Sleep is an essential part to the efficiency and effectiveness of our metabolism, memory and overall health, so it is important to get the right amount nightly. However, we tend to move at such a constant and rapid pace throughout our day that our minds are left relentlessly spinning with thoughts throughout the night. Here are some things that might help if you have difficulty falling asleep at night because you're lying awake in bed while your mind runs through lists and ideas.
1. Watch Something
Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, cable television and more websites for programming are available for viewing on all types of devices. Watching a program on a device allows one to feel as though he or she can temporarily escape to another world, where the mind can be distracted and removed from its continuing reel of thoughts and ideas that induce stress and cause sleepless nights. I typically find that any video clips on the internet, movies or TV shows of interest to me allow me a quick and simple distraction just long enough to relax me to the point where I can fall asleep. It is important, however, to make sure that you are not too interested or too invested in whatever you are watching, because then you may force yourself to stay awake to watch it. It is best to watch something you are not incredibly interested in or something that you have seen too many times to count, so that it will not stimulate the brain. Therefore, using this method to fall asleep does require a small bit of discipline.
Whether it be a book, novella or an article, reading allows you to relax and distract yourself by getting caught up in a story. As you read, your eyes will get tired and create a willingness to close your eyes without thought in order to fall asleep.
3. Listen to something.
It is often said that having screens flashing in your face as you attempt to fall sleep can be more of a stimulant, so using your ears rather than your eyes can be a better alternative. Whether you prefer a certain genre of music, an audiobook, environmental sounds or white noise, the sounds that are right for you will interfere with your thought and will allow you to relax and sleep. While it is not proven to be true, some people believe that listening to something when you sleep can allow you to learn or memorize it. Perhaps this is a great tool to learning information when there are not enough hours in the day, and through osmosis you can take up that foreign language you have been wanting to learn.
4. The "Close Your Eyes" Game
If you still feel like nothing that I have mentioned is helping you, do not give up hope just yet. I know that this idea sounds a bit goofy, but have you actually tried it? Just close your eyes and do not allow yourself to open them for anything (unless of course there is a real emergency). Focusing on keeping your eyes closed can create just the distraction you need. Eventually, typically without remembering when, you will fall asleep. This seems so obvious, however, we always tend to forget that the essential part to falling asleep is closing our eyes.
Exercising is important to a healthy lifestyle and is known to have positive impacts on the brain, such as pumping more oxygen to the brain and fostering brain cell growth. It is often recommended that you not work out in the evening, but if you keep your workout schedule consistent, this is better than not working out at all and can be just the remedy to relieve stress, relax the body and trigger a good nights sleep.
6. Natural Remedies
Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by the pineal gland that controls circadian rhythm (sleep cycles). Some foods can naturally increase melatonin production. Eating these foods in the evening (but not too late at night) as a snack can help you fall asleep. These foods include walnuts, cheese and crackers, pretzels and cherries.
7. Consistent Sleep Schedule
Consistency is extremely important in anything that we do, especially our sleep schedule. Consistency in a sleep schedule includes the ritual before bed as well as what times you fall asleep and wake up. It is important that even on the weekends this schedule remains consistent. In our active daily lives this can be difficult, but at least keeping the amount of sleep consistent can make falling asleep at night much easier and keep energy levels throughout the day much higher.
Hopefully, one of these methods will help you fall asleep at night. Sleep is essential in our lives and even though it seems like there are not enough hours in the day to spare, it is the way to remain healthy.
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