7 Secrets To Deeper Sleep
Anyone who has ever faced even one night of insomnia would be familiar with at least one fast track to sleep. Be it chamomile tea, a warm shower or a light book, we would have found one or two that worked like a charm. But just in case that old favourite suddenly lets you down, here are seven less known but equally effective secrets to deeper sleep.
Instead of trying to silence your mind before bedtime, give it something relaxing to focus on like the rhythm of your breath. Alternate nostril breathing is a yoga technique that is known to quiet the mind and gently lull you to sleep. Rosie McCaughey of Rise Yoga demonstrates it here:
Spice up your nightcap
Warm milk has the ability to raise internal body temperature, which in turn, induces calmness, relaxation and sleepiness. But add a dollop of raw honey and sprinkling of nutmeg, and you have got yourself a first class ticket to dreamland. Honey contains glucose, which tells your brain to shut off orexin, the chemical that triggers alertness. Nutmeg, meanwhile, is a natural sleep aid. If you would like a little more spice, then opt for a milky chai brew without the tea leaves.
Oil your feet
Practitioners of Ayurveda, the system of Indian traditional medicine, recommend gently warming a small cup of sesame oil and then massaging it into the soles of your feet and the backs of your ears. This ancient practice will not only draw you into deeper sleep but it is also said to combat stress.
Sleep in layers
Your body’s internal heating and cooling systems change throughout the night, and you want to be able to add or remove blankets to remain comfortable. Starting the night cooler will help you drop off to sleep easier so keep your bedroom temperature between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius. But stash extra blankets close by for when that cool room turns chilly in the middle of the night.
Schedule two bedtimes and two wake-up times
Your first bedtime is your winding down time when you shut off anything that creates stress or stimulation. Your second bedtime, which can be from 30 minutes to an hour later, is your actual sleep time when you turn the lights off.
Meanwhile, your first wake-up time is when you are naturally roused from sleep before the alarm clock buzzes. Spend this time in bed mentally preparing yourself for the day. Your second wake-up time is when your alarm goes off and you get out of bed.
Choose thinner pillows
Many of us love those plump hotel pillows but all that fluffiness also angles your head forward and leaves you with a sore neck. Choose pillows that keep your spine neutral and your neck long. If you sleep on your stomach, opt for very soft pillows to lessen any back strain.
Have a bedtime snack
Stay away from leftover dessert and munch on a handful of almonds or cherries, or a banana. Almonds and bananas contain magnesium that naturally reduces muscle and nerve function while steadying the heart rhythm. Cherries are a natural source of melatonin, which regulates the sleep cycle.
What are your favourite sleep tricks? Share them with us in the comments below.
Image credit: Eye of The Dreamer Pillowcase by Jasmine Dowling
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