People everywhere are getting fewer and fewer hours of sleep. There are a number of reasons from more stressful lives to the other things that we just want to be doing. One thing is true no matter what, when you’re ready to go to sleep, you just want to sleep and sleep well.
Hide your clock
The clock in your room gets you up on time for work, but it can be the source of anxiety and stress. If you’re having a hard time getting to sleep, and you can easily see your clock, you will be tempted to check the time. If you can’t check the time very easily you’re less likely to be anxious and stressed about the time. This will in turn help you to get to sleep more easily.
Take a hot shower or bath
When the body is sleeping it actually has a lower average temperature by about 1 degree. Taking a hot shower or bath will raise your body temperature, and after you’re out the body will cool bringing you into the ideal temperature for sleeping.
Use the 4-7-8 breathing method
Dr. Andrew Weil calls this a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. Many who practice it say it helps them get to sleep more easily. It will get more effective the more you do it. Some people even claim you can get to sleep in about a 60 seconds.
- Breath out completely.
- Count to 4 while breathing in deeply through your nose.
- Hold your breath for 7 seconds.
- Count to 8 while breathing out through your mouth.
- Repeat steps 1 to 4 three more times.
Avoid caffeine after lunch time
It can take some time for caffeine to clear your system. It may not seem like a problem, but it can be adding to your sleeplessness. Replace your Tea or Coffee with decaf or just water.
Stop drinking booze 1 hour before bedtime
Alcohol is a stimulant, and while many people get to sleep more easily after drinking, the effect is reduced REM (Rapid Eye Movement) during sleep. REM is the phase of the sleep cycle where you dream, this is also the phase where the restorative effects of sleep are taking place. This means that less REM during your sleep will make you feel more tired the next day.
Make your bedroom a dark place
Artificial Light has been proven to stimulate the brain like natural light does in a number of ways. When it comes to your sleep it’s important to note that the amount of light you are exposed to will change when your brain is going to start it’s sleep cycle. That means if you want to go to sleep more easily at bedtime reducing the amount and intensity of light earlier will help you.
Turn off the tablets, smart phones, and computers.
Many of our electronics use technology that is “short-wavelength-enriched”. This light has high concentrations of blue light. Studies have found that blue light affects the amount of melatonin the brain will produce. Even if your room is dark, the light from your device will reduce the melatonin your brain produces and in turn will make finding and staying asleep more difficult.
- Light at night linked to symptoms of depression in mice – Ohio State University
- External Factors that Influence Sleep – Harvard
- Q&A: Why Is Blue Light before Bedtime Bad for Sleep?
- Three Breathing Exercises
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