How to Fall Asleep
Sleeping does not always come naturally to us; knowing how to fall asleep can often be a luxury that many of us take for granted. Being greatly affected by physiological, psychological, internal and external factors, there are often a multitude of causes to sleep deprivation. Here are a few techniques to employ should you be finding it difficult to fall, and stay, asleep.
1- Day time activities
What you get up to in the day greatly affects your ability to get back to sleep again in the evening! First of all, avoid taking naps over the course of the day, but if you do need to rest your eyes, power nap for no more than 15minutes. A useful tip is to hold something in your hand and tell yourself not to drop it. Conscious of the object in your hand, you will always wake before sleeping too deeply.
It’s also good practice to be aware of your stress levels over the course of the day. Minimise stressful occurrence and take steps towards relaxation whilst at work (or similar) to ensure that you don’t arrive home in the evening with your mind feeling abused.
Exercise during the course of the day, but avoid exercising within 3 hours of going to bed as physical activity encourage your metabolism to fire and will make it harder to slow down your physical functions.
– Carbohydrates and dairy products are generally considered an aid for sleep. Be it due to the presence of the mythical tryptophans, or the learned psychological connections from childhood with these types of food stuffs before bed, milk and cookies style snacks may be a decent precursor to sleep. Avoid; large meals, drinks high in caffeine, foods high in proteins and spicy food before bed.
– Do not over stimulate your mind with TV or video games before sleep.
– Have a warm bath before bedtime to help you unwind and relax. Drops of camomile, lime flower and lovage oil can help, and aromatherapy and other scent solutions may aid relaxation
– Lowering the lighting in the run up to bed time can help start to disengage the senses and put you in the right mind set for sleep.
Investing in comfortable bedding is an absolute must. Memory foam mattresses can greatly aid sleeping and are relatively cheap. As for quilts, duvets, covers etc, be sure to have more than one thickness available to you as the temperature may change over the course of the night. Although some people are comfortable with nothing covering them in hotter climates, the simple feeling of having something draped over your skin has an inbuilt positive psychological association with infancy. If sleeping in a hot environment, a lightweight, silk sheet will allow you to remain cool whilst still give you the feeling of being covered. Similarly, some people may be comfortable in clothing whereas others prefer to sleep naked. If you feel like you need to be clothed, buy lightweight, not restrictive clothing to sleep in.
When you wake in the morning, make your bed as it will look more inviting when you get back into it in the evening.
I believe routine to be one of the easiest and healthiest steps towards ensuring a good night’s sleep. Aim for the same bed time every weeknight, and wake up the same time every weekday morning. Your mind and body will naturally begin to fall into this cycle and will begin to slow itself down in anticipation of a repeatable bed time. Also, establish a bedtime routine (lock the front door, then brush your teeth, then read a book in bed etc)
5- Nodding off
As for techniques for nodding off, here are a few useful ideas:
– Picture your ideal sleeping conditions.
– Read. Perhaps something educational may work better at bringing on sleep!
– Try audio techniques such as soothing sounds, or make a familiar bedtime playlist.
– Tense and then relax all of your muscles. Talk yourself through the process from the toes upwards. Performing a physical technique whilst becoming consciously aware of every part of your body can help align your mind with your body
– Consciously appreciate all of your senses and focus on them to help clear your mind off of the day’s troubles.
– Use breathing techniques through deep breathing to the count of ten. Feel the air intake into your body, and be aware of your whole body motion as you exhale.
– Engage in the same mental fantasy every night be it ‘what would you do if you won the lottery’, ‘what would your dream home be like’ etc.
– Be creative in thought; be it imagery, a story, or friendly little fluffy aliens dipping themselves in chocolate. This will discourage mundane worries from preventing you sleeping, and encourage lucid dreams.
Alongside mental fixations, disturbances are the bane of those suffering from sleep deprivation. Address external noise issues before you go to bed (noisy neighbours, noisy family members etc). If certain noises can’t be avoided, consider using a white noise machine to drown out the sound, or even the low level hum of a fan can be conducive to sleep (as well as keep you cool). Should further efforts be needed to shut out exterior noise, consider soundproofing or double glazing. Ear buds are also very useful.
If you wake in the middle of the night, a low level bedside light is kinder on the eyes and will avoid you being overly disturbed by bright light. Should you be bothered by repeatable thoughts, get out of bed and temporarily distract yourself or read a book
If you’re being disturbed by a fidgeting lover, address the issue with them and re-asses sleeping arrangements.
7- Medical advice
If you are routinely unable to fall asleep over a long period of time, you may be suffering from a sleeping disorder. If this is the case, try and avoid non-prescription remedies as they tend to have associated problems or side-effects. See your doctor as it may be that you’re suffering from bladder issues, pain, or general insomnia- all of which can be symptoms of underlying medical conditions.
Don’t fall asleep somewhere else in the house at bed time (the lounge for example). If you are feeling sleepy, go to bed before this happens.
If you are troubled by the day’s occurrences or tomorrow’s activities, try writing your thoughts down in a journal to help mentally shed these issues.
Masturbation or sex before bed helps promote sleep.