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Losing sleep is something to take very seriously. With millions of people around the world suffering from some form of insomnia, the inability to drift off at the end of the day isn’t something anyone should have to deal with.
A lack of sleep can affect the body in a wide number of different ways. Side effects include problems with concentration and attention, poor cognitive function and even more serious issues such as dementia and increased risk of heart disease.
One of the biggest problems that non-sleepers have is that worrying about being unable to drift off actually makes them less likely to do so. As a result, we’ve put together this piece on some great ways to fall asleep quickly.
Take time to have a wind down
A common cause for the inability to feel tired at the end of the day is the sheer difficulty in transitioning between a full-speed, busy day and the need to suddenly be ‘off’. As a result, taking around an hour to genuinely wind down when you’re ready to go to bed is a really good idea. If you’re planning an early night, then settle down on your sofa or in a comfy armchair let your body relax. It can make the world of difference.
Have a warm bath or shower
Typically, a lowering in body temperature will help to induce a drowsy feeling as a result of your heart-rate, metabolism and digestion all slowing down. So, how can you quickly cool your body down? By heating it up first! Hop into a warmer than average shower or bath and, when you back out, your temperature will rapidly fall: especially if you ensure your bedroom is on the chillier side.
Block everything out
If you’re still struggling to get to sleep in an otherwise perfect environment, it might be worth getting a little help. Both sleep masks and earplugs will help to completely block out both noise and any light, letting your body focus on nothing but drifting off.
Focus on breathing rather than moving
One thing many struggling sleepers have in common is the fact that they constantly turn around and flip their bodies over in the hope of getting comfortable. As a result, they actually speed up their heart rate and are more likely to stay awake. The best way to combat this is to focus on breathing in the right way. Breathe in through your nose slowly, before exhaling just as slowly through your mouth. To keep the right pace, breathe in for a medium-ish count of four, then hold your breath for around seven seconds before exhaling for a count of eight. Do this over a few minutes and you’ll soon feel your body relaxing.
Don’t get into bed unless you’re ready to sleep!
Many people try to catch up on sleep by heading to bed for an early night. Now, this can be effective…but only if you’re already sleepy! In fact, science shows that the longer you spend in bed without being ready to sleep, the worse your night will be. Don’t head to bed unless you’re already falling asleep wherever you are: seven hours of proper sleep is much more effective than 10 hours spent in bed.
Alright, this might seem like somewhat contradictory advice, but trust us! If you get into bed and you’re genuinely wide awake, get up and do something else. Read a book, fold some laundry, have a warm bath or shower: just do anything that’s not trying to get to sleep. Whatever you do, though, make sure it’s relaxing: no video games or exciting TV!
Get rid of your clock or phone
Staring at the clock is an age old cliché in terms of not sleeping, but like most clichés it exists for a reason! If you constantly check the time then you’re only going to put more pressure on yourself to get to sleep, and so on. If you know you have a tendency to check your phone every half hour, put it on the other side of the room for a while. (It’ll mean you’re less likely to hit ‘sleep’ on your alarm in the morning, too).