Quick tip: Wake up and go to bed at the same time, each day. Practice yoga, meditation, and mindfulness exercise. Avoid looking at the clock when you’re trying to fall asleep. Don’t take naps during the day if you’re trying to fall asleep quicker at night. Be intentional about what you eat…and when.
Have you ever tried to get some Zzzs for a few hours after which you have to hit the road -- but for some reason, you find yourself trying so hard to fall asleep? Who hasn’t, right?
Sometimes, it’s so easy spending more time trying to fall asleep than actually falling asleep. And that’s because the very act of trying too hard can generate a circle of anxious, nerve-wracking energy that keeps our minds active and of course, wide awake.
Interestingly, if you can’t get your mind to power down and go to sleep, it’s really hard getting your body to. Fortunately, there are effective ways to shut down quickly at night.
Let’s take a quick look at 7 of them, shall we?
#1: The military method
Okay so, the United States Navy Pre-Flight school researched a way for pilots to fall asleep in 2 minutes…or less! Eventually, they discovered a method - and even though it took some practice for pilots to get it right - the good thing is it worked [even after taking coffee, and with gunfire noise in the background!]
How this works?
Step 1: Relax the muscles in your face, including tongue, jaw, and the muscles around the eyes
Step 2: Drop your shoulders as far down as they can go to release the tension, and then your upper and lower arm - one side at a time
Step 3: Exhale, while relaxing your chest
Step 4: Breathe out relaxing your chest, followed by your legs, starting with the thighs and working down
Step 5: Clear your mind for like 10 seconds by imagining a relaxing scene [e.g. imagine you’re lying on a canoe on a calm lake with nothing else but a clear blue sky above you]
Step 6: If you’re still awake by this time…try saying the words, “don’t think” over and over for 10 seconds
Step 7: Really? You should be asleep by now!
#2: Go to bed at the same time, every night
Study your daily routine and decide on a bedtime that is late enough for you to feel sleepy, and yet early enough for you to get the recommended 7 – 9 hours of sleep before the alarm screams. Stick to this schedule [even on weekends] and you’d be struggling to stay awake in no time.
#3: Turn off the electronics
Yeah, instead of feeling cool reading e-books from your IPad or playing that favorite game on your smartphone, opt for a printed book, puzzle or some other non-electronic activity before bed.
One study found that adults who used an e-reader had a harder time falling asleep compared to adults who read a printed book.
#4: Create a bedtime ritual for yourself
How? Before hitting the bed; stretch into yoga positions, take a warm bath, listen to soothing music, watch a relaxing romance movie [plus whatever else helps you calm down]. These bedtime rituals help ease the mind so your body can quickly get in sleep mode.
#5: Tell your mind to stay awake
Since trying too hard to sleep can lead to performance anxiety, causing you to stay awake instead -- why not trick your mind by telling it to stay awake so it can go rogue on you and go to sleep, leading to a win-win for all.
Research shows that people who practiced this technique – known as paradoxical intention – fell asleep faster than those who didn’t.
#6: Avoid clock-watching
Yeah, clock-watching [the ritual of repeatedly looking to see what time it is] is common especially with people living with insomnia. The very act can lead to anxiety and sleeplessness which can be very frustrating.
If you can’t stop yourself from looking at the clock when you’re trying so hard to fall asleep, perhaps you should include - removing wall clocks and gadgets from your bedroom - to your bedtime routine.
#7: Don’t take a nap during the day
Okay so, taking a nap at lunchtime [or any other time during the day] is the easiest way to stare at the wall, all night long.
Disagree? Well, one study showed that among 440 college students; those who reported taking 3 or more naps per week, who napped more than 2 hours at a go…had the poorest nighttime sleep quality.
OK guys, this is it...but before you go...
You can try our natural, Sleep-aid Trio: LUNA, LUNA kids or LUNA Melatonin-free to help you drift quickly into easy, restful sleep so you can wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go. Ready? Get it, right here.