Lying in bed trying to get to sleep is a drag. The worst thing is that it is generally counter-productive. The more you try to get to sleep the harder it is to actually get to sleep! You become more stressed, you start thinking about all the things you have to do in the morning and you angst over how exhausted you are going to be now that you cannot get to sleep.
While it is too glib and unhelpful to simply tell people that they should just chill out, relax and they will get to sleep quicker, unfortunately that is the truth. The less you stress, the more you zone out, the faster you will go to sleep.
We are not going to tell you just to chill out, we are going to give you 5 helpful rules that will aid you in your quest to nod off faster. Here goes:
Make sure you have a daily routine. This cannot be stressed enough. The body craves routine and if you stick to a daily schedule you will find that you are able to fall asleep quicker. This means going to bed around the same time each night and getting up around the same time. The body clock is in control of regulating your waking and sleeping cycle and if you work with it it will work for you.
Avoid light. We are very sensitive to light at night. The body clock uses light to synchronise with the outside world and even a small amount of light can play havoc with this. Many experts believe that the rise of smart phones and tablets and their use in bed are creating a new sleep crisis, but even old LED alarm clocks are problematic. Keep your room dark and you will fall asleep faster.
Breathe deeply. You can use deep breathing to help you relax and zone out. Focusing on your breathing is a good way of calming yourself, it is a meditational practice that is able to slow your heart down and help you to forget about any stresses. Try to breath as deeply, regularly and slowly as you can, hone your mind in on the breathes, try to forget about everything else. By concentrating on your breathing you can put yourself in the right state for falling asleep.
Relax your body. You can do this with the breathing. Start at your toes and clench and relax them, then move up the body, progressively clenching and relaxing all of your muscles. Just as focusing on breathing helps, this will too. It is an excellent way of blocking out all the other issues in your life.
Count sheep. Ok, maybe not sheep, but a mindless activity can really help. One good one is to count backward in 3s, so start at a 1000 and move back, 997, 994, 991 and so on. This takes your mind off the process of going to sleep and is just challenging enough to keep the brain busy without overtaxing it.
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