Do you spend every night tossing and turning in bed anxiously waiting for that elusive sweet slumber? Are you waking up every morning more exhausted than you were before you went to bed? Are you scrolling through numerous articles on how to fall asleep easily? Do you ever feel that solving complicated differential equations is easier than falling asleep? Welcome to the insomnia club. While tens of millions of people have trouble sleeping, we spent some sleepless nights ourselves researching the best ways to fall asleep.
Here’s a comprehensive list of sleep hacks to help you easily drift off to dreamland.
This is one of the basic sleeping tips. First off, get on a schedule. Your body follows something called a circadian rhythm aka your body clock that stimulates you to sleep in the night and stay active during the day. And while the early bird catches the worm works for some, being a night owl works for others. So, find your ideal bedtime and stick to it so your body clock gets set according to that. Don’t forget to exercise during the day – it increases the production of serotonin, the happy chemical, that is known to not only boost your daily efficiency but also takes care of sleeplessness and all its symptoms. Remember, exercising before bed is a big no-no. It makes you all hot and sweaty and your body needs some to cool down before you sleep. Now, while exercising in the morning takes care of that midday lethargy, if you really do want to nap, do it between 1 and 3 pm when you’re anyway at your all-time low. Your last Starbucks run for the day? Mid-afternoon. ‘Coz everyone knows that caffeine is the enemy of sleep.
Food For Thought
What you eat affects your sleep. Research shows that a low-carb, high-fat diet is ideal for a good night’s sleep. If you do want to go all out with a high carb, sugar rush causing meal (read: dessert), make sure you consume it at least four hours before bedtime. Sugary foods provide a surge of energy which, let’s be honest, nobody needs right before bed, and spicy foods can trigger indigestion and heartburn which can most definitely cause sleep troubles. If you do find yourself craving a late-night snack, try eating a small banana, some blueberries or an oatmeal biscuit. Everybody knows that a nice warm cuppa chamomile tea works wonders when it comes to falling asleep. And if brewing one when sleep evades you isn’t really your thing, there are always supplements. Magnesium, Vitamin D and Activated Charcoal are supplements that are guaranteed to induce that sweet beauty sleep.
Set The Mood
Sometimes all it takes is creating the perfect atmosphere to get some much-needed rest. One of the oldest natural sleep remedies in the book is aromatherapy which has been known to work on biochemical, physiological and emotional levels to induce a sense of calm. Essential oils like Neroli, Orange, Pettigrain and Damask Rose are must-haves in your aromatherapy kit but it’s Lavender that’s our all-time favorite. As it turns out, Lavender has been proven to relax nerves, lower blood pressure and help you sleep like a baby. Put on some soft, lilting music, soothing meditations or natural sounds to zen up your surroundings. Though scientific studies have proven that subjects listening to music sleep better, you can also try cutting out all sounds completely. Switch off the lights and make sure that darkness truly prevails. P.S: A good trick here to shut out all and any kind of brightness is to use a sleeping mask. Don’t forget to cool your room to around 24 degrees Celsius because that’s like giving your body the go-ahead to fall asleep.
Keep calm and unwind
It’s now time to turn off your electronics. The blue light from those screens keeps you awake by preventing the production of melatonin or the sleepy hormone. So, while reading at night may help you fall asleep, doing it on your phone, tablet, or laptop isn’t the way to go. Do yourself a favour and hide your clock too so you don’t keep staring at it, watching the minutes tick by as you wait for sleep to arrive. Waking up in the middle of the night is normal, guys. It’s looking at the clock that makes it so much harder to fall back asleep. Now, relax. Read something light that helps your mind drift, visualize your happy place, lock up those stressful thoughts and leave your worries behind. Studies have shown that insomniacs who imagined a peaceful place fell asleep 20 minutes faster than those who didn’t do anything at all or even just counted sheep (yup, that one trick absolutely doesn’t work – every insomniac knows that).
Take A Breath
If reverse psychology was ever good for anything, it’s combating insomnia and reducing the stress of falling asleep. Turns out the harder you try to fall asleep, the harder it is. Sometimes it’s as easy as forcing your eyes to stay open that brings sleep. And if sleep still seems like a distant dream, try doing yoga or meditation before bed. This calms the mind and relaxes the body relieving you of stress that might be playing on your subconscious keeping you up at odd hours of the night. Or try the 4-7-8 breathing method which basically increases the oxygen content in your blood, slows your heart rate and releases more carbon dioxide from your lungs overall, relaxing your mind and your body and perpetrating sound sleep. Breathe in through your nose to a count of four, hold your breath for seven counts and then exhale from your mouth for eight counts. Repeat this cycle four to five times and watch that sleep come swiftly. If all fails, get up and do something!
SPOT IT. SHOP IT.