I know how frustrating it is to have trouble falling asleep, particularly at night. Having less to no sleep at all can put your life at risk. I know you don’t want to do that but sometimes you just can’t figure out why you can’t fall asleep or what to do to help you feel drowsy. Below is a compilation of sleeping hacks that may encourage sleep:
1. Balance the room temperature
As we fall asleep, our body temperature gradually changes in such a way that the temperature of our hands and feet rise while our core temperature falls. We might find it harder to sleep in a room that is too warm compared to a room with cool temperature like below 20 degrees Celsius. Yet, this is a matter of individual preferences, so you need to see what works best for you by adjusting and balancing your room temperature.
A warm bath or shower might help as well as it relaxes your whole body while it sends signals to your brain that it’s time to sleep.
2. Use breathing techniques
There are various breathing techniques all over the internet that are believed to help people fall asleep faster. One example is the “4-7-8” method – inhale for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and completely exhale for 8 seconds. These breathing techniques promote relaxation to our nervous system making us fall asleep quickly. In fact, they are not only used for stimulating sleep but also during anxious times.
3. Make a concrete sleeping schedule and stick to it
This technique means simply setting a definite sleeping schedule. Basically, through this technique, you will have to completely change your body clock by deciding the exact time to sleep and wake up. You will have to educate your body to feel drowsy at night but alert during the day. Although you might find it challenging to adhere to this technique, once you get used to it, your body will thank you.
4. Body’s exposure to lightness and darkness
Our body has this thing called circadian rhythm – a regulatory system that cues the body to feel asleep or stay alert. Typically, our circadian rhythm tells us that when there’s light we should stay alert or if it’s dark we should feel drowsy. One study has shown that darkness promotes more secretion of melatonin which is a sleep-stimulating hormone.
That being said, in order to maintain this circadian rhythm, we should expose ourselves to light during the day or make our room dark at night (people working the graveyard shift may want to reverse it). By doing this, we will help our body to sustain its rhythm, helping us to fall asleep quickly.
5. Practice yoga and meditation
Stress highly affects our sleeping patterns, it makes it harder to fall asleep or wakes us up in the middle of the night. That being said, it’s very important to relax your mind and keep it stress-free as much as possible as it affects not just your sleep but also all the activities throughout the day.
You might want to consider meditating or doing some yoga techniques in order to release all the tensions and pressures within you. Meditation has been found to enhance the secretion of melatonin which will make us feel more relaxed, fall asleep, and wake up with an energized body.
6. Avoid napping during the day
Sometimes, it’s hard to fight that drowsy feeling during the day especially when we have less to no sleep at all during the night. However, allowing your body to indulge in sleep during the day will not help you later on. This will just reenergize your body and you may find it even harder to fall asleep at night. Additionally, this will only cultivate a special routine that your body will adhere to in the long run. As much as possible, avoid napping during the day and just go to bed early at night.
7. WHAT and WHEN you eat matters
I would highly recommend watching what you eat during the entire day as it may affect your sleep. Studies have shown that eating foods rich in carbs and fat can make you fall asleep faster than usual while caffeinated drinks can make you stay alert. Thus, eating your dinner 3-4 hours before bed allows your body to digest it properly and you should avoid caffeinated drinks 2-3 hours before sleeping time.
8. Consider listening to relaxing music
Many people find it easier to fall asleep while listening to soft and relaxing music. It significantly distracts your mind in a positive way by moving your focus onto the music itself instead of the problems or whatever is keeping you awake.
Music has been found to stimulate a deeper sleep, giving you a restful night and reenergized body the next morning. However, some people may prefer sleeping in a quiet room so you have to see which works best for you.
Physical activities have been considered beneficial especially for sleep by boosting serotonin production and lowering cortisol or the stress hormone. The key here is knowing your extent in exercising. It doesn’t have to be intense and hardcore, just a simple movement and stretches for at least 20 minutes per day is enough to help the brain in secreting vital hormones that help with sleep. *Note: Exercising in the morning has been found to be more effective than at night.
Comfort is very significant to sleep – mattresses, pillows, and beddings can affect your sleep quality. Choosing the appropriate and high-quality sleeping materials is crucial as they all impact your sleeping activity. You might feel the discomfort of a low-quality pillow and that can also cause a stiff neck. That is why it’s crucial to choose the right pillows.
Additionally, what you wear to bed is also crucial. Wear something that you’re comfortable in like clothes made of cotton or adjust depending on your mood and the night’s atmosphere – there are people who sleep naked so you might want to check if that will work for you too.
11. Put your gadgets away from the bed
There’s nothing more important than sleep (besides food, air, and other basic needs). It’s not a good idea to compromise your sleep for the sake of using gadgets, particularly social networking sites like Facebook and Instagram to name a few. We often think that scrolling on our Facebook’s newsfeed while lying in bed will soon make us fall asleep, but that is wrong. Doing that will only send signals to our brain to stay wide awake. Also, the bright light from our smartphones only messes up our body rhythm by sending signals to keep us awake.
Try to disconnect from the things that might keep you awake at night including smartphones, video games, television, etc. to make your sleeping free of distractions.
12. Best sleeping position for you
Maybe one of the reasons why you find it hard to sleep at night is a wrong sleeping position. This is a case to case basis so you have to experiment which position helps you to fall asleep faster. Additionally, once you lay on your bed, let go of all the pressures and tensions as doing this sends signals to the brain indicating that it’s bedtime.
13. Consider Aromatherapy
There are essential oils available on the market nowadays that can be used for aromatherapy. These oils are specially made to provide relaxation. Also, there are shops that allow their customers to make their own personalize scents in order to make their own scents that they would like to infuse in their bedroom.
14. Write a diary
Researches have shown that writing what happened every day actually promotes a good sleep. Just feel free to write everything but try to focus primarily on the positive things. This way, you will get that feeling of gratefulness and accomplishment which will encourage sleeping with a peace of mind.
15. Read something
Forcing yourself to sleep will not work. Instead, grab something that you can read such as book or magazine (refrain from using smartphones). Reading is an effective way to wind down before sleep as it eases not just your mind but your body as well since it helps to keep a relaxing position.
16. Paradoxical intention
Researchers have concluded that your chances of falling asleep are higher when you focus on staying awake instead of forcing yourself to sleep. This is because forcing yourself to sleep will only put stress and pressure on you, thus, making it harder to fall asleep since you’re unrelaxed and uncomfortable at that moment.
Try to stay awake and be more conscious as you lay on your bed. You will be surprised the next morning because you won’t be able to imagine how that worked on you.
17. Sleeping Pills
Nowadays, there are supplements that encourage sleep by boosting the hormones that promote sleep or some which calm the brain. Just make sure to follow the recommended dosage as irresponsible usage can put your life in danger.
Note that there is no guarantee that one or two of these sleeping hacks will be effective for you. This is not a “one size fits all” thing so it’s all up to you if you want to try any of them. Nevertheless, if none of these techniques helped, try consulting your doctor as chronic lack of sleep can put your life at risk since many vital body processes only take place while sleeping, making it crucial for our lives.