There’s nothing quite as awful as helplessly lying awake in the dark at night, feeling the hours pass by and having those sweet tendrils of sleep slip just out of your grasp. Next thing you know, your alarm is blaring in your ear and you’re forced to get up and face the day feeling drained and cranky.
Catching good quality Zs can sometimes evade even those of us who need them most, but the fact of the matter is that sleep and sleeping well is super important in regards to your overall health and happiness. A night or two of bad sleep is something that all of us face from time to time, but chronic episodes of insomnia or lack of sleep can start to really negatively affect your body and mind. The next time you find yourself falling into another cycle of sleepless nights counting sheep, try out these 11 little tricks to help out when your head hits the pillow.
1. Pull On Some Socks
If you’re not one to sleep with socked feet because of heat or sweat, it might be time to reconsider. In a study conducted by Swiss researchers, it was actually found that “shifting blood flow to your lower extremities cools down your body” which then works in effort with your natural melatonin levels to help you get to sleep.
2. Hide The Clock
You definitely aren’t getting your best sleep if you’re stressing out about how little time you have by checking the clock over and over. Turn it around to face the wall, cover it with a piece of clothing or put it in your nightstand drawer. That’s better, isn’t it?
3. Try To Stay Awake
Yes, this sounds counterintuitive but it actually could be one of your best bets. According to psychotherapist Julie Hirst, telling yourself over and over to stay awake you can create a sleep paradox that tricks your brain into a command to sleep. Soon after this, your eye muscles will start to tire and eventually you should be getting some shut eye.
4. Find Your Best Sleeping Position
Sleep positions are by no means a one-size-fits-all affair and how you’re trying to sleep could be why peaceful slumber evades you. There’s good and bad with many positions, so try out different ones to find what works best for you. For example, don’t sleep on your back if snoring is your issue but do sleep on your back if your spine is giving you pains.
5. Try the 4-7-8 Breathing Method
The 4-7-8 breathing technique was derived from yoga methods and is sure to help you reach peak relaxation. In just 60 seconds, the pattern of deep breathing moves more oxygen through your body and helps calm your parasympathetic nervous system.
6. Turn Off Your Phone
It’s always super tempting to browse through Facebook and Instagram before you try to drift off into dreamland but research shows that your favorite smart device can be bad for your rest. The blue light that electronics give off inhibit the release of the sleep hormone melatonin, so next time you reach for your phone before sleeping you might want to think twice.
7. Squeeze Your Muscles
Ever tried going to sleep when you’re all tensed up? It’s not exactly a good time. The key to loose, relaxed muscles is to get comfy and start gently squeezing and releasing all your muscles starting from your toes and working all the way up to your arms. Your body will thank you.
8. Align Your Spine
If you can’t seem to find a comfortable position, placing a pillow under or between your knees can aid in aligning your spine and allow it to assume its natural curve. Once your back is feeling good, you should be able to sleep more soundly.
9. Review Your Day in Reverse
Going over the mundane details of your day is the new counting sheep. Working your brain to remember the events of your schedule in a reverse manner clears your mind of excess thoughts that might keep your mind racing before you hit the pillow.
10. Make Your Room Cold
Being cozy and warm come bedtime is usually everyone’s goal, but it turns out that colder temperatures generally allow for the best sleep. Make a quick adjustment to your thermostat and aim for somewhere between 60 and 68 degrees as your best bet.
11. Wash Your Face
Dunking your face in a sink of cold water triggers what is known as the Mammalian Dive Reflex which lowers your blood pressure and your heart rate. Once your body starts to slow and calm down, it’s time to get the shut-eye you deserve.
Want to improve the quality of your sleep even more? Achieve your best slumber yet with sleep tracking wearable devices such as the Microsoft Band 2, the Bellabeat LEAF, or snag the Lumoid Sleep Tracking Kit to simultaneously try out a handful of the best devices on the market.