eating habits
The foods that you put in your body can interfere with your sleep. If you eat a big meal or a small yet fatty snack and go to bed right away, your sleep isn’t going to be healthy or restorative since your digestive system is busy with digesting that food. Even if you manage to fall asleep right after a meal, don’t wonder if you wake up at 2 am feeling alert. Slow down your digestion in the evening and alert your eating habits to ensure you have a light dinner and a sleep-inducing bedtime snack.
11.Alert your drinking habits
Sorry, but that tiny glass of wine won’t help you sleep. Alcohol acts as a sedative at the beginning, however shortly after you hit the sack, it changes its tactics, making you count those sheeps till the morning.
The same goes for drinks that contain caffeine, which usually takes 5 to 6 hours to wear off. Now you know when you can have your last cup of joe today.
12.Work out smartly
Lack of exercise and excessive workouts can negatively affect the quality of your sleep. On the other hand, moderate exercise can help you alleviate sleep disorders by increasing the serotonin production in your brain and reducing the cortisol level, the stress hormone that interrupts sound sleep.
When it comes to the time of the day when you work out, it’s best to do it in the morning rather than late in the evening.
13.Wear socks to bed
The Swiss study posted in the journal Nature, found out that warm hands and feet were the fastest predictor of a rapid sleep onset. The study required participants to put a bottle of hot water near their feet. This widened the blood vessels on the skin surface, thereby boosting heat loss. Such an instant shift of the blood flow from the core to the extremities helps to cool down the body, working together with melatonin to induce sleep.
14.Scent your room with lavender
If you’re not allergic to lavender, it’s a great idea to scent your room with it. Not only does this flowering herb smell awesome and sedative, but the aroma of it also helps to reduce your blood pressure, relax your nerves, and put you in a calm and soothing state.
A study done by the Wesleyan University revealed that people who sniffed lavender oil for 2 minutes with a 10-minute interval before going to bed improved the amount of quality sleep and felt more energized in the morning. Lavender has also been shown to lower rapid eye movement sleep.
15.Listen to music
Music can either improve or worsen the quality of your sleep. If you listen to music that has a rhythm of more than 80 beats per minute, you increase the tension and stress levels that prevent you from sleeping peacefully. Classical music may sound boring, but it has a scientifically proven positive impact on sleep.
A 2015 research that involved students aged 19 to 28 revealed that listening to relaxing classical music for at least 45 minutes before bedtime had great improvement in sleep quality. It also helps to relieve the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Buddhist music is another option to consider. It’s a type of music created from various Buddhist chants, which is often used for meditation sessions. If you’re serious about combating insomnia, try combining meditation or yoga with Buddhist music for a better result.
16.Visualize your dream destination
Every one of us has its favorite place on the planet. The next time you have difficulty falling asleep, skip the sheep counting, and visualize your dream destination instead. Picture an environment that makes you feel happy and calm. This can be a beautiful island with fabulous beaches or a breathtaking forest or valley with a picturesque waterfall.
The Oxford University study posted in the Behavior Research and Therapy Journal, stated that people with insomnia and other sleep disorders who were told to picture a relaxing scene, like a waterfall or a beach, dropped off to sleep 20 minutes faster than those who were instructed to count sheep.
Visualization is a powerful tool that helps you distract yourself from worries, stress, and daily problems, helping you doze off faster. Just make sure you picture only positive situations and places.
17.Give acupressure a whirl
Perhaps, you’ve already heard of acupuncture and it might be a natural way to fight insomnia, but it can be done only by an expert. Acupressure is a bit easier to master so you can do it yourself before bed. Acupressure involves pressing on specific points in the body to regulate your mind, restore your balance, and lift your spirit.
Start with massaging both of your ears for 50-60 seconds. You can also apply a gentle 60 second pressure to the point between the eyebrows where there’s a tiny depression on the brow level, right above your nose.
If these two methods fail, try pressing the area on top of the foot, between your first and second toes, for 2 to 3 minutes until you feel an aching pain. Don’t worry it’s okay to feel mild pain, but don’t overdo it.
18.Start a journal
When it comes to journaling, the sky is the limit here. You can journal about your eating habits, emotions, daily events, or even sleep patterns. If your sleep disorders are caused by stress, anxiety, or depression, writing your thoughts and feelings down can provide an instant relief, helping you to fall asleep faster.
If you worry about being not good enough, researchers suggest writing a gratitude journal where you write 5 to 10 things you’re thankful for to help you feel accomplished at the end of the day.
19.Read a book
Nope, not an ebook on your smartphone! Remember to keep away all the gadgets? Read a real paper book, especially the one that radiates happiness and positivity. People have been reading books before bed for centuries and there’s a reason why.
One study found that reading an ebook before bedtime can negatively affect sleep quality as it suppresses melatonin production, increasing your rapid eye movement sleep. On the other hand, reading a paper book for 5 minutes helps you feel more relaxed and sleepy. Doesn’t it sound like an important reason to visit your local library today?
20.Stop staring at your clock
We’re all guilty of doing it, so you’re not alone. When we can’t fall asleep, we start worrying about not being able to get enough sleep and waking up early, which is why we keep checking the time to be aware of when we finally fall asleep. Leave your clock in another room to avoid creating a stressful environment in your mind. Plus, you’re less likely to read your emails or Facebook feed when checking the time on your phone when you leave it far away from your bedroom.
Sleep is vital for your body, so if you can’t fall asleep, use some of the aforementioned tricks to send yourself straight to the Land of Nod. And finally, stop thinking too much about sleep. Constantly thinking about optimizing your sleep puts lots of pressure on the act, making you stress about insomnia and, as a result, not sleep at all.