More and more people are having trouble sleeping. Stress, personal problems, daily worries, and bad nutrition are some of the causes of sleeping problems.
In addition to making sure you have a healthy lifestyle, you could try some of the tips below to help you get to sleep and ensure you sleep enough to live your life happily and have energy.
Listen to relaxing music
Listening to relaxing music before bed can help you get off to sleep. A study in 2005 showed that people who listened to 45 minutes of soft music before going to bed improved their sleeping problems by 35%. It doesn’t even matter what style of music you play, as long as it is soft and slow, around 60 to 80 beats a minute. According to the BBC, this causes physical changes in your body which promote sleep, such as slowing down the heartbeat and breathing.
The New York Times has reported that milk and other foods rich in protein actually block the sleep inducing effects of tryptophan. However, they may cause some psychological effects which help you sleep: some studies show that when babies are given warm milk before bed, they sleep longer.
Imagine a relaxing scene
If you want to bore yourself off to sleep, then try counting sheep or counting backwards in multiples of three or any other number! However, a study carried out in 2002 showed that imagining a relaxing scene could be more effective. The study involved observing 41 people with insomnia for a number of nights, and the researchers asked them to try a variety of different techniques which induce sleep, including counting sheep. When they were told to imagine relaxing scenes such as the beach, a massage or a walk in the woods, they were sleeping an average of 20 minutes more quickly.
Concentrating on your breathing can have a similar effect on the body to meditation before bedtime, for example, it can reduce your heart rate.
A warm bath
Our body temperature drops around two hours before we go to sleep. This is a natural change which triggers our brain to prepare us for going to sleep. Warm baths increase the body’s temperature. It then drops quickly, relaxing the body and making dropping off to sleep easier.
Avoid drinking alcohol
Many people want a drink to relax them at the end of the day, but alcohol before bed can be detrimental to a good night’s sleep. Alcohol is metabolized in the liver and takes a couple of hours to be processed by the body. It is recommended that you avoid alcohol before bedtime.
Get out of bed
It seems crazy. How will I be able to get to sleep if I’m not in bed? But it works. When someone stays in bed even though they can’t sleep, the bedroom stops being a place of relaxation, and starts causing anxiety. After 15 or 20 minutes of not being able to sleep, the best idea is to go and sit in a different part of the house until you feel sleepy and then go back to bed.
Image courtesy of Tony Alter.