Are you one of those people who struggles to get to sleep at night?
Instead of drifting off and enjoying a well-deserved rest, do you lay there staring at the ceiling as your mind repetitively obsesses about what happened during the day?
You aren’t the only one having trouble going to sleep.
A recent survey found that 67% of UK adults suffer from disrupted sleep and 31% say they have insomnia.
To help you get to sleep more easily, this post will share several techniques that make getting to sleep easier.
Why getting enough sleep is essential
In the past couple of decades, researchers have discovered that sleep is much more important for human health than they had previously thought.
In addition to renewing your energy reserves, getting a good night’s sleep will:
- Reduce the risk of obesity
- Ensure your hormones are well balanced
- Help you make healthier eating choices
- Improve your mental health
- Reduce the risk of several chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease
So how do you ensure you get enough?
Here are 5 useful techniques:
#1 – Yoga
Yoga isn’t just a wonderful form of exercise.
It can also calm the mind, relax the body and make it easier to get to sleep.
A study published in 2014 found that regular yoga practice improved sleep latency and duration, sleep quality, and sleep efficiency.
The researchers also found that study participants had significant reductions in anxiety, stress, tension, and anger.
It’s very easy to incorporate yoga into your daily routine and as little as 15 minutes of yoga can improve your health.
There are even several yoga poses that are specifically designed to calm the mind and encourage relaxation — which is ideal for going to sleep.
To help you get started here are some yoga routines that encourage sleep:
- Yoga For Bedtime (Yoga With Adriene)
- Ultra Relaxing Bedtime Yoga (PsycheTruth)
- Wind Down Yoga (Yoga With Adriene)
- 6 Restorative Poses To Perform in Bed
- Yoga for better sleep
#2 – Meditation
Stress and anxiety are two of the most common reasons why people struggle to get to sleep.
Meditation can help by relieving both conditions, making it much easier to relax and get the rest that you need.
Meditation has been shown to improve sleep quality for even the most sleep deprived individuals.
One study found that insomniacs slept better, woke feeling more refreshed, and were less distressed about their insomnia after completing an 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program.
To get started, read this great guide on mindfulness meditation.
There are also several excellent guided meditations available on YouTube.
#3 – Have a cup of herbal tea
Having a cup of tea before bed is a fantastic way to relax and prepare the body for sleep. Drink herbal teas that contain one or more of the following ingredients:
For centuries, chamomile tea has been prescribed as a way to reduce anxiety, decrease inflammation and reduce insomnia symptoms.
The calming effects of chamomile are most likely caused by the presence of an antioxidant called apigenin.
This compound has been shown to bind to receptions in the brain that initiate sleep.
This beautiful aroma of lavender is aromatic and most people find it very relaxing.
Lavender has also been found to reduce insomnia when consumed as a tea.
A study performed in Taiwan found that women with insomnia experienced better sleep quality after consuming herbal tea with lavender in it each night.
Other studies have found that consuming lavender can decrease anxiety levels — which makes getting to sleep easier.
Lemon Balm is often used in aromatherapy to relieve stress and improve the quality of sleep.
Researchers have also found that consuming lemon balm can help to reduce insomnia symptoms by as much as 42% if consumed everyday.
The bark of the magnolia plant has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years as a way to relieve stress and abdominal discomfort.
Scientists have found that it also has a sedative effect that make it easier to get to sleep.
This sedative effect is caused by a compound called Honokiol. Honokiol engages the GABA receptors in the brain to induce sleepiness.
#4 – Use the “4-7-8” Breathing Method
This simple technique is surprisingly effective at helping people get to sleep.
It is a breathing pattern that helps to relax the nervous system.
It will promote calmness, reduce anxiety, and prepare the body for sleep.
To perform the 4-7-8 breathing method:
- Lay in a comfortable position in bed
- Place the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth
- As you exhale through your mouth, make a swoosh sound
- Close you mouth and inhale through your nose while counting to 4 in your head
- Hold your breath while counting 7 seconds in your head
- Exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds as you make that swoosh sound again
- Repeat the pattern at least three more times
#5 – Take a relaxing bath or shower
Several studies have shown that a soothing bath or shower helps older adults get to sleep.
There are a couple of reasons for this effect.
The first one is that a bath or shower can help your body cool down, which sends a signal to your brain that it is time to rest.
Another reason is that the act of taking a shower or bath is quite calming for the brain.
You will be getting away from potentially-stressful stimuli like the Internet or television, which makes it easier to relax and get ready for bed.
Thanks for reading 5 Ways To Wind Down For Bedtime And Sleep Better.
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