Sleep is difficult, especially in a world where people spend the majority of their time stressed and busy. However, not sleeping, besides making you more stressed and less efficient, is extremely bad for your overall health. If sleep doesn’t come easily to you, here are 7 scientifically-backed methods that you can use to lull yourself into dreamland as soon as you hit the bed.
- Force yourself to stay awake – here, reverse psychology comes into practice as it may help alleviate excessive sleep anxiety. There’s even research to back it up.
2. Get up and do something for about 10 minutes – if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep within 15 min or so, get up and do something that involves your head and hands, such as a coloring book or jigsaw puzzle. Do not crouch down in front of the TV or start scrolling your Instagram feed since blue light released from such screens has been shown to subdue melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone.
3. Put your clock away – when you toss and turn in bed, trying hard to fall asleep, with your eyes glued to the clock, that does nothing but bring more stress and thus deteriorate the quality of your sleep even further. Next time you are in such a situation, do yourself a favor and put away your bed clock.
4. Take a warm shower prior to bed – increasing the temperature of your body with a warm shower an hour before bed and then stepping into the cool air will lead your body temperature to fall considerably. Research shows that this quick decrease in temperature slows your metabolism down much quicker and readies your body for sleep. Plus, showers are pretty relaxing, so that can also help induce sleep.
5. Dunk your face in the extremely cold water for about 30 seconds – if you are distressed or anxious at bedtime, then immersing your face in cold water should do the trick. This is because when you are in a full-on state, your nervous system desperately requires to be reset in order to help you calm down. Exposing your face to cold water can lower your blood pressure and heart rate.
6. Warm your hands and feet – studies show that a warm bottle against your hands and/or feet as you lie down in bed can make a considerable difference in the rate at which you fall asleep. If you don’t have a bottle at hand then wearing socks or gloves to bed might help.
7. Cool down your room – your brain may prefer some warm extremities as you snooze, but it also does best in a cooler environment than what you are normally used to. As per Harvard’s sleep lab, the recommended thermostat setting is a little low – around 60 degrees, but you can go with whatever temperature makes you comfortable since everyone will have different preferences and body responses.