How to fall asleep in less than two min­utes

9 PM

Shepparton News - - PETS -

Ev­ery­one strug­gles with sleep at times. Com­mon chal­lenges in­clude difÅculty fall­ing asleep, wak­ing up pre­ma­turely, deal­ing with sleep dis­tur­bances and in­som­nia.

An es­ti­mated 68 per cent of peo­ple in the United States strug­gle with sleep at least once a week, while 27 per cent face sleep difÅcul­ties most nights.

How­ever, sleep is high on the list of ne­ces­si­ties in life; just a few days with­out it and we be­come sus­cep­ti­ble to cog­ni­tive im­pair­ment (in­clud­ing prob­lems con­cen­trat­ing, cre­at­ing mem­o­ries and mak­ing de­ci­sions), emo­tional dis­tur­bances, mi­cro-sleeps and dis­ori­en­ta­tion. In some cases of longer sleep de­pri­va­tion (three days and longer), peo­ple can even ex­pe­ri­ence hal­lu­ci­na­tions and ma­jor cog­ni­tive deÅc­its.

It’s clear that sleep is part of the foun­da­tion of a healthy life and op­ti­mum well­be­ing.

Let’s have a look at some sim­ple steps you can take to help your­self fall asleep faster (and stay asleep!).

3 PM

Try to avoid con­sum­ing caf­feine at least six hours prior to go­ing to bed. As a stim­u­lant, caf­feine blocks sleep-in­duc­ing chem­i­cals in the brain and in­creases the pro­duc­tion of adrenalin.

If you’re Ånd­ing it difÅcult to fall asleep at night, it may be worth tak­ing a look at whether you’re con­sum­ing food or drinks which con­tain caf­feine, such as choco­late, soft drink, tea and cof­fee-AEavoured sweets (like ice-cream). And be sure to avoid drink­ing cof­fee in the late af­ter­noon and evening.

7 PM

Eat a light and early din­ner. It can be more difÅcult to fall asleep when your body is busy di­gest­ing, so try to eat your din­ner at least two or three hours be­fore you go to bed. Aim to go to bed feel­ing satisÅed (not hun­gry), so eat a light snack if you need to.

Snacks which can also help pro­mote a good night’s sleep in­clude al­monds, cot­tage cheese with rasp­ber­ries, or a small ba­nana.

7.30 PM

Tidy up your bed­room so it’s clut­ter­free and clean. Mess can be dis­tract­ing and po­ten­tially stress-in­duc­ing, so it’s a great idea to keep your room as clut­ter­free as pos­si­ble. It can also be beneÅ­cial to clean reg­u­larly, so there’s no dust lin­ger­ing around which could trig­ger al­ler­gies.

You may like to pur­chase some in­door plants which help pu­rify the air, such as a bam­boo palm, snake plant and spi­der plant.

8 PM

Cool down your bed­room to a com­fort­able tem­per­a­ture. It may be help­ful to open a win­dow or turn on a fan to re­duce the tem­per­a­ture of your bed­room if it’s too warm.

At the same time, you can close your cur­tains, cover any lights in your bed­room (such as a dig­i­tal clock) and en­sure your bed is prop­erly made. A great way to help your­self fall asleep faster is to cre­ate a cool, com­fort­able and dark en­vi­ron­ment.

An­other sim­ple idea for cre­at­ing a com­fort­able sleep­ing en­vi­ron­ment is to in­vest in a sup­port­ive mat­tress and soft bed­ding. Your bed should be some­thing you look for­ward to climb­ing into at the end of each day.

Es­sen­tially, try to cre­ate a space that you can walk into and im­me­di­ately feel a sense of re­lax­ation, calm­ness and com­fort.

Min­imise your ex­po­sure to light as much as pos­si­ble. Light can in­AEuence the tim­ing of your in­ter­nal body clock be­cause the light-sen­si­tive cells in the retina of your eyes sig­nal to your body that it’s still day­time. When you are ex­posed to light at night, your body be­lieves that it’s still day­time and the sleep-in­duc­ing hor­mones are less likely to be re­leased.

9.30 PM

Light an aro­matic can­dle with a re­lax­ing fra­grance, such as laven­der, jas­mine or vanilla. Your ol­fac­tory sys­tem links up with the emo­tional cen­tre of your brain, so it can be help­ful to use smell as a tool to help you re­lax be­fore bed. Just be sure to blow out the can­dle be­fore you feel sleepy, or con­sider us­ing a laven­der pil­low spray or vanilla body mois­turiser in­stead.

10 PM

The 4–7–8 breath­ing tech­nique is a breath­ing ex­er­cise de­vel­oped by Dr An­drew Weil. Also known as the ‘re­lax­ing breath’ ex­er­cise, 4–7–8 breath­ing is a pow­er­ful way to de­crease stress and pro­mote re­lax­ation to help you fall asleep faster.

Fol­low the steps be­low to try this breath­ing tech­nique your­self:

• Empty your lungs and pre­pare to in­hale; • In­hale through your nose for the count of four; • Hold your breath for the count of seven; • ex­hale com­pletely through your mouth for the count of 8, mak­ing a whoosh­ing (or sigh­ing) sound; • Be­gin the breath­ing tech­nique again and re­peat un­til you’ve com­pleted four cy­cles. It’s also im­por­tant to keep your tongue placed on the tis­sue above your up­per front teeth for the en­tire ex­er­cise.

Even if it takes a lit­tle longer than two min­utes to fall asleep, know that you’ve done a great job to max­imise your chances of fall­ing asleep quickly. It’s nor­mal for peo­ple to take be­tween 10 and 20 min­utes to fall asleep, so give your­self some time and con­tinue with the breath­ing tech­nique in­ter­mit­tently to help you re­lax even more.

If you’re still strug­gling to fall asleep, it might help to take a break from try­ing to sleep and en­gage in a calm­ing ac­tiv­ity, like yin yoga.

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