How to fall effortlessly asleep


Understand your body’s cycles - Each one of us has an inner biological clock, which determines the daily cycles of physical, behavioral, and mental changes. Those cycles are what we call our circadian rhythm.  Our body determines its own sleep patterns by producing melatonin; the hormone that makes us sleepy. When you understand how your inner clock works, you’ll be able to adjust your sleeping schedule in accordance with it.  Try finding the right time to go to bed and the right length of sleep. Experiment to determine the schedule that makes you wake up energized and refresh. When you get there, start going to sleep and getting up at the same time every day, even during weekends. Such a schedule will optimize the quality of your sleep.

Avoid light at bedtime - Melatonin, the hormone that prepares our bodies for sleep is regulated by exposure to light. When it’s dark, the melatonin levels go up.  That’s why it’s important for you to get enough sunlight in the morning and during the day, so you won’t feel sleepy. At night, however, you should tone the lights down and avoid bright screens at least for an hour before you go to bed.  This means staying away from the TV, computer, tablet, or phone. When you go to bed, try to make sure the room is completely dark.

Detatch from your thoughts - Researchers found that psychological detachment from work during leisure time leads to fewer symptoms of psychological strain and more satisfaction from life, without affecting the worker’s effectiveness. Being psychologically detached means being mentally disconnected from job-related issues when you’re not at work.

When you’re about to sleep, the thoughts about work bother you the most, but they are not the only intruders. Your mind can come up with all sorts of thoughts, some of them being pure fantasies. So you need to get detached from all of them.

Practice this technique:

  • Go to bed. Try to mentally recreate the day, from the moment you got up to the moment you went to bed. You’ll go through all actions of the day in a chronological order, but you’ll be detached.
  • You’ll observe the thoughts like you’re seeing a boring movie. Don’t try to rationalize or think what you should’ve been doing. Just recreate the day and stick to that specific task. This forces your mind to be rational.
  • You give it a specific task, and it should be ready to sleep once it’s done with it. It takes a good deal of practice to see the results, but keep doing this every night. It’s worth the effort!

Have a bedtime ritual - Washing and flossing your teeth, having a warm bath, having a glass of wine, reading a good book...all these rituals prepare you for a good sleep. If you try to go bed immediately after being active and aroused, you’ll just toss around. You need a specific ritual that calms you down and gets you mentally prepared for the sleeping cycle.  If your ritual includes reading, it’s not recommended to read on a backlit device. Tone the lights down and read a paperback, or use an e-reader that’s not backlit.

Try valerian tea - Valerian root is an herb with a strange effect: it calms you down and makes you sleepy. It’s commonly used for sleep disorders, and you don’t need a doctor’s prescription to get it.   Research shows that this herb improves the quality of sleep without producing side effects, so it’s perfectly safe to consume. Needless to say, you should stick with a single cup just to stay on the safe side.  Also, give up on the coffee! Caffeine enhances your focus and energy levels, and that’s not what you need when you’re trying to get in sleep mode.

Adjust the temperature in your bedroom - Temperature is just as important as light in terms of good night sleep. Studies show that heat has a greater negative impact on nocturnal sleep than noise.  Most people sleep comfortably at a temperature of around 20℃ (or 70℉). Clearly, the optimal temperature depends on preference, so find out what your ideal level is. Then, make sure to heat or cool down the room to the appropriate temperature before you go to sleep.

Relax - Even when you have the perfect bedtime ritual, you go to bed at the right time, you have some tea and you do everything right, stress will prevent you from falling asleep.

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