We’ve all had that experience when we know we have to get up early but just can’t fall asleep. We toss and turn and count down the hours until we have to start our day. Next time you find yourself caught in this frustrating situation, give some of these tips a whirl.
Slowly wind down
A lot of what has to do with falling asleep happens in the hours leading up to when you close your eyes rather than the actual moment you snuggle up under the covers. If you eat a sugary or caffeinated snack an hour before you plan to hit the sack, your body may not be willing to readily fall asleep when the time comes. Similarly, if you spend your time working at a computer or stimlating your mind by watching TV up until the very last moment, your brain may be too active to immediately shut down. Instead, for a half-hour or so before you turn off the lights, try to stick with water or caffeine-free tea, and read an easy book to tire your eyes. This way, when it’s finally time to rest, your body and your mind will be ready for it.
Give yourself some extra time
If you know you want to get eight hours of sleep and you have to get up at 7 a.m., going to bed at 10:55 p.m. isn’t the best idea. When you tell your brain it has to fall asleep right away, it is more likely to become stressed and unable to relax into sleep. But if you turn off the lights and get into bed with a half-hour to spare, your body will have more time to unwind without the pressure of needing to fall asleep immediately. This additional time is also a good opportunity to breathe evenly and deeply to help coax yourself into slumber earlier.
Imitate your dreams
Often when we are stuck awake, we start thinking about the following day’s events. We plan out what we’ll wear, what conversations we’ll have and which problems we’ll tackle. Although our intentions are good, focusing on everything we need to do can cause our minds to stress out. When the brain is stressed, we become more alert, and the chances of falling asleep are pushed even farther away. Instead of focusing on reality, try to simulate your dreams. Our dreams are often random — one night one might feature a squirrel talking to a beaver, and the next, you’re discovering a mysterious castle. By imagining scenes in which you have no emotional investment, you can sometimes trick your body into calming down and letting you fall into real dreamland.
Find your perfect your temperature
Some people sleep better when they’re warm, while others prefer to be a little cooler. No matter which side of the spectrum you fall at, keeping your body at a comfortable temperature is a key element for falling asleep. If your body isn’t comfortable, you may spend the majority of the night kicking off covers and then pulling them back on. Before you settle in for the night, assess the room’s temperature, and pick the pyjamas and covers you feel are most appropriate. If at any time you find yourself either too hot or too cold, change your pyjamas or find a different blanket. Getting up to do this may be frustrating, but it could mean the difference between a night of tossing and turning and one of solid, quality sleep.