For many people who live in the fast-paced city, sleep is sometimes the only way to relax. But how often unbidden thoughts keep me awake! What to do if the mind goes over the pictures of the past day or makes grandiose plans?
When I fall asleep…
Our beloved felines are lucky: they spend two-thirds of their lives sleeping and still feel great. A person, according to research, sleeps only a third of his life, which, by and large, is not so little. But at the same time, other scientific works show that humans are the only mammals that willingly postpone sleep. Maybe that’s why every day it becomes more and more difficult for us to fall asleep?
In 1964, a dangerous experiment was carried out. California student named Randy Gardner managed to go 11 days without sleep. At the same time, he suffered from severe lack of sleep, and other participants in the experiment even died if they were awake for too long.
Today it is no longer a secret that sleep deprivation kills a person much faster than food deprivation. And those who regularly forego sleep in favor of other activities, over time, acquire a whole range of health problems, from depression to cardiovascular disease.
By the way!
12% of people dream in black and white. And before the advent of color TV, only 15% of people could boast of colorful, colored dreams. Such data were presented by a 2008 study published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition.
11 tips for those who can’t sleep
Just don’t go to bed
Going to bed at the same time is a great idea for a person of any age. But if the time for sleep has come, and the last one, in fact, is not in any eye, it is better not to go to bed. Instead, do something to help you relax.
You can take a warm bubble bath, sit in a comfortable armchair and daydream, or enjoy a cup of mint tea while watching the city from your window. We felt more relaxed — you can fall into the arms of Morpheus.
Make a to-do list for tomorrow
“Often people are kept awake by anxiety. It is not necessarily associated with bad things, it can even be positive. For example, if a big event is planned and it is important not to forget anything, and not to miss anything, ”says a psychologist, a specialist in sleep problems James Findy.
To relieve anxiety, grab a notepad and pen and make a to-do list. Recent studies have shown that making a to-do list for the future helps you fall asleep 9 minutes faster. At the same time, the more detailed the person set the tasks, the faster he fell asleep.
Let the muscles relax
You can get rid of the flow of obsessive thoughts and ideas by relieving the tension of the body. And the easiest way to do this is lying in bed. Lie straight, inhale and exhale deeply. Now tighten the soles of your feet, then quickly relax them, then do the same with your knees, hips, stomach, chest, and so on, until you completely relax the whole body.
On a note!
National Sleep Foundation reports that up to 15% of the world’s population are lunatics.
Breathe in essential oils
Diffusing and inhaling essential oils before bed is an easy and effective way to regain your peace of mind and fall asleep. In this case, “special” oils are used — evoking dreams.
sarah panton, essential oil expert advises to prepare a mixture of 7 drops of lavender oil, 4 drops of frankincense, 4 drops of cedar and 2 drops of bergamot. It should be diffused into the room or inhaled by applying a little of the mixture to a handkerchief or pillowcase.
Take the pose of a child
Many people point out that it is yoga helps them sleep better at night. To quickly go to the world of dreams, take Balasana — the pose of a child. To do this, kneel down and bring your big toes together. Now spread your knees hip-width apart and press your chest to your hips. Touch the ground with your forehead. Hold this pose for 3–5 minutes.
Read a sleepy book
Sounds trite, but it works! “When you can’t stop the flow of thoughts, try to distract yourself by focusing on something neutral,” the psychologist advises. James Findley. — Since the screen of electronic devices can cause sleep disturbances (scientists have come to this conclusion after conducting relevant studies), it is better to pick up an ordinary paper book. But not very exciting.” A 20–30 minute read will suffice.
Within 5 minutes of waking up, 50% of your sleep is forgotten. And after another 5 minutes, 90% of the memories will disappear.
Set an alarm
If before going to bed the same thoughts haunt you, use the rule of the heroine of the novel Margaret Mitchell — Scarlett O’Hara: “I won’t think about it today, I’ll think about it tomorrow.” Psychologists call this technique “scheduled worry time.”
Schedule 10–15 minutes during the day to think about what is bothering you and sketch out a plan for solving the problem. Then at night the next stream of thoughts can be transferred to the “time of anxiety”.
Treat yourself to dessert
A large portion of food before bedtime burdens digestion and prevents falling asleep. But a small amount of carbs can be helpful. Eat an apple, one whole-grain cracker, an orange, or a carrot if sleep is in one eye.
“Carbohydrates can stimulate the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that the brain needs to normalize sleep. And if several hours have passed after dinner, a small snack will distract you from an empty stomach, ”says the psychologist. James Findy.
Turn on white noise
“There aren’t many studies that address the topic of sound therapy, but this approach may be helpful for people with difficulty falling asleep,” said MD, Associate Professor of Neurology. Cormac O’Donovan. “One of my patients told me that he used to live on the coast, and now that he has moved to a big city, he does not have enough sound of the ocean to fall asleep.”
Download special sleep apps that make white noise or play the sounds you love. They will create a favorable environment for easy falling asleep and strong dreams.
On a note!
A 2009 study shared by the publication sleep, showed that when a person has a lack of sleep, the pain threshold sharply decreases. Are you planning a visit to the dentist? Try to sleep!
Think about your breath
Another great way to stop the flow of unnecessary thoughts is to try mindful breathing. “Your mind will no doubt take you back to other things, but you can stop it by focusing on inhaling and exhaling,” Dr. O’Donovan. “Deep, slow breathing can slow your heart rate, which also helps you fall asleep.”
Try the Technique from a Sleep Specialist Dr. Michael Breus! Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Breathe in through your nose for two seconds, feeling your stomach expand. After that, gently press on it, slowly exhaling. Repeat several times.
Try not to sleep
“Thinking about sleep and how important it is now to fall asleep quickly is a recipe for staying awake,” says professor of sleep medicine Colin Espy. Such thoughts increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn increases anxiety and drives away dreams.
In this situation, the principle “Do not sleep!” will help. Concentrate on not falling asleep in the next few minutes, and you yourself will not notice how you fall into the arms of Morpheus.
Pavel Bukov, psychotherapist, neurologist
If you do not fall asleep well, you should reconsider some of your habits, pay attention to what you do a couple of hours before bedtime. It makes sense to refrain from watching TV, prolonged contact with a computer and smartphone. Any flashing screen affects the brain in an exciting way. It is better to read a book or listen to an audiobook, take a walk at a calm pace, take a warm bath or shower.
Don’t eat before bed and don’t go to bed feeling hungry.
It is important to arrange your sleeping place so that you sleep comfortably, in darkness and silence. When hiking, use earplugs and a dark eye mask.
If you went to bed, but there is no sleep and no, you can use the breathing technique “exhalation twice as long as inhalation”. You breathe naturally when you inhale, but slow down and stretch the exhalation. Inhale, for example, 3 seconds, and exhale 6. Breathe like this for at least 6 minutes.
If obsessive thoughts are preventing you from falling asleep, write them down on paper and promise yourself to think about them after you wake up in the morning. Sweet Dreams!