Throwing, flipping and desperately counting sheep … insomnia is totally torturous and any form of sleep pressure is never fun. If left unchecked, it can damage our health, mood, productivity and quality of life in general.
Maybe you travel a lot, work shifts or have disordered sleep patterns. Maybe I'm a little stressed and have trouble getting disconnected at night. Whatever the case, up to 70 million Americans experience some form of sleep disorder, so it is likely that you can appreciate some additional zzz!
With modern schedules more crowded than ever, we know that you can not waste precious time tossing and turning before hitting the hay. So here are our best tips to switch to sleep mode faster than you can count up to 50 sheep!
Bring in the black
Darkness sends all kinds of signals to our brain that it's time to relax. On the other hand, bright lights keep our brain on in waking mode.
If you can not darken your room or if you need to keep your eye on different places, consider buying a good quality eye mask. They are light, portable and will help you melt into that soft dark darkness where a beautiful dream lies.
Just like bright lights distract us from falling asleep, noise is another important stimulus that keeps us from sleeping (and can be very irritating when you're tired!) Invest in soft headphones to sleep, these are padded, super comfortable and tend to do a better job of blocking the distracting sounds. Even better, play relaxing music, meditations or sounds of nature to make it calm down.
Try the trick 4-7-8
Initiated by Dr. Andrew Weil, breathing 4-7-8 is one of the simplest and most effective tools you can use to access instant calm. Simply inhale through the nose counting to 4, hold this breath gently for 7 counts and exhale slowly counting to 8.
This type of yogic breathing calms the mind and stimulates the release of chemicals to feel good in your brain. Since stress is one of the main causes of sleep disorders, relaxation is absolutely essential to help your mind relax.
Keep an essential oil kit
Aromatherapy has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for sleep. The essential oils of lavender, Roman chamomile, neroli, orange and petitgrain are powerful sleep aids.
Why? Aromatherapy works at the emotional, psychological and biochemical levels to induce calmness. The essential oils act directly on the brain and the central nervous system to release natural chemicals and endorphins to feel good. Our sense of smell is very powerful and also creates an "association" with drowsy calm if we use it constantly before nap time.
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Useful herbs to use On-The-Go
It is well known that a warm herbal chamomile tea will help us sleep. However, it is not always possible to make a cup in the middle of a restless night or when you are away from home.
Fortunately, many herbs that induce sleep are now available in the form of supplemental tablets. An herbal supplement containing chamomile, valerian, hops or passionflower will help most of us to sleep in silence in a short time, just keep in mind that some medications interact with these herbs and valerian, hops and passionflower are not Recommend for a prolonged and regular use.
Hang your worries in a worry tree
Many experts recommend writing down anxiety thoughts or a list of "things to do" before going to bed. However, if you need to sleep fast and are away from home, this may not be the solution for you.
Alternatively, visualize a beautiful old tree with deep roots and expansive foliage. Imagine yourself transferring your individual concerns from your mind to the strong and supporting branches of this tree. Know that this tree is protecting your problems and keeps you safe while you sleep.
Savor a sandwich to sleep
There is some evidence to suggest that a light snack containing low glycemic carbohydrates can help us sleep. The theory behind this is that such foods can help our brains produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that makes us feel happy and relaxed.
Therefore, you may want to try eating a small banana, a handful of cranberries, a healthy oatmeal cookie or a small slice of toasted sourdough bread before going to bed. However, the emphasis here is on eating a light snack: eating too much will exhaust your digestive system and actually interfere with your sleep quality.
Find your sleepy acupressure points
Acupressure has been used to remedy a wide range of health conditions. It's safe, totally natural and offers some easy applications that can be used anytime and anywhere to help you fall asleep.
There are two main acupressure points that can be pressed to help you fall asleep. First, find the small notch on the top of the nose and between the eyebrows. Apply light pressure with your fingers for one minute before sleeping. You can also press the sole of the foot, approximately one third of the tips of the fingers, to obtain a similar effect.
Catch yourself catastrophizing
Before going to sleep, we are usually alone with our thoughts. With the additional stress of being tired, it is easy for our minds to be immersed in spirals of worry that keep us awake.
Most of the time, these concerns are exaggerated. When we wake up or have to face our dreaded situation, 9 out of 10 times is not how important we think it was. Therefore, worrying about the night is mainly a massive waste of energy. But how do you escape from these seductive trains of thought and slip into the dream zone?
Try to notice the "catastrophic" worry thoughts and tell yourself "STOP". No no no. We are not going to deal with this right now. "When your brain begins another tangent, remind yourself gently but firmly that you are not in the right frame of mind to think clearly and we will treat these thoughts with a fresh mind in the morning." With regular reinforcement, your mind will start listening!
Use all your senses
Visualization exercises are a powerful way to relax, but how difficult can it be to make your mind remain present and focused while you do it?
Instead of simply "seeing" a relaxing visualization in your mind's eye, try to recruit all your senses to imagine a relaxing scene unfolding. How does this scene really feel? Smells like? Experts say that the recruitment of all the senses will guide you more deeply in the visualizations.
Now that we've shared our tips for getting back to sleep quickly, keep up the conversation and share your secrets for a quick and happy sleep too!
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