Tossing and turning in bed all night? I know the feeling.
You’re really tired, but your brain is still up. You get scared that you might not fall asleep.
In the morning, it’s hard to function, right?
You find it hard to focus on anything. You feel light-headed and restless. And you feel cranky too.
This is because good sleep is as essential as healthy diet and exercise.
So, here are scientifically (and personally tested) ways to get better sleep at night.
Kindly note that this is for informational purposes only and MUST not be substituted with medical advice. If you have chronic insomnia, don’t hesitate to talk about it with your personal physician. All trademarks and trade dress are recognized in this post.
Get under the sun
The bright light from the sun tells our brain it’s morning and keeps our normal circadian (sleep-wake) rhythm in order.
Here’s some research about it:
- 2 hours of sunlight helped people with insomnia get 2 more hours of sleep.
- Half hour of direct morning sunlight (6:30 to 8 AM) improves sleep
- Office workers who got more sun from 8 to 5 pm have fewer sleep disturbances and felt less depressed.
At home, my family and I got into the habit of being under the morning sun. We usually run or walk together on our rooftop.
It not only helps us sleep better but have that time together before a busy day.
Avoid screen time in the evening
The blue light from your laptop and cellphones confuses the brain into thinking it is still daytime.
Experts advise avoiding using gadgets an hour or two before going to bed. This gives our brain the time to transition from being awake to feeling sleepy.
Personally, I try to limit my gadget use when it’s already late afternoon. We usually have some downtime with our daughter — doing her homework, going for a walk, and other activities.
However, if you really need to use your electronic gadgets, maybe a blue screen filter can help.
For Android phones, a free app called Twilight helps to reduce blue light emission. On the other hand, Apple IOS users can turn on their Night Shift.
Try 4-7-8 Breathing Technique
I think this is a must try for anyone who desperately wants to get some sleep. It was developed by Dr. Andrew Weil, a Harvard doctor who practices holistic medicine.
It is also called ” Relaxing Breath”. You could supposedly fall asleep in just a minute.
- Exhale completely through your mouth. Try making a whoosh sound.
- Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose while counting until four (4).
- Hold your breath for seven (7) counts.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound while mentally counting until eight (8).
- This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle til you find yourself yawning.
When I’m yawning, I tell myself I’m sleepy, and somehow my brain follows.
Use a Memo
Sometimes your mind might be too hyped up for tomorrow. Or you’re worried about the tasks ahead.
You can try writing a to-do list before going to bed.
Actually, a study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found out that people were able to sleep faster when they wrote a very detailed list of things they want to accomplish the next day 5 minutes before hitting the sack.
Set 30 to 60 minutes Before Bed to Relax
You need to tell your mind and body that it’s time for bed by doing a calming activity like reading, listening to music, writing in your gratitude journal or even taking a warm shower. You also need to avoid bright lights.
I personally listen to instrumental piano music. You might like to try ambient noise too.
At home, we often dim the lights to yellow at 7:30 pm to condition ourselves ( especially our little toddler) that it’s going to be bedtime soon. Sometimes, I would even join my daughter in putting colors on her coloring book.
How about you? What do you do when it’s hard to fall asleep at night?
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