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Are you having trouble drifting off into dreamland? If you’re having a bout of insomnia or experiencing a one-off episode, there are several tricks you can do to beat wakefulness.
The following recommendations are inexpensive and non-intrusive. These are mostly changes you can make with regard to your environment and lifestyle. Feel free to check out the ways enumerated in this article. But If you think you’re suffering from a more serious case, make sure to consult your healthcare provider.
1. Exercise During the Day
One way to fall asleep fast is to exercise during the day. A moderate morning workout pumps up more serotonin in your brain while lowering cortisol—the stress hormone—levels. It’s a natural alternative to sleep aids and has other health benefits. However, be careful about going overboard as intensive training is otherwise linked to poor sleep.
Is there an ideal duration for exercising? According to a National Sleep Foundation study, you need to get at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week to improve your sleep quality. If you do this regularly, you will also feel less sleepy during the day. That bit has an indirect boost to your snooze schedule as it lets you avoid drinking caffeine at random times of the day.
2. Alter Your Skin Temperature
Even without any explanation, it seems natural for people to assume that a cool place is conducive to sleep. But science points to the effects of skin temperature on the brain and how these initiate or impede sleep. For instance, blasting the air conditioner or taking a hot shower before bedtime lowers your skin temperature. In turn, this sends a signal to the brain that you are ready to sleep.
So go ahead and set your thermostat to 60–75°F or 15–23°C. You can settle for a temperature you are most comfortable with. Maybe it will help if you remember that your feet and hands grow warm even as your core body temperature drops while you sleep.
3. Try Aromatherapy
If you’ve run out of options, why not try a sweet trick to help you coast off to sleep?
Certain aromas can help you fall asleep fast by making you feel more relaxed. Lavender, vanilla, and yin-lang are found by a couple of studies to be the most effective. Further, these scents are shown to reduce depressive symptoms, including anxiety, which can prevent you from dozing off. Yuzu and a mixture of rose otto and lavender are also said to relieve negative emotional stress.
As you hit the sack tonight, create this mood-boosting effect by pouring a few drops of essential oils into your diffuser.
4. Take A Warm Shower
A warm bath or shower can speed up temperature changes in your body. The hot water raises your core body temperature. When you step out of the bathroom, the core body temperature starts to lower, sending your brain the signal that’s it’s time for you to sleep.
As mentioned earlier, the core body temperature drops when you’re sleeping. After a warm shower, your body starts cooling down fast. This situation mimics how your body works when you’re asleep. When your brain catches on, you will start to feel more and more sleepy.
5. Practice Yoga Nidra
Yoga Nidra is an ancient meditation style that promotes deep rest. While the practice itself aims to bring you to a state between sleep and consciousness, it is performed like a typical meditation session wherein you feel your body become more relaxed. Some beginners report about ending up asleep during a session. So you can try doing Yoga Nidra at night to replicate that effect.
You can access audio materials online to get you started. You may also need a yoga mat to lie down while holding a pose for 30 to 45 minutes.
6. Give Your Brain A Workout
There are several ways to give your brain a workout. For example, you can read a book on a subject that is not your cup of tea. Your brain performs hard to process new information. It becomes tired faster as it does, allowing you to drift off at some point.
Make sure, however, to grab a physical book. Reading ebooks is not recommended because the light emitted by electronics will keep you awake. Unfortunately, binge-watching TV shows on your gadget is also not an ideal way to achieve a rigorous mental workout. If you’re not too keen about reading, why not journal your thoughts and daily activities instead?
7. Think of Happy Thoughts
It seems Peter Pan was getting at something when he said: “Think of happy thoughts, and you will fly.” Just replace flying with sleeping.
If you’re tossing and turning in bed, visualize a place that makes you calm and happy. It can be based on a real place you’ve been to. This imagined place will stop your mind’s worry train on its tracks, which is what’s preventing you from falling asleep. While your brain is distracted, your body becomes more relaxed. After getting into a relaxed state, it will be easier for you to slip into a slumber.
If you are suffering from a sleep disorder, you can also refer to the article, What to Do When You Can’t Sleep. It will provide you with information on how to effectively deal with insomnia. And we can’t emphasize this enough, but make sure to talk to a medical or sleep professional if a lack of sleep is getting in the way of your daily living.
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