3 Psychological Techniques That Will Help You Fall Asleep at Night
Experts agree that getting enough quality sleep every night is as important to one’s health as exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet.
However, sleep continues to elude a lot of people — especially adults — around the world. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed in a 2016 report that one in three adults in the United States does not get enough sleep on a regular basis. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommends that adults get at least 7 hours of sleep every night.
Many different factors affect sleep. Stress, caffeine intake, and sleep disorders can leave you tossing and turning in bed, wide awake until dawn.
There are different medications that you can take that may help you sleep at night. Natural substances such as CBD products and melatonin have been said to send people to dreamland. However, more studies are needed to prove efficacy.
Here are other techniques that you can try that might help you fall asleep faster.
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If your mind races with millions of thoughts as soon as your head hits the pillow, this might calm you down. Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the current moment without judgment. It is centered around slow and steady breathing, exploring the sensations in your body rather than thoughts and emotions.
It has been proven to offer health benefits, including reduced insomnia.
Mindfulness meditation is pretty easy to do. First, find an area in your house where you can sit comfortably and without distractions for a few minutes. Next, focus on your breathing. Slowly inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. During the exercise, notice what your body is feeling — both good and bad. Observe each part of you, starting from your feet and, slowly, do a scan of your body until you reach your head.
A guided meditation that lasts for about 5 minutes is a great place to start for first-timers. You can build up the time you spend meditating as you get used to the practice.
Focusing on your breathing stops your mind from stressing over problems and helps you relax.
The 4-7-8 technique, in particular, reduces anxiety to help people fall asleep. It involved inhaling for four seconds, holding the breath for seven seconds, and then exhaling for eight seconds.
The cycle should be done while sitting up or lying down. It should also be repeated four times. Beginners should not do it more than four times to prevent feeling lightheaded. Those who cannot hold their breath for seconds may adopt the shorter 2-3.5-4 technique (inhale for two seconds, hold the breath for three and a half seconds, and exhale for four seconds).
Your bed has become a battlefield for your thoughts and emotions. You need to go back to a place where you can feel at ease the most — mentally.
For guided imagery, lie on your bed in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and think of your childhood bedroom, for example, your grandmother’s house, or your favorite holiday. You can also tap into a scene or story that makes you feel calm.
The point of this exercise is to force your mind to let go of what is stressing you. So, when find yourself wandering out of the image in your head, acknowledge it and go back to your mental safe space.
Hopefully, these three techniques can help you fall asleep faster. However, in addition to following any of the techniques above, you should also quit drinking caffeinated beverages or fiddling with your smartphone before bed.