Inability to obtain sufficient sleep, especially when chronic; difficulty in falling or staying asleep; sleeplessness
In a world that’s constantly go go go, it can be difficult to be able to slow down when we need to – even just to sleep. Sleeplessness can be frustrating and, let’s be real, not having enough sleep affects all other aspects of our lives and wellbeing. So, if you’re struggling with insomnia or sleeplessness, what can you do? Here are 5 tips.
4-7-8 breathing is a special technique that helps to relax the body’s muscles and give an oxygen boost where needed. It can help with insomnia by causing your mind to focus on your breaths instead of your stress. It goes like this:
- Place the tip of your tongue at the roof of your mouth, just behind your front teeth (leave it there for the entire breathing cycle)
- Spread your lips apart and breathe out through your mouth all the air currently in your lungs
- Close your mouth and breathe in slowly through your nose for 4 seconds
- Then, hold that breath for 7 seconds
- Lastly, exhale from your mouth for 8 seconds
- Repeat this cycle 4 times
For more information, check out this article on 4-7-8 breathing by Healthline.
Another time it’s good to think like a child is when you’re trying to fall asleep. But the adult version of story time is storytelling apps. ‘Calm’ is a powerhouse app and one of their best features are the adult bedtime stories. Shut your mind off and get lost in the fairytale – just like when you were a kid. We dare you to stay awake!
You can use Calm for free or unlock their premium features for $5/month. For more information, visit their website.
It might sound backwards to start dreaming in order to fall asleep. But studies have shown that daydreaming about relaxing, engaging scenes like a waterfall, a beach, or your favourite place to go can help you fall asleep faster (up to 20 minutes faster!) than those who don’t. By daydreaming you’re keeping your focus on things that are relaxing and calming as opposed to your worries about today or tomorrow.
And by ‘tunes’ we really mean classical music. According to the National Sleep Foundation, listening to music before bed to help with sleeping isn’t a myth. Music actually affects our parasympathetic nervous system. This is the system responsible for relaxing our body before sleep. Listening to 45 minutes of soothing, calming music before bed can not only improve your quality of sleep but help you fall asleep faster.
According to Healthline, if you find that you’re continuously having trouble falling asleep at night, it might be helpful to introduce a night-time routine. It’s important to have time where you can shut down and not focus on all the different things you have going on. Turn off your cellphone, stop responding to work emails, take a hot bath, or get your partner to give you a massage. Choosing a specific, consistent time in the evening each day to shut-it-down and focus on self-care could be exactly what you need to improve your sleep cycle.