Counting sheep, hot cocoa and a warm bath don’t do the trick for many of us who find it difficult to fall asleep. Here is a list of some tried and tested hacks that are very likely to get you to your Z’s.
Breathe through the left nostril
This breathing exercise comes from yoga and its aim is blood pressure reduction and calming down. Lie on your left side and close your right nostril with your right hand. You should draw deep breaths through your left nostril. Besides being good for relaxing, this technique is efficient when you overheat and for women with menopause.
Work the muscles
Relaxed muscles should have you fall asleep quicker. Squeezing them and then releasing will serve as a small exercise and relaxation. Lie on your back, breathe slowly and deeply through your nose into your stomach and simultaneously bend your toes as of you want to curl them under and release the squeeze as you exhale.
Next, repeat the procedure but now bend your whole feet toward the knee. You should go on, or up, repeating this for every group pf muscles: calves, thighs, bottom, belly, chest and arms.
In the end, your breath should be deep and steady and you should feel ready to doze off.
Try the opposite
There’s something called the sleep paradox, which says that the more you try to stay awake, the more your brain will want to head to sleep. So, while keeping your eyes wide open, say to yourself over and over again “I will not fall asleep.” The thing is our brains are not very good with processing negatives, so it will see this as a command to go to sleep. It’s the same when someone tells you: Don’t think of a great purple elephant. What do you imagine?
Go back through your day
Rewind the day in your mind focusing on conversations and what you saw or heard. Try doing this backwards, instead of the way it happened. Your mind should grow tired and mellow, making it easier for you to fall asleep.
Roll your eyes
With your eyes closed, roll your eyeballs three times or more. This imitates what naturally happens during sleep and so, it may spark the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.
It’s common knowledge that visualizing our happy place helps us relax and calm down. The addition would be that you should try to activate at least three senses while you imagine. For example, if you’re visualizing a tropical beach, imagine the feel of warm sand beneath you, the sound of waves lapping and the salty smell of the sea.
This is another yogic breathing exercise. You should be in a sitting position for this one. Closing the eyes, make sure you relax your shoulders and let them drop slightly and also relax your lower jaw. Your lips should be closed.
Inhale through the nose slowly and deeply. Make sure you breathe into your stomach – so, your belly should act as a balloon filling with air as you breathe in, and it should retreat toward your spine as you breathe out. Your chest shouldn’t move.
So, you inhale through the nose, but you exhale through the mouth, with you jaw dropped and the lips closed. This will create a humming sound and it will vibrate in the chest. Focus on that sensation. Try to keep the humming steady until you fully exhale. Repeat for at least six times and then suggest yourself you’re ready for bed.
According to ancient Chinese medicine, pressing certain spots on our body gently and firmly stimulates internal organs and triggers processes. As you’re lying in your bed, put your thumb between your eyebrows and move down just a little until you hit an indent between the bridge of your nose and your forehead.
Breathe 4 – 7 – 8
This technique was recently put forward by Dr. Andrew Well of Harvard University, you who explores holistic breathing. His technique says you should inhale to the count of 4, hold it to the count of 7 and exhale it to the count of 8. An important note is that you should curl the tip of your tongue and press the back of it against the ridge above your upper front teeth. This will make sure your throat is open and your breath is fuller. Repeat the exercise for 3 times at least.