5 Simple and Scientifically Proven Techniques that Will Help You Fall Asleep

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    If you are having trouble falling asleep, you are not alone. A third of us find it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep; including Michael Mosley, a doctor and BBC journalist. He did not give up and decided to explore (and find) simple and scientifically proven techniques so that we can all fall into the arms of Morpheus without so much difficulty. You have probably heard a lot of advice before, but you may find among these 5 tips from Dr. Mosley something you have not tried.

    1. Slow down your breathing

    We start with a simple but incredibly powerful way to relax: breathing slowly and deeply. It works by taking advantage of a small group of cells deep in the brain, collectively called the locus coeruleus. Despite its tiny size, the locus coeruleus has a remarkable influence on our entire brain function.

    Inhale 1-2-3-4… hold 1-2… exhale 1-2-3-4… GETTY IMAGES

    If sleep does not come and your mind is racing, it is the locus coeruleus that is active, spraying a hormone called norepinephrine (the wake-up chemical) throughout your brain.

    Professor Ian Robertson of Trinity College Dublin and his team discovered that this system can be accessed and slowed down from activation simply by slowing down your breathing. In addition to 4-2-4 (inhale for a count of four, hold for two, and exhale for a count of four), I recommend you try abdominal breathing. Put one hand on your chest and the other just below the ribcage.

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    As you inhale, you should feel the hand on your belly rise, while the hand on your chest remains relatively still. It’s a great way to calm down if you’re having a hard time falling asleep or woke up with your mind racing in the middle of the night.

    2. Take advantage of the morning light

    One of the best tips I had when I was battling chronic insomnia was to get up at the same time every day and go out in the morning light. Researchers have discovered that the time you get up in the morning has a greater influence on our biological clock than the time you go to bed.

    Do not miss the morning light! GETTY IMAGES

    A large part of this is due to the effects of daylight. When light hits the eye, it excites receptors in the back of the eye that detect the light and send signals to a region of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, your “master” body clock.

    A burst of morning light stops the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, signaling to the body that the day has begun. A cue in the morning will start a cascade of events so that around twelve hours later, melatonin begins to rise, preparing your body for deep rest.

    3. Enjoy your bed

    The best thing to do if you cannot fall asleep is to get up! It is one of the most effective and used methods in dream therapy. It may sound contradictory, but it is about making your bed a quiet place again, about your mind associating your bed with sleep and not with the impossibility of falling asleep.

    Dr. Mosley had to fall in love with his bed all over again. This is part of a therapy called stimulus control, and studies have consistently shown that it helps reduce insomnia and that the effects are long-lasting.

    What is more, according to Dr. Colleen Carney, director of the Sleep and Depression Laboratory at Toronto Metropolitan University, in Canada, the therapy is so effective that results are seen in a matter of a couple of weeks. The basic idea is that you should not struggle to fall asleep if your body and mind are not ready. If you do, a partnership is forged that turns your bed into a battlefield.

    If you get up when you are not falling asleep and go to bed only when you feel really drowsy (when your eyes are drooping and you are nodding off), the negative association can be broken. At first you may have to get out of bed a few times and go somewhere warm and quiet to do something unstimulating. That does not mean that the therapy is not working, but that you are trying to change a deeply rooted habit… Be patient!

    Also, try to avoid naps: the idea is to increase the ‘sleep pressure’ so that at night it is unavoidable. And use the bed only to sleep (and, well, for that too… but not to watch TV or your computer, phone…).

    4. Warm up to cool down

    A warm bath or shower before bed can really help you fall asleep faster. A recent overview of 13 studies found that those who took a hot bath before bed fell asleep 36% faster, had better quality sleep, and felt more rested the next day.

    As you heat parts of your body, especially your hands and feet, special blood vessels that radiate heat begin to dilate. This pushes more blood to the surface of the skin, which helps speed up heat loss so that your core temperature drops, and this acts as a cue for sleep. With rising energy costs, you will be pleased to know that you do not need a hot bath or shower to benefit from this effect.

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    Anna Wirz-Justice, of the University of Basel, cautions that anything that starts that initial blood flow to the hands and feet can act as a cue to sleep. So you might as well try a hot water bottle or sleeping socks, and make sure you don’t have more blankets on the bed than you need for the night ahead.

    5. Listen to your body

    If you are falling asleep out there, maybe you are short on sleep for a few hours. GETTY IMAGES

    We were told that 8 hours is an ideal goal for a good night’s sleep. But trying to reach this goal can be stressful and futile. Adults tend to need around 7-9 hours a night, but that is an average. Some people do perfectly fine with less, and others may need a little more. It also changes throughout our lives.

    The idea of ​​8 hours is relatively new

    In pre-industrial times, it was common to go to bed a few hours after dark, then wake up and be active, from chatting with the neighbors to studying to having sex, then going back to bed to sleep a second time. Knowing that calmed me down. And now if I wake up in the middle of the night for a while, I think maybe it’s not so bad. Professor Nicole Tang from the University of Warwick advises that you stop looking at clocks at night and worrying about how much sleep you get.

    Your body will keep you informed

    If you fall asleep, while doing activities during the day… You may need to get some more sleep!

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