If you’re an insomniac, then you’ll know how irritating it can be to lie awake at night with no prospects of falling asleep, even when you’re exhausted. You’ve probably tried counting sheep, listening to soft classical music or reading right before bed - but still, no luck. It’s even worse when you’re dozing off at your desk at work the next day and wondering why your body picks the worst times to sleep.
Use the following tips to try finally get some much-needed rest!
If you’re someone who prefers a super warm bedroom, it might be time to turn down your heat at night. It seems counter-intuitive to sleep in a cool room, but science suggests that it’s actually better for your sleep cycle. Your body temperature drops when you sleep, meaning that cooler temperatures can help to speed that process along. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that you keep your room temperature between 60 and 67 degrees at night for optimal sleeping conditions.
Wait a minute, how can taking a hot shower help to cool your body temperature before bed…? It sounds counter-productive, but taking a hot shower about an hour before bed will warm you up, but then once you get out of the shower your body temperature makes a sharp drop. Not to mention, hot showers are extremely relaxing, which can also help you fall asleep. If you’re going to use this method, it’s best to shower at the same time every night to try and make a habit out of it.
Your pillow could actually be causing you to have trouble sleeping, as it turns out. Sleeping on the wrong pillow could be cause for chronic pain and discomfort. It’s best to try to keep your neck in a straight line, so you may need to invest in a proper neck pillow. You can also try sleeping with a pillow in between your knees, which keeps your hips aligned and in a neutral position.
While this sounds pretty horrible, it can be helpful for those who suffer from insomnia that’s caused by anxiety. Submerging your face in a bowl of ice-cold water for 30 seconds can help to reset your nervous system. The action triggers a phenomenon called the Mammalian Dive Reflex, which lowers heart rate and blood pressure so you can feel a bit more calm before bed.
This one may also seem contradictory to cooling your body temperature, but the trick is to cool your core while keeping your extremities warm. Wearing socks dilates your blood vessels, helping your blood flow. In turn, this leads to a more optimal temperature for you to fall asleep.
Instead of going to bed at 11pm just because you’re “supposed to,” try not getting in bed until you actually feel sleepy. If you aren’t tired when you get into bed, lying there won’t make your body feel more tired. Additionally, your quality of sleep could actually be worse if you spend time just lying in bed awake.
Breathing patterns can be a huge factor in getting to sleep, and the right breathing pattern will help to slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure. This particular method claims to help you fall asleep in under a minute. You inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and then exhale for eight seconds.
The scent of lavender really does help to relax you. It can lower blood pressure and calm your nerves, according to science. A study conducted in 2005 found that subjects who sniffed lavender oil before going to bed felt more refreshed in the morning and reported having deeper sleep than those who didn't.
Indulging in a bit of cannabis before bed can be a great sleep aid. The trick is not to get completely stoned out of your mind - it’s to get just the right amount so that your body feels relaxed and your mind isn’t racing.
Disclaimer: We’re not encouraging underage use or use in places where it’s illegal. Yada yada, you get the picture.
Research has found that staring at electronic screens can make it harder to fall asleep because the blue light suppresses melatonin. Your best bet is to turn off all electronics about an hour before bed to help you unwind. Yup, that means putting away your smartphone too…
This sounds weird, but it proves that reverse-psychology is a powerful tool. A study conducted at the University of Glasgow had one group of participants try to fall asleep regularly, and the had the others keep their eyes open while trying to stay awake. Interestingly, the latter group fell asleep more quickly than the former.
Anxious people with bedtime racing thoughts will definitely benefit from this one. Instead of lying in bed thinking about everything that’s stressing you out, write about it in a journal. Obviously, writing about your problems isn’t going to solve them, but it will help you to express some of your negative thoughts in a healthy manner.
When you suffer from insomnia, it’s likely that you check your bedside clock every so often to see how much time has passed. Instead, put your clock away where you can’t see it; checking it too often when you’re having trouble sleeping just increases your anxiety about not being able to fall asleep.
Eating too soon before bed can be detrimental to your sleep because it doesn’t give your stomach enough time to digest the foods. Instead, eat dinner at least four hours before you go to bed. Additionally, nutrients you can consume that may help you sleep include potassium, carbohydrates, magnesium, vitamin D and selenium.