At some point or the other, we all struggle with our sleep. With our busy lives and stressful lifestyles, sleep evades us on many occasions and for various reasons. Having said that, it is not too difficult to catch some good sleep if you put in a little effort, form a routine and stick to it.
Here are some pointers to help you start nodding off.
Try to stay awake
When you tell your brain not to sleep, it does not process the negative as much as focussing on sleep. It does the opposite of what you’re commanding it to do. It’s called the sleep paradox. The more you tell yourself not to sleep, the faster you will fall asleep.
Condition your body to sleep
While you’re having a phase when you sleep easily, pick up a habit like stroking your head or rubbing your earlobe and do it every time you start dozing off. Eventually, your mind starts associating that action with sleep. When you’re having trouble sleeping, just repeat the action. It will help you go to sleep.
Work your muscles
When sleep eludes you, try clenching and unclenching different muscles of your body while lying in bed. For example, you could stretch out your toes, feeling the pressure on your calves. Hold the pose for a few seconds then release the pressure. You can feel the muscles in your legs relax as blood flows through them again. Now, move on to another body part and consider your legs already asleep. This way, you can train your body to sleep, part by part.
Have a warm cup of milk
Milk contains sleep-inducing amino acid, tryptophan which in turn, produces serotonin – serenity-boosting neurotransmitter. While the effect of warm milk on sleeping patterns is debatable, many people find the ritual of having a warm cup of milk before going to bed soothing. This calming effect helps in going to sleep.
Use your pillows wisely
Using pillows under your head is conventional, and not necessarily of any sleep-related benefit. However, if you keep a pillow under your knees when lying on your back, it improves your posture and gives better support to your spine, resulting in sound sleep. When sleeping on your side, you could place a pillow between your legs which reduces pressure on the spine and hip.
Find your happy place
Once in bed, think of the things or places you love, that bring you calm like the sound of waves or a waterfall, wind blowing through trees, green meadows, the feel of grass on your feet – anything that soothes your mind. Once you’re relaxed and comfortable, it only takes a few minutes before you drift off.
Create the right atmosphere
Follow a routine of shutting down half an hour before actually going to bed. Switch off the lights that you don’t need anymore. Use night lamps where necessary. You could do a breathing exercise which is good for falling asleep. After a few days of doing this religiously, your mind knows it’s time to sleep and you begin to drift off at the set time.
Treat your bed like a sacred place
You’re supposed to sleep on your bed and do nothing else. The sooner your mind makes this association the sooner you fall asleep after getting into your bed. If you’ve been in your bed a while and you’re not able to get any sleep, get up, go to a different room and do something relaxing like reading. Once you feel sleepy, get back into bed.
If you lie in your bed and roll your eyes upwards a few times, it can make you sleepy. It’s because we’re imitating the natural movement of our eyeballs when we’re asleep. This may trick our brain in thinking we are sleeping, triggering the release of melatonin – the chief sleep-inducing hormone.
Make your bedroom as quiet as possible. You could use a fan or light music or white noise that helps in drowning any noise from outside while creating a rhythmic sound similar to humming, sure to put you to sleep in a jiffy.
If you have any other tips that we might have missed on, please leave it in the comment box. Happy sleeping!