It is not a secret that sleeping well is important. However, for many people who lead stressful lives, falling asleep can be troublesome. Insomnia is becoming more common in mid-aged adults and knowing how to make yourself sleepy is consequently becoming an increasingly essential skill to have. We all know the usual “counting sheep” way but believe it or not, there are methods more sophisticated and effective than that. Check out the following list of our top 12 tips on that!
12 Original Tips to Make Yourself Sleepy
The Inhalation Technique
This is essentially a method from the oriental art of yoga. It is said that breathing through one nostril can reduce your blood pressure and have a calming effect. Sleep therapists have cited that lying on one side and breathing through the opposite nostril can induce sleep faster. For example, you could try lying on your left side and breathing through your right nostril only. Once your body has attained a state of equilibrium, sleep will come naturally.
Tight and Loose
Basically, you can’t sleep because your body is not relaxed. It is probably stressed out far beyond normal. The phrase “too tired to sleep” applies here. So what you can do is tighten your muscles momentarily. Curl your toes, tighten your belly area, chest, arms, thighs and calves. Go for each part one by one. Tauten the muscles and then relax them. This will get the blood flowing in them and help your body relax. Sleeping becomes a whole lot easier.
The 4-7-8 Method
This is a very nifty method especially for those who are nervous about an upcoming event like a math exam. Start by touching your tongue to the part of your mouth just above your front teeth and exhaling completely. Once done, breathe through the nose for 4 seconds. After that hold your breath for seven seconds. Finally, exhale completely from your mouth for 8 seconds. Repeating this twice should make sleeping as easy as it has always been.
The Pressure Points
On the lines of an ancient Chinese art of acupuncture which is thought to cure insomnia, this is a simple yet massively effective method. It requires finding the right sleep pressure points. Some well-known ones are the tip between eyebrows, right above your nose or the point just beneath the balls of your feet. Pressing them with your finger helps to get the pressure off your body, and you will get instantly relaxed.
Try to Stay Awake
This is a bit like reverse psychology. The human brain generally doesn’t like negatives. If you tell it not to do something, it will tend to do the opposite. In this sense, if you try to stay awake deliberately, your brain will process that negative and do the exact opposite i.e. make you sleepy. This has been proven by scientific research using two people, one of whom was told to sleep and the other told not to. No prizes for guessing who went to sleep faster!
No Late Night Electronics
Research studies have shown that the light emitted by the display of your mobile phone or your laptop has a serious effect on the melatonin cycle of your body. In case you are wondering, melatonin is the hormone that induces sleep. Staring at screens late at night messes with your sleep structure. The best way to getting proper rest is to switch off all electronic devices a good half hour before going to bed. No hormonal imbalance would mean good sleep and that’s exactly what you’re looking for!
Playback Your Day
Another way to know how to make yourself sleepy is by closing your eyes and playing back the day you went through. Try remembering the sensations you felt, the conversations you had, the events that occurred down to every detail. This will take the pressure off your mind and help you get in a relaxed state, one that is conducive to sleep.
The “Yogi” Way
A great technique used since ancient times in India for the art of Yoga was to meditate oneself into falling asleep. This would require you to lie completely still and get yourself relaxed. Start by switching attention from your fingertips slowly upwards through your shoulders and finally culminating at your torso. Repeat the same process with the bottom half of your body. This is coined as the “nidra” technique which literally translates to “sleep” in English.
Avoid Hot Baths
Okay, this might sound strange because people usually tell you to take a hot soak in the tub before heading to bed to help you fall asleep. But in order to do the latter, one needs to lower one’s body temperature and taking hot baths or showers isn’t going to help. If you do want to take a hot soak, make sure you are done with it a good two hours before bedtime so that your body has enough time to cool down.
Manage Ambient Sounds
If you have ever noticed, total silence is unnerving. It is a known fact that less sound helps one fall asleep but having no sound at all can have the opposite effect. In the absence of background noise, your brain starts to make up sounds inside your head to compensate, which keep you awake at night. The best way to get around this is by using a small room fan which will serve the double purpose of keeping the room cool and providing a soft ambient sound.
List Out Your Worries
It is always a good idea to write out the things that are worrying you before going to bed. This provides a good outlet for all the pent up stress caused by these thoughts and generally helps you relax better. A good way would be to always keep a pen and notebook beside your bed for that very purpose. This is essentially giving you a “worry time”, thus preventing your worries from creeping into your sleep time.
Simple, smart and effective. A great solution to how to make yourself sleepy is to use the right pillows. Apart from the head pillow, using one between your legs while sleeping on your side can be a great way to reduce muscular stress caused by these sleeping positions on the hip and spine. Using extra pillows helps provide a cushion for the arches of your body, and you will fall asleep faster!