You hit the sack after a long day of juggling family, work and social obligations and are ready to drift off into dreamland. Fast-forward one hour later, you’ve counted all the sheep you can count but you’re still awake. Sound familiar? You’re not alone! Everyone suffers from nights of tossing and turning. In addition to being frustrating, a lack of sleep can take its toll on your physical and emotional well-being. Fortunately, there are 5 tips you can try to help you fall asleep faster so you can get the recommended restorative sleep so many experts urge all of us to get.
Chill Out According to research conducted by the University of South Australia, the body’s core temperature needs to drop in order for sleep to naturally initiate. Typically, about an hour or two before falling asleep, your core temperature drops leading to a feeling of tiredness. For many suffering from insomnia, their core body temperature is still on the warmer side when they hop into bed. You can help by setting your thermostat to around 65 degrees or lower. If night sweats or menopausal hot flashes make you feel overheated, then try temperature-regulating bedding, including cooling sheets, pillow cases and mattress pads. Also wear moisture-wicking, breathable sleepwear.
Clear Your Mind Sometimes it’s the replaying of the day’s events or worrying about all you have to get done the next day that keeps you up at night. Instead of thinking over the day’s events as you lie in bed, take some time an hour before to journal your thoughts on the pros and cons of the day and writing down an action plan for remedying any problems. Make a list of what you need to tackle tomorrow and then set it aside and forget about it for the rest of the night. Cut the Caffeine Did you know that the caffeine in one serving of your favorite coffee, tea or energy drink takes about 4 to 6 hours to wear off? In addition to boosting your adrenaline production, caffeine has been known to block sleep-inducing chemicals in the brain. If you have trouble falling asleep, it’s best to stop the caffeine intake by 2pm.
Power Off Devices The brightness of daylight plays a big role in setting our circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycle) alerting our body to stay awake when the sun is up and asleep when it’s dark. If you take your electronic devices to bed with you, the bright, blue lights in many of the screens can interfere with your ability to fall asleep by sending the wrong message that it’s time to wake up.
Release the Tension As you lie in bed, get rid of the stress and tightness in your body by squeezing each area of your body — starting with your toes — as tightly as you can, then relaxing them completely. Continue up your body, tensing and relaxing your calves, your hands, your arms, shoulders and so forth.