8 Unexpected (but Effective) Tips to Help You Fall Asleep
If you’re one of the many people that have trouble falling asleep on a regular basis, you’ve probably tried quite a few of the traditional methods for getting to sleep, such as taking a bubble bath or drinking some warm milk before bed.
What you might not have tried are some of these non-traditional techniques for lulling yourself into a restful sleep through developing a pre-bed routine and forming a Pavlovian response to the rituals that you take part in before you hit the sack.
Unexpected Tip #1: Cherry Juice Nightcap
Cherries are not only delicious, but are also a great natural source of melatonin – the hormone that regulates sleep. Multiple sleep studies have shown that drinking a glass of cherry juice before bedtime has allowed participants to fall asleep easier and gain an average of 90 minutes of sleep per night.
Unexpected Tip #2: Toe Curling Reps
A variation on the progressive relaxation techniques that you might have learned in yoga class, curling your toes while lying in bed after you’ve turned in for the night has been shown to help relax all of the muscles in your body, while also releasing tension that’s been built up in your body during the day. The key to this technique is to practice toe curls in intervals of 1 to 2 minutes by slowly squeezing your toes into your feet, and then rhythmically releasing the hold.
Unexpected Tip #3: Restful Rituals
Developing a special ritual that you partake in only at bedtime has been shown to clue your body into the fact that sleep is eminent, and that it’s time to wind down for the night. This pre-bed ritual should be something that can be done while lying in bed, of course, and should also be something that you wouldn’t do at any other time or place – listening to a specific playlist while rubbing your earlobe would be a good example of a special bedtime ritual.
Unexpected Tip #4: Sleepy Suggestions
Hypnosis has long been shown to be conducive to rest and relaxation, but you don’t need to visit a hypnotist to get the benefits. Try downloading some sleep hypnosis podcasts on your cell phone or tablet to be soothed to sleep by the power of suggestion.
Unexpected Tip #5: Settle Your Senses
Help your body to give in to the sleep that it wants and needs by creating a “sleep cave” in your bedroom with black out curtains or a sleep mask, as well as earplugs. Your goal is to totally block out all light and sound in order to create a kind of sensory deprivation chamber – giving your body every possible clue that it’s sleep or bust!
Unexpected Tip #6: Belly Rubbing Bliss
Although belly rubbing may sound like something that should be reserved for your pooch, it has been shown to encourage relaxation in humans, as well. Try lying in bed with your eyes closed and rubbing your belly in big clockwise circles, and then in smaller counter-clockwise circles.
Unexpected Tip #7: Revisit Your Day
You can also try a mental relaxation technique, such as visualizing your family home as it was when you were a child by envisioning yourself wandering through the memory of the house, room from room, recalling as much detail as you possibly can. The mental effort of remembering such small details will help your body slow down and feel sleepy, and the positive childhood memories will help you to feel safe and relaxed.
Unexpected Tip #8: White Noise Wind Down
If you find yourself feeling anxious or fixating on negative thoughts at night, when you should be drifting off to dream land, losing yourself in white noise can be the answer to your troubles. White noise machines can be found in most fine department stores, and major cell phone application stores offer both paid and free versions of white noise apps for a smaller, more portable solution.
Trying one (or a few) of these techniques should help you get off of your “just can’t seem to sleep” kick and back to restful nights in no time at all!