Picture this, it’s the middle of the night, and for some reason, you’re staring at the ceiling, rather than getting your beauty sleep. You may have followed all the right steps to give yourself a better night of slumber, like completing your evening yoga routine and avoiding heavy meals before bed. However, for whatever reason, you just can’t drift off.

The worst thing that you can do in this situation is panic and start staring at the clock. Rather than constantly working out how many minutes of sleep you could get if you fell asleep within the next 10 seconds, try these helpful practices instead.

1. Meditate

Meditation is an excellent way to encourage peace, relaxation, and tranquillity when you’re feeling stressed and unable to sleep. Meditating with the help of an app on your smartphone, or just some basic relaxation principles will help to bring you into the moment, which could get your mind off anything that might be subconsciously keeping you awake. This strategy can also encourage positive thinking, which leads to better dreams when you fall asleep. Studies have shown time and time again the proven benefits of meditating to relax and improve sleep.

2. Adjust the Temperature

Most people assume that they need to be warm and cosy to fall asleep at night. However, the truth is that your body prefers a cool environment to keep your circadian rhythm in check. If you’re feeling overly hot and sweaty, consider adjusting the temperature in your bedroom by a few degrees. Sleeping in a cooler space will help to convince your mind that it’s time for slumber. What’s more, it means that you’re less likely to wake up feeling uncomfortable and clammy.

3. Read or Listen to an Audio Book

Reading is a fantastic way to take your mind off the stresses of the day so that you can focus more on enjoying the moment. Pick up your favourite book and use a small, natural light to guide you through the pages. If you’re still sleepy enough that you think turning a light on would completely wake you up, consider using an audiobook instead. Listening to a podcast or audiobook on your phone will still distract your mind, and it requires less focus. If books aren’t really your thing then music may also help you drift off, probably depending on the genre though!

4. Stretch

You know that a little stretching before your regular physical activity can help you to have a better workout, but did you know that it can help with your sleep too? You don’t even need to get out of bed to enjoy the benefits of stretching. Simply bring your legs up against the wall and point your toes towards the ceiling to calm your nervous system and get rid of internal strain. You can do some light wrist and ankle movements too.

5.  Address the Thing That’s Keeping You Up

If the problem that’s keeping you awake is a sense of anxiety or stress about something in your life, then it might help to write down your thoughts and try to come up with a solution. Sometimes, you won’t be able to come up with an immediate answer to what’s bothering you, and if that’s the case, you’ll need to be willing to accept that you’re going to work on the problem again in the morning and find a solution.

6. Drink Something Hot

Making yourself a cup of warm milk with honey is a great way to soothe your body and get you ready for a more relaxing night of rest. If milk isn’t your friend due to an issue like lactose intolerance, consider using a relaxing tea instead. Something like chamomile or lavender tea is a great way to relax the senses and help your mind drift off into a more peaceful place.>

7. Try the 4-7-8 Exercise

Finally, some studies state that focusing on your breathing can reduce your heart rate and your blood pressure, getting you ready for a better night of sleep. Start by inhaling for four seconds, holding your breath for seven seconds, and exhaling for eight seconds. You’ll be surprised how quickly you calm down.

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