My aunt is an acupuncturist (yes, I’ve been impaled by her needles before – it’s not as bad as you’d think!). One Christmas, I explained to her my troubles with falling asleep. She told me that in her practice, she works with points of the body that open channels of energy and work wonders for certain problems we face, including insomnia. She began to massage the inside of my wrist, where my palm met my forearm (on the side of my pinky finger). That point on the body is somehow connected to heartrate, and massaging it makes people sleepy. I skeptically let her knead into my wrist for about 5 minutes, and after she was through, I knocked out on the couch for about 2 hours until I was woken up for dessert! To this day, I massage that point on my wrist to help me fall asleep!
2. 4-7-8 Breathing
Deep breathes, yeah, yeah we know! But wait! This breathing technique is a step up from the classic inhale and exhale! It’s been known to be significantly more effective to breathe in for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds. This breathing technique is so impactful because it leaves your heartrate with no choice but to slow down, making you drowsier and drowsier until you’re finally in la la land (not the movie, but the movie is pretty good…).
3. Tune it all out
There are plenty of methods for falling asleep, and a lot of them include some kind of sound or music. I was never a fan of listening to recorded rainfall or rainforest sounds, although I know it works for many people. Instead, I stumbled across a song that was crafted to reduce stress, and subsequently put people to sleep. The song Weightless by Marconi Union is so darn relaxing that people are advised to not listen to it while driving! What makes the 8 minute song so sleep-inducing is its pitch and rhythm that were designed alongside sound therapists. The song starts at 60 beats per minute and slows to 50 beats per minute by the end, bringing down heart rate as well. According to research done by Mindlab International, Weightless reduced 65% of participant’s overall anxiety, and is the most relaxing song in existence today.
4. Jot til you drop
We’ve all got a million things running through our heads. We’re constantly in go-go-go mode, so it can be hard to shut it off when we’re trying to get some shut eye! I’ve found that when I can’t fall asleep because my mind is racing, I knock out faster if I jot down my thoughts on paper. I keep a post-it pad and pen on my night table for this exact reason. That idea for a pitch that you just hazily thought of? Dock it! The one more thing you just remembered you have to add to your to-do list? Write it down! Freeing your mind of the tornado of thoughts that’s consuming it will get you snoozing in a snap!
5. Train your brain
It can be extremely tempting to use your bed as a couch to do work on, a table to eat on, and a place to just hang out. It’s so comfy, why not do everything there?! Using your bed for purposes other than sleeping can actually train your brain to stay awake while you’re in it … even when you’re finally trying to fall asleep! This is because your body learns to associate your bed with conscious activities, and therefore keeps your mind going when you’re in bed. Try and get into the habit of reserving your bed for sleeping only, and you’ll notice that you hit the hay much faster!
Aren’t you feeling relaxed already? Give these tips a try, and get the most out of your sleep! Sweet dreams!