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In the United States, approximately 35.2% of all adults have reported regularly sleeping for less than seven hours per night. If this sounds like you, then you’re probably ready to no longer feel tired, irritable, or anxious throughout your day. Luckily, there are many techniques and tips to help you fall asleep, including the five below.
1. Don’t use your phone before bed
Your phone’s bright screen can prevent you from falling asleep faster. Cell phone screens emit a blue-tinged light that can delay or suppress the onset of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone naturally released in the evening. Consequently, looking at your phone before you go to bed can stimulate your body too much for good sleep. If you want to work toward getting a full eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, it’s a good idea not to use your phone before you rest.
2. Read a book
According to some studies, reading for six minutes before bed can make people significantly more relaxed. Doing so can help prevent anxious thoughts that could interfere with your sleep. Books that don’t elicit strong emotional responses are the best books to read right before you try to go to sleep. If you’re having trouble falling asleep due to stress, try reading a book for a few minutes.
3. Go to sleep at the same time every night
Many people have an irregular sleep schedule, and this habit can seem difficult to break. However, going to sleep at different times every night can interfere with your sleep quality because it can interrupt your body’s circadian rhythm. Deviating from your circadian rhythm can affect your behaviors, mental health, and physical health.
Your biological clock releases hormones to induce sleep or wakefulness and influences your circadian rhythm. Therefore, going to bed at the same time every night helps your body’s biological clock predict when to induce sleep. If you find yourself having difficulties falling and staying asleep, create a sleep schedule and do your best to stick to it.
4. Don’t do high-intensity workouts before bed
You might think that exercising can make you tired, but high-intensity workouts are best avoided before you go to sleep. Recent research has found that intense workouts at night can disrupt your sleep. However, if you do decide to exercise before you fall asleep, light-to-moderate workouts (perhaps a meditative yoga session) might help you fall asleep faster.
5. Use the 4-7-8 breathing technique
The 4-7-8 breathing technique is a special breathing exercise that can help to reduce anxiety. Some people who have difficulty sleeping use this technique right before they go to sleep. It requires breathing in through your nose for four seconds, holding your breath for seven seconds, and exhaling through your mouth for eight seconds. This all is best done while sitting in a comfortable position and placing the tip of the tongue right behind the top front teeth.
After four cycles of 4-7-8 breathing, you may feel relaxed enough to fall asleep. Some people have said that the 4-7-8 breathing method has helped them to fall asleep in just one minute.
Do you have any tips for falling asleep? Share them in the comments!