IO – We are living in a very busy city with hectic schedules. Many times, this keeps us wide awake at 3 a.m., either we are still working at the office or at home or our heads just can’t stop thinking about things. Have you ever wanted to desperately go to bed but you somehow cannot fall asleep easily? Instead of looking for sleeping oils, try these five strategies to help you fall asleep fast.
- Relax your mind by stopping yourself to fall asleep fast. I know, this may sound very counterintuitive, but sometimes trying too hard to do something is the very thing that prevents us from achieving it. When it comes to falling asleep, that is never a mere case of desperately wanting to sleep, as it will not only stoke anxieties that will further stress your brain, but also essentially feeding it the message that it is not safe to sleep. You might want to throw in those worries about your to-do list from work, housework, or personal issues on the following day to prevent you from having a panic attack. Letting go of that feeling that you actually “must” sleep now and observe your own anxieties for what they are, which is basic mental activity and do not be judgmental about it. When you stop looking at sleep as a goal, you will find it easier to fall asleep.
- Stay away from your phone, instead, pick up a pen and paper to start a journal. It helps you to fall asleep fast; by scribbling down an account of what is going on inside your head. Although there is never the “right” way to write a journal, you might want to start by listing the events of your day, and from there, how those events and encounters made you feel. Building this structured picture of your thoughts may help you see that the problem that is keeping you up all night is less overwhelming than you might have thought. Why I said about the pen and paper? I found an article about “The Benefits of Cursive Go Beyond Writing” by a Beverly Hills USDC therapist named Suzanne Asherson, her studies show the simple motor action that is involved in the act of handwriting has a calming effect. Besides, the light emitted by laptops and phones is not conducive to falling asleep.
- Read or listen to something new. Remember some of us would fall asleep when we were kids because our parents or caretakers read us bedtime stories or sang us a lullaby? Yes. When you need to fall asleep fast, it might be tempting to pull out a book off the bookshelf and start reading. In reality, it is better to read or listen to an audiobook that covers a topic on which you know absolutely nothing about. New information, while taking attention away from the stressors that are keeping you up all night, gives your brain enough of a workout to make it tired more quickly than when it is engaged with familiar subjects and concepts. Again, if it is an audiobook or podcast you are listening to, make sure the light-emitting side of the device is facing down to keep the room as dark as possible. As I wrote in my previous articles, Darkness and warmth play an essential part in the production and maintenance of melatonin, the hormone that plays the central role falling asleep.
- I once wrote about the important of stretching, how stretching can bring you many benefits and one of which is this. Stretch yourself to sleep. To back up my words, I have read another article from Sleep Research Society from Oxford Academy that mild stretching can help take the edge off and relax muscles that have become stiff and sore after a long day. We are not talking yoga poses right here, but simple stretches like an overhead arm stretch and bending over to touch your toes should do the work. Ramp up the relaxation potential with a melody of ambient noise at an audible volume or soft or classical music can work as well. Dim the light and begin the stretches.
- Last, meditation. Take the natural sleeping aid to the highest level. Most of us cannot do meditation, it is because our minds and souls are occupied. I learned yoga and meditation for years and found that meditation is very helpful to ditch the sleeping pills. I am well aware of the day-to-day anxieties and worries that can interfere with a good night’s sleep. With crazy loads of work to be done every single day, I have practiced meditation to help me fall asleep fast. The key is that, thinking is simply what the brain does, as naturally as lungs take in air and eyes take in sights around us. The point is to be non-judgmental yet aware of your thoughts, bodily experiences and breath, moment by moment. Tell your mind to drive your body to relax and empty whatever that it is you are thinking about. Breathe in for 10 seconds through your nose and breathe out 10 seconds from your mouth then do it in reverse. (Annissa Munaf)