Getting to bed is one of the best things to do after a long day. Yet, it’s not always easy. Sometimes, you may spend more time lying awake, trying to fall asleep than sleeping. This makes it even harder to sleep as the stress of it keeps you awake! Besides this, a lot of things can cause sleeplessness, right from anxiety to discomfort. If you often have trouble falling asleep, it’s time to take the bull by the horns. There are several tried and tested methods that can help you sleep in a few minutes – even less!
Also called a relaxing breath, the 4-7-8 breathing technique is a breathing pattern that seeks to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation to help you sleep. Developed by Dr. Andrew Weil, it’s based on the ancient yoga technique called pranayama, the practice of breath control. Proponents of the 4-7-8 breathing technique attest to its relaxing quality. You can try it too by following these steps:
– Sit comfortably and place the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth, right behind your teeth.
– Part your lips slightly, exhale and empty your lungs of air.
– Close your lips and breathe in for 4 seconds.
– Hold your breath for 7 seconds.
– Part your lips again and exhale for 8 seconds.
– Repeat this 4 times. Try to perform the exercise without focusing on it. Rather, do it mindlessly, allowing yourself to relax.
It’s recommended that the 4-7-8 breathing technique should first be practiced up to 4 breaths. Once you get the hang of it, you can slowly work your way up to 8 breaths. Since the intent is to put you in a state of deep relaxation, do make sure that you do this only before sleeping and not if you have to stay alert later.
If you’ve ever wondered how military personnel sleep when they are in disruptive environments, there’s a neat technique that they use. It’s designed to help them fall asleep in less than two minutes. Mentioned in the book ‘Relax and Win: Championship Performance’, the technique was reportedly developed so that soldiers didn’t make errors due to lack of sleep.
The Military Method involves the following steps:
– Relax all the muscles of your face.
– Drop your shoulders to release tension, followed by your upper arm and then your lower arm. Do this one side at a time.
– Exhale and relax your chest.
– Relax your legs, beginning from your thighs and down to your calves.
– Picture yourself lying in a canoe on a calm lake or in a hammock in a dark room.
– Tell yourself ‘don’t think’ over and over for about 10 seconds.
The Military Method is reported to work for about 96 percent of individuals after six weeks of practice. That’s a very reassuring number and even if it takes longer, it’s still worth a try!
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This technique, also called deep muscle relaxation, aims for the same result as the others: to promote relaxation, control anxiety and help you fall asleep quickly. However, in Progressive Muscle Relaxation, the steps involve tensing the muscles and relaxing them. It’s pretty easy to do too as the steps below show:
– Start with your feet and contract the muscles in it while inhaling. Then, slowly exhale and release the tension.
– Move to the next muscle group i.e. your calves and do the same thing – contract while inhaling and release while exhaling.
– Progress to the muscle group in your thighs, buttocks abs, shoulders, arms, etc., until you’ve worked for all the groups.
– As you release the tension, be mindful of how relaxed and comfortable you feel when doing so.
With practice, PMR can be an effective way to promote sleep. Don’t despair if it doesn’t seem to work like magic on the first couple of tries. Keep at it and you’ll soon find yourself nodding off to sleep in no time.
Having difficulty falling asleep is one part of the problem; Staying asleep is another. In order to make sure you sleep through the night, you need to take certain other measures. These include going to bed and waking up at the same time each day – even on holidays and weekends – staying away from caffeine late in the day, keeping your room quiet, clutter-free and dark, and using a well-designed mattress.
The Nuvanna Mattress has been created in such a way that it helps you sleep the night through. Designed by a materials scientist with over 20 years of experience, it features three unique layers that come together to promote better sleep. The top layer cools the body and prevents it from overheating, the middle layer prevents movement from being transferred across the bed, and the bottom layer keeps your body properly supported and your spine aligned.
Good sleep is the basis for a healthy mind and body. While it may not come to all of us so easily, there are still things that are within our control to help us fall asleep and stay asleep. Try the techniques we’ve outlined above and practice them regularly. Given how well they work for others, they should do the same for you too!