Fall asleep in 5 MINUTES
Tossing and turning come lights out? Try these simple and effective tricks at bedtime
Feeling tired right now? You’re in fine company. Recent research by the Sleep Health Foundation found between 33 and 45 per cent of Aussies have poor sleep patterns. Night after night of sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on our bodies.
‘In addition to the sleep you need every night, lost sleep will accumulate, causing you to need to sleep even more to make up for any hours previously missed,’ says Dr Sujay Kansagra, professor at Duke University’s sleep medicine program.
Try these easy tips to help you fall asleep quickly and soundly for a good night’s rest...
VISUALISE YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE Forget counting backwards from 100, try to picture a place where you feel calm and relaxed – it could be on the beach or out in the countryside. The idea is to distract yourself from any stresses of the day. In an Oxford University study, insomniacs who imagined a relaxing scene fell asleep 20 minutes faster.
INHALE THROUGH YOUR LEFT NOSTRIL The yoga method of breathing through one nostril is well known to be meditative during class – time to bring it into the bedroom.
‘Lie on your left side, resting a finger on your right nostril to close it. Start slow, deep breathing in the left nostril,’ says holistic sleep therapist and author of Sleep Better With Natural Therapies, Peter Smith. Five minutes later, you may well be sound asleep.
CONTROL BINGE TV WATCHING Can’t stop streaming your new favourite series? There’s evidence to show that hour after hour of binge-watching TV can affect sleep. Recent research from the University of Michigan found that higher binge-viewing frequency was associated with a poorer sleep quality, increased fatigue, and more symptoms of insomnia, while regular television viewing was not. Take binge-watching out of the bedroom and stop at least an hour before sleep.
TAKE TIME TO REFLECT ON YOUR DAY According to Sammy Margo, author of The Good Sleep Guide (thegoodsleepexpert.com), remembering every detail – no matter how mundane – of your day in reverse order clears your mind of worries. ‘Recall conversations, sights and sounds as you go. It helps you to reach a mental state that’s ready for sleep,’ she says.
TRY TO STAY AWAKE It’s the old reverse psychology trick. Research conducted on two groups of insomniacs at the University of Glasgow found that tricking your mind to think the opposite actually helps you to fall asleep.
While one group was left to their own devices, the other was told to stay awake for as long as possible but banned from moving around or watching TV. And, you guessed it, it was the latter that fell asleep the fastest. COOL IT With summer coming, it’s important to be aware of the temperature in your boudoir. A study from the University of South Australia found that the body temperature has a vital role in the onset of sleep.
‘Studies of sleep-onset insomniacs show that they consistently have a warmer core body temperature immediately before initiating sleep, when compared with normal, healthy adults,’ says research fellow Dr Cameron van den Heuvel.
By keeping your bedroom temperature low, at around 18C, you can force your body to do less work cooling down, which will help you fall asleep faster.