Updated: May 26, 2020
Whilst some people seem to have no problem falling asleep, others, me included, lie there wishing it would come but invariably it seems to take an age.
We all know that we should stop using any devices up to 30 minutes before turning in because they delay your body's circadian rhythm (internal clock), suppressing the release of melatonin which is the sleep-inducing hormone, and makes it more difficult to fall asleep...well I do that but still nothing.
I have chamomile tea - chamomile is commonly regarded as a mild tranquilliser or sleep inducer. It contains an antioxidant called apigenin, which binds to specific receptors in your brain that may decrease anxiety and initiate sleep.....allegedly - I have drank more than my fair share ...... nothing!
So how about some more unusual tips for falling asleep?
Hide your clocks - seriously, if you are constantly looking at your clock and thinking how little time you have until it's time to get up again, it is going to get you stressed, By not being able to see the time you aren't going to get so hung up on it.
Go to your happy place - we all have somewhere we have been that holds fond memories - go on a virtual holiday; I have a place in the Ardeche in France, as a family we used to camp beside the river and there was a tiny sandy beach which for most of the time no-one else came to. I can close my eyes, feel the sand between my toes, hear the lapping of the river and the sound of the cicadas, feel the warmth of the sun and this can whisk me away.
Inhale through your left nostril - your breath can be a powerful tranquilliser if used correctly. Put a finger on your right nostril and breathe through the left nostril, taking slow and deep breaths. In yogic science, the left nostril provides access to Ida energy which represents moon energy: calm, soothing, passive, female, reflective; it slows you down and keeps you relaxed. And the right nostril is associated with sun or Pingala energy: fiery, awakening, active, and male; it charges your fight or flight response. One is yin, the other is yang.
Make your room colder - whilst you may think that a warm, cosy room is best for a good night's sleep, you'd be wrong. It's actually a colder room that makes it easier to slip off to dreamland. Your body heat peaks in the evening and then drops to its lowest levels when you're asleep, so a cool 16-18°C (60-65°F) is thought to be an ideal temperature.
Go to bed with socks on - bed socks seem to have gone out of fashion, they were something your granny always knitted and gave you for Christmas. Apparently some researchers from a Swiss study observed that the best predictor of rapid sleep onset were warm hands and feet. Heating cold feet causes vasodilation—dilation of the blood vessels—which tells the brain that it is bedtime. After the blood vessels open in the hands and feet, heat is redistributed throughout the body to prepare for sleep. Boom - off to the land of nod.
Take a cold shower - ugh! can you think of anything worse? But apparently by taking a cold shower at the start of your nightly routine, say one hour before bed, will drop your body temperature and thus trick the old noggin into thinking that you are ready for sleep.
Ok, bed socks, hidden clocks and left nostril breathing I am willing to try but a cold shower.......never!!!
What helps you get to sleep? The crazier ideas the better - please let me know.
Here's to a good night's sleep everyone x