Insomnia is a major sleeping disorder across the world. As per the National Institutes of Health, nearly half of the adults in the United States are struggling with it. Struggling to fall asleep is a painful experience for most people, and it affects their activities and mental alertness during the daytime.
Good night rest helps you to recharge yourself with the energy required for the next day. Some medications or medical conditions may cause sleeplessness. But, prolonged sleeplessness is a severe health issue that severely impacts your body and mind in the long term.
Studies have explained that anxiety plays a significant role in not letting people fall asleep. While some people greatly manage the anxiety, others struggle with it. The best way to address this situation is treating the reason for the sleeplessness – anxiety in most cases.
Here is a number of simple tips you can work on and ensure quick sleep as soon as you fall on the bed.
Try to Stay Awake
It is a reverse psychological approach to handle the sleeplessness issue. When people could not fall asleep within the first 15 minutes or so, a level of sleep anxiety is developing in them. This anxiety blocks their further attempts to sleep. When you try to stay awake, you pacify this anxiety and offer a stable condition for your mind to sleep.
A University of Glasgow study showed that people who have sleep-onset insomniac issues fall asleep quickly when they attempt to stay awake by keeping their eyes open. Lisa Meltzer, a National Sleep Foundation scholar, confirms that sleep is an area where people fail as much as they work hard for it. Interestingly, this reverse psychological method would not give results in the long term.
Apply 4-7-8 Breathing Technique
A simple and easy breathing technique can help you to fall asleep without much struggle or anxiety issues. The technique generally produces quick results and may help you to fall asleep in less than a minute. The breathing technique has the following simple steps:
- Inhale slowly through your nose by counting up to four in your mind
- Hold the breath by counting up to seven
- Exhale slowly through the mouth by counting eight
- Repeat this breathing technique until you sleep
The breathing technique helps you to relax from the anxieties due to sleeplessness by adding more oxygen to your blood. It releases more carbon dioxide from your body and slows your heart rate.
Note that you might take more time to master this technique. Once mastered, you will derive more effective results and better manage stress and anxiety in your life. The technique is known to produce results similar to meditation.
Get up and Concentrate on some other Activities for 10 Minutes
People who cannot sleep within 15 minutes after falling on the bed develop sleep anxiety. Their intentional attempts to sleep worsens the situation. If you face such issues, you can follow a different strategy to tackle the situation.
If unable to sleep within 15 minutes, get up and get involved in an activity that needs your head and hand coordination. It can be coloring a book, solving a jigsaw puzzle, reading a short story. You can return to your bed after ten minutes with a relaxed mind for sleep.
You should avoid the options of watching digital screens including TV. The blue lights from those screens affect specific brain areas that administer circadian rhythm, which causes melatonin secretion. Melatonin is a sleep-inducing hormone.
According to Meltzer, the technique is a stimulus control strategy. She explains that every action creates stimulus in the body. It means that when people are lying down on the bed, their body should identify it as the time for sleep.
When you cannot sleep, and you wake up, you are explaining to your body that the bed is for sleep. You should avoid making your bed a place for watching TV, worrying, thinking, or anything other than sleeping or sex.
Create an Ideal Night Condition for Sleep
The increased use of smartphones and other digital devices have severely deteriorated the sleeping pattern in humans. The continued use of these devices gives your body a signal that you are still at work. Therefore, you should be specific to make your bedroom an electronics-free area.
If you cannot leave your mobile phone away, use a flip cover for the phone. It will help to cover the screen and avoid possible light distraction from the screen when any message or notification is received.
It is also essential to keep your bedroom dark while you sleep. Intense artificial lights in your bedroom will take your sleep away. It is always advisable to keep your bedroom completely dark to ensure a disturbance-free sleep. It means that you should remove or switch off night lights and use heavy curtains to block any outside light.
Similarly, noise is another pain area you should pay attention to. Try to eliminate all the sounds from your bedroom. There are instances you have to face sounds that you cannot control, like traffic sounds. In such cases, you can use a sound machine, or even ear-plugs to eliminate disturbing sounds and noises.
Pretend you are Dead Tired
Pretending as if you are dead tired is an excellent option to get quick results. The technique provides really fast results and helps a majority of people. You should be visualizing the physical impression of tiredness. It means that you have to visualize your arms are useless and heavy. You also imagine your mouth hung open and eyes droop.
You can also imagine that a heavy object is evenly pressing your body from the top in an attempt to push you into the bed. It is a great way to eliminate other thoughts entering your mind and relax from the anxiety of sleep. The mind and body connection will work resulting in a sound sleep.
While all the techniques mentioned in here work on a psychological level, what is also equally important is having a good quality mattress underneath with soft sheets and pillows. If the psychological tricks are failing, changing your mattress or even just the sheets can work wonders.
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