Do you feel wide awake each time you place your head on a pillow at night? You are not alone! Many people around the world suffer the same thing, as a matter of fact, about 60 million Americans report to having experience insomnia. That’s according to a research conducted by National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. What’s even worse is that, more than 40 million Americans experience long-term sleeping disorders.
Now we all know that missing sleep is not something we should ignore, as it has tons of negative consequences to our body. This includes problems in attention and concentration and increased risk of dementia and even heart disease.
People with serious sleeping disorders can seek sleep doctors for professional help. However, for people who experience insomnia from time to time, you can never go wrong in doing good habits. Here are some steps to start with.
1. Have a 60-minute wind-down
If you’ve been busy all day, it can be really hard to switch your mind and body ‘off’ and put yourself to sleep. Our mind can get clouded with things, thoughts and crazy ideas. Experts suggest that, giving your mind about 60 minutes to wind down from work (study, party, etc.) before you go to bed is a good way to trick your mind to rest.
2. Take a Warm Shower or Bath
A steamy shower will help you feel relaxed, and stepping out of the shower will cause your body temperature to drop fast. This sudden change in temperature triggers the ‘sleepy’ feeling, as your metabolic process slows down, along with your heart rate. This makes easier for both your body and brain to slow down as well.
3. Wear Your Trusted Pair of Socks
Wearing socks is also another trick to optimize your temperature for sleep. The idea is to have a good balance of warmer extremities and cooler core. Socks works by dilating your blood vessels, helping your blood flow better, which leads to better body temperature for sleeping. So go ahead, get your favorite pair of comfy socks and wear it with pride.
4. Do the 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise
Breathing exercises has long been used for relaxation and managing energy. The idea is to maximize the oxygen we breathe for better blood distribution throughout our body. The numbers 4-7-8 stands for seconds. To do the exercise, breathe four seconds (make sure you fill your chest and lungs as you inhale) with your nose, hold your breath for seven seconds, and then exhale with your mouth slowly for eight seconds. Concentrate on your breathing and find the best way to breathe. This exercise will change your breathing pattern, heart rate and blood pressure, which leads to sleepiness.
5. Get Into Bed Only When You Are Actually Sleepy
Many people don’t really know this, but seven to eight hours of sleep is far way better than nine to ten hours in bed. When you try to score more sleeping time by going to bed early, that’s when things can get tough for you to fall asleep. Your body doesn’t work that way.
6. Don’t Perform Calming Techniques at Night, Rather During the Day
Relaxation works the same with visualization, it can help both your body and mind unwind. However, the best time to practice these techniques is during the day, not at night. The key is to learn and hone the skill, to be able to do them even in difficult times and situations.
7. Find a New Spot or Space to Sleep Other than Your Bed
Lying in bed and letting your mind run in circles as you worry about not falling asleep won’t help. This feeling of frustration creates more stress. And when we feel stressed, our body pumps adrenaline to try to cope with the situation. Should you find yourself doing such thing, get up and try sleeping into another room. This will help your brain associate the bed with sleeping, and nothing more. Also, you can help yourself feel drowsy by drinking tea, doing crossword puzzles, knitting, folding your laundry and organizing your closet. Do anything that makes you feel relaxed.