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Can’t sleep? Here are 4 techniques experts swear by to fall asleep

When you can’t sleep at night and insomnia kicks in, the worst thing you can do is overthink it. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happens as your mind starts to race, and you start counting down how many hours you have left before you need to be up again.

CAN’T SLEEP? HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO

According to the NY Times, even if you regularly suffer from lack of sleep or have the occasional sleepless night, these are the four best ways to ward off anxiety and get you to sleep in no time.

1. ‘SCAN YOUR BODY’

4 tips to help if you can’t sleep. Image: Canva

There are countless practices that experts say will ward off insomnia – but one that they all swear by is called ‘scan your body.’ It’s a simple technique that this author can vouch for (if done correctly). Lie flat on your back, close your eyes and starting from the top of your head … ‘scan’ every part of your body. This is a form of mindfulness meditation as you consider each body part.

ALSO READ: Help kids get better sleep after holiday disruptions

You calmly and methodically take in the sensations of each part of your body, from head to toe. First your head, ears, jaw, neck, etc. Move all way the down, scanning your body and then relaxing. Don’t rush it either, take between 10 to 20 seconds with each ‘scan’ until you’re happy that particular area is 100% relaxed. By the end I guarantee you’ll feel sleepy.

2. HAVE WARM FEET

can't sleep
If you can’t sleep, try wearing socks in bed. Picture: File.

My wife argues the opposite, she says that wearing socks makes her too warm and she can’t sleep. Either way, if you don’t wear socks in bed, at least give it a try. It may be the thing that finally gets you to sleep. Studies suggest that sleeping with socks on helps people fall asleep faster. When your skin is warm (which is to say not cold or too hot) your body’s temperature sensors signal to the brain that it is okay to fall asleep.

3. HUG SOMETHING

can't sleep
Try these four techniques to get good quality sleep. Image by pexels

Who doesn’t need a hug? If you’re in bed, your mind is racing and you’re getting anxious about lack of sleep, often the perfect antidote can be a hug. Ideally, some contact from your loved one or a pet. But if you don’t want to wake your significant other, it’s a good idea to lie on your side and hug a pillow or similar. Studies have shown that a huggable device decreases cortisol levels (the stress hormone) markedly.

4. ‘DON’T THINK’

can't sleep
A soldier sleeping in a war zone. Picture: File.

Finally, this is technique employed by American soldiers in the military. That’s right, soldiers are trained in high-level sleeping techniques so they can get shuteye under any circumstances in a war zone. Believe it or not, their number one tool, after ‘scanning the body’, is called ‘don’t think’.

ALSO READ: Tools and apps to help improve quality sleep

Essentially, it’s another form of mindfulness meditation aimed at calming a racing mind. Try it for yourself the next time you can’t sleep. All you need to do is repeat to yourself ‘don’t think, don’t think,’ and with enough practice you’ll ward off all those sleepless thoughts popping into your head unannounced.

It doesn’t need to be those exact words, mind you. I find the words, ‘Be here,’ or ‘be present’ do an equally good job of warding off thoughts when I can’t sleep.

Do you have any helpful tips you swear by when you can’t sleep? If so, you can share in the comments below.

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