How to get to sleep surprising tricks and tips.
Despite sleep being everywhere we all do it and we all talk about the amount of hours we caught last night – none of us seem to get enough of the stuff for ourselves. Adults are recommended to sleep for seven to eight hours every night, and yet almost half of us average under six hours.
There are two common complaints that explain this deficit. There simply isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done, and that a busy mind at night keeps us awake, biting into our daily shut-eye. Keep in mind that there are simple tips and tricks that can help you fall asleep quickly for free.
The 4-7-8 technique
All you have to do is lightly touch the ridge of tissue behind your top front teeth with your tongue, exhale completely, and then adopt the following breathing pattern. Breathe in through your nose quietly for a count of 4, Hold your breath for a count of seven, Blow air out through your mouth for a count of 8, making a ‘whoosh’ sound, Repeat the process three more times. Regular counting also helps to distract the mind from the issues of the day that it can carry to bed.
Turn off the heating and use a hot water bottle
Every night, as the body falls asleep and its systems switch to standby, its core temperature drops. By preparing a sleep environment that’s around the 65 degree mark, you’ll help your body’s core temperature quickly and naturally reduce, which in turn creates the effect of drowsiness. And while it may sound counter-intuitive, a hot water bottle can actually help the process. Place the warm rubber container next to your feet. The heat will rapidly dilate blood vessels in your lower limbs, helping the body to redistribute heat from your core to your extremities.
Ban all electronic devices from your bedroom
As anyone who works overnight shifts will testify, going to sleep during the day can be difficult even after years of training. That’s because light plays such a forceful role in our sleeping patterns. The key here is the hormone melatonin. Melatonin is only excreted into our blood flow when there is little light in the surrounding environment. Banning smartphones, tablets, and even bright electronic alarm clocks from your bedside table will help you enjoy bask in a sleepy haze of melatonin at nighttime.
Learn to sleep like a yogi
Yoga nidra involves systematically switching your attention around the parts of your body. You start at your fingertips and travel slowly up your arm, into your torso, and then down one side of your body into your toes, before repeating the process on the other half. Anyone who is still awake by the end can then use their exhalations to count down from 40 inhale, exhale, 40, inhale, exhale, 39, inhale, exhale, 38.
Learn to sleep like a ninja yogi
A variation on the method described above, this involves tightly clenching individual muscles in your body. After squeezing, say, your bicep as tightly as possible, you release the slack and feel relaxation flow into the muscle fibres. Try not to move the muscle thereafter; instead, think of it as being ‘asleep’.
Push your own buttons
A traditional Chinese cure for insomnia is acupressure, which is a bit like acupuncture except without the needles. All you have to do is apply pressure to the specific parts of the body that are believed to promote sleep when touched. Press and then massage a few select areas of the body, including the indent between the top of your nose and your eyebrows, and the point just beneath the ball of the feet.
Try staying awake
Research shows that reverse psychology can genuinely help people fall asleep. While one group was left to their own devices, the other was told to stay awake for as long as possible but banned from moving around or watching TV. Guess who went to sleep fastest?