Fall short of good sleep, and it takes a toll on your energy and productivity. A good sleep directly affects your mental and physical health. Lack of a proper sleep leads to low energy, productivity and even affects your overall weight.
Making simple but significant changes in daily life could positively impact how well we sleep in the long run. A good sleeping techniques leave you mentally sharp and emotionally satisfied with plenty of energy during the day.
How do I get a good sleep at night?
Sometimes getting good sleep at night may seem impossible especially when you are often awake at 3 a.m. One thing you must realize is that you have more control of your sleep more than you have ever thought.
This article has highlighted the most effective sleep techniques to help you enjoy a good night’s sleep. By experimenting with the following tips; you can enjoy a good night’s sleep that will eventually improve your mental and physical health.
1. Relax and squeeze
By relaxing your muscles you could have a good night’s sleep. Lie on your back and take a deep breath in through your nose and squeeze your toes tightly and then release and squeeze back again. This way you can calm your nerves and keep anxiety at bay.
Additionally when on a slow breath, you can curl your knee then release. Breathe again contracting your muscle followed by the thighs and buttocks; continue upwards until you have squeezed all parts of your body. After this exercise, you should feel calm enough to sleep because your breath ought to be steady.
2. Inhale through the left nose
Inhaling through the left nose is an old yoga technique that helps reduce blood pressure. To breathe successfully through your left nose, lie on your left side and rest one finger on the right nostril to close it. Start making deep breaths through the left nostril.
This technique is mainly recommended during hot conditions or when hot flashes during menopausal stage prevent a good night’s sleep.
3. Think about your day
Remembering every detail of your day helps clear your mind of any impending worries. If you, for example, recall all the conversations, sights and sounds of the day, your mind can calm down and get ready to sleep.
4. Hum to yourself
Humming to yourself is a meditation exercise that shall never be outdated. To do this effectively, sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes, then drop your shoulders while relaxing your jaw. Keep your mouth gently closed and breathe through the nose as deeply as you can to ensure that your abdomen and chest remain steady.
Breathe gently out of the mouth so that you can hum well, keep calm and notice how it vibrates in the chest. By the time you repeat this exercise about four times, your body and mind will have fully prepared to sleep.
5. Find what your trigger is
To be able to find your trigger, start a habit that as you drift off during a period when you are having a good night’s sleep. You can then use this habit or technique to fall asleep each time you have difficulty in sleeping.
Your body soon learns to associate sleep with the particular behavior, and you will not find difficulty falling asleep once you induce the activity.
6. Make yourself a worry list
It is important to curb all your worries by writing down what needs to be done. This way you can forget worrying about what needs to be done, and you can sleep until morning without having that in mind.
7. Empty your bladder
The body produces less amount of diuretic hormone which is responsible for enabling the kidney to regulate the amount of urine it makes during the day. Following this, one may develop nocturia, the need to visit the toilet severally at night to urinate.
To help your bladder stay empty during the night, stop taking a lot of fluids two to three hours before going to bed. You can also use the double voiding technique which involves emptying the bladder twice by urinating the second time approximately 15 minutes after the first one.
Also cut down on salt. Regulate your salt intake to about 8g a day.
8. Exercise between 4 pm – 7pm
Research shows that moderate exercise can make you sleep better. Even though, there is a better way to have the exercises and the right timing. Exercising in the early morning is not likely to help you with your sleeping trouble. But having 20-45 minutes of exercises between 4 pm to 7 pm does the trick.
Also, a moderate activity such as gardening between this time will do the trick.
9. Keep away the noise
If you are often experiencing some noise that takes you from deep sleep to light sleep, it is high time you assess your home for night time distractions. Alternatively, you can also eliminate the noise by wearing earplugs.
10. Try autogenic training
Autogenic training focuses on reducing stress and improving sleep by focusing the mind on cultivating sensations of warmth in different parts of the body. The exercise used in this technique uses both visual and verbal cues to help you relax physically as well as mentally.
The exercises work best when practiced regularly, and one exciting thing is that you can use the techniques to manage little stresses during the day. The autogenic exercises incorporated with a good lifestyle routine helps you calm down for a good night’s sleep.
11. Progressive relaxation
This is a mind and body relaxation that involves striking your body to become familiar with it so that you know the areas where you hold stress and tension. This technique involves working on your body parts one at a time with a group of muscles by relaxing them. This way your body becomes aware of the tension and relaxation. With this in mind, you can address any physical or mental stress that comes along.
Progressive relaxation helps you release physical and mental tension that interferes with your sleep pattern.
12. Hide your clock
As awkward as it sounds, this sleeping technique works. By constantly checking your time when you are awake at night only increases your stress. Your clock increases the worry of not falling sleep further keeping your nervous system more awake.
13. Wear socks to bed
Research has shown that warm feet and hands rapidly increase your chances of having a good night’s sleep. Shifting blood flow from the limbs helps cool down the body hence work well with melatonin, a hormone that induces sleep.
14. Immerse your face in cold water
If you find yourself so much stressed and anxious during bedtime, you need to immerse your face in a bowl full of cold water. This exercise triggers lowering of heart rate together with blood pressure, making you get to bed more soothed.
15. Try the 4-7-8 method
This technique helps you relax by increasing the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream, slow your heart rate and releases more carbon dioxide from the lungs. Here are the actual steps on how to do it:
- Place the tip of the tongue against the ridge of the tissue just behind the upper teeth and keep it in place the entire process
- Exhale completely through the mouth, making a whoosh sound
- Close the amount and inhale quietly through the nose to a silent count of four
- Hold your breath to account for seven
- Exhale completely to account for 7
- Exhale completely through the mouth making a whoosh sound to account for eight
- Repeat the circle three more times for a total of four breaths.
16. Use essential oils
Essential oil, especially lavender, not only smells lovely but also relaxes your nerves in preparation for a good night’s sleep. Even though some people are allergic to scents, the majority respond well to them and have reported a positive change in their sleeping pattern and quality of sleep.
Other sleeping techniques and tips to help you sleep better
- Choose good bedding that is breathable and comfortable sleeping in. Get linen that is temperature sensitive together worth light but warm, breathable duvet.
- Try to go to sleep and get up the same time every day. By doing this, you help your body optimize the quality of your sleep. If you happen to get enough sleep, you will always wake up naturally without even an alarm.
- Do not sleep in even on weekends. You are likely to experience jet lag symptoms. It is ok to do a daytime nap rather than sleeping in. This will automatically help you pay for your sleep debt rather than disturbing your natural sleep.
- Limit your naps to 15 minutes since it can worsen your sleeping disorders. In short, all you need to do is become smart about your napping.
- Do not allow yourself to sleep at the dinner table. Find a way of fighting after dinner sleepiness; you could either wash dishes or do something as much stimulating. If you fall to sleep immediately after dinner, chances are you will wake up at night and have trouble falling back to sleep.
- Always try and have your coffee outside in the mornings. Eating breakfast outside near the pool will have you wake up a little faster because the light on your face will help you perk up.
- Always let in more natural light to your workplace as much as you can. Keep your curtains up during the day and still move your desk closer to the window so that as you work, you shall be gently hit by fresh air.
- Use a light therapy box during winter to simulate sunshine.
- Make it a habit to avoid bright screens within 2 hours before bedtime. The blue light emitted by the phone, tablet, and the computer is disruptive. Try and limit this light by using smaller screens or even turning the brightness down.
- Make your room dark when it’s time to sleep. Try and use heavy curtains for this purpose to block light from the windows. Alternatively, try a sleeping mask or covering any device that emits light.
- If you happen to get up at night, keep the lights down. Install a dim light at the hall or a small flashlight that will enable you to fall asleep much more natural.
- Limit the amount of coffee you take each day. More so avoid taking coffee 2 hours before bed.
- Do not form a habit of eating large meals at night. Try to make dinner earlier in the evening and avoid spicy foods, all the same, they cause heart burn at night and could make you have trouble sleeping.
- Do not drink alcohol before bed. While alcohol might help you relax, it contains caffeine that interrupts your sleep cycle.
- Cut back on sugary foods and refined carbs. These types of foods can trigger wakefulness at night.
- Create a list of things that help you relax at night. For example:
- Listening to music
- Taking a warm bath
- Listening to books on tape
- Doing some stretching exercises
- Keep your room at the right temperatures. If your bedroom is too cold or hot, it will interfere with your sleep.
- In case you are out of your sleep for about 15 minutes get out of bed and do a non-stimulating activity such as reading a book.
- Avoid worrying yourself about things you have no control over.
Last thoughts about sleeping techniques
It becomes easier for you to have a good night sleep when your body is not overstimulated. The above methods will help you get into a good night sleep. Even though this won’t happen overnight, you need to get into good lifestyle habits to help you sleep better. A good night sleep helps you to stay alert during the day to accomplish your duties
SOURCES AND REFERENCES
1.10 tips to beat insomnia (May 2015)
- Insomnia (June 2013)
- Sleep disorders treatment and management (June 2008)