There’s nothing worse than lying in bed, completely exhausted and yet wide awake, knowing how tired you’ll be in the morning. Insomnia can be debilitating for many people, and can ruin your ability to focus and be productive the following day.
Sleeping has many components to it: neurological, physiological, psychological… And when any one or more of these areas is off, it can result in the inability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Luckily, there are a few quick things you can do in order to kick your body into sleep mode.
1) Stretch For 10 Minutes
Stretching is a powerful way to help calm your body down and prepare it for a good night’s sleep on a physiological level. This is because stretching causes your muscles to release stored ATP, which increases the energy state of the cells and allows those cells to fully relax. One of the root causes of insomnia is having your cells in a low energy survival state from poor metabolism and high stress hormones. By stretching, you can help fix this problem and restore the ability of your cells to relax.
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It also gets blood flowing and warms your body a bit, allowing your temperature to drop once you get back into bed. This drop in temperature helps signal your body to drift off to sleep. This doesn’t have to be complicated or confusing. Simply set a timer for 10 minutes and run through different stretches for a bunch of different parts of your body. A few main stretches I recommend are touching your toes, the squat stretch, chest stretch on a doorframe, hands overhead on a doorframe and an abdominal stretch from a facedown position.
2) Drink Bone Broth or Warm Milk
On a chemical level in the brain, there are certain amino acids and peptides that activate important neurotransmitters, like GABA, that are crucial for falling asleep. Amino acids that calm you down and help you relax include glycine, proline, alanine and many of the peptides found in milk.
Bone broth contains high amounts of glycine, proline and alanine and is a go-to drink for helping to induce sleep. Similarly, many studies have shown that warm milk improves your ability to fall asleep.
3) Listen To Delta Binaural Beats
When you fall asleep, your brain shifts out of the active thought mode characterized by beta brain waves, down through alpha, then theta for light sleep and finally delta for deep sleep. Binaural beats use sound technology to entrain your brain into a different brain wave state by playing different frequencies in each ear, causing your brain to match the discrepancy between the frequencies.
Many people use binaural beats for meditation for this reason, as it helps them achieve a deeper meditative state, but you can use it for sleep as well. Simply put in headphones, find delta binaural beats on YouTube (preferably in a video that doesn’t have ads), lie down and relax. After about 10-15 minutes, your brain should naturally relax and begin changing its brainwaves. I use an app called brain.fm, which has binaural beats mixed with music to help entrain your brain to different states, and I highly recommend it.
4) Use Box Breathing
Box breathing helps to relax your body and slow your thoughts. It’s similar to meditation in the sense that you have to focus on your breath and quiet your thoughts. The slower breathing helps to naturally calm your body down and reduce stress.
The process is simple: Breathe in for five seconds, hold it for five seconds, breathe out for five seconds and then hold that for five seconds. Repeat this about ten times and your body will be ready for the zzzs.
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If you find yourself wide awake in the middle of the night often, try out these four techniques and see just how effective they are. It might be tempting when you’re in bed to want to just keep trying to fall asleep, but it’s much better to take 15 minutes to get up and run through this routine rather than spend an hour or more lying there without any luck.
In order to avoid sleep disorders and fall asleep fast:
- Stretch for 10 minutes, hitting all major muscles
- Drink bone broth and/or warm milk
- Listen the delta binaural beats or brain.fm
- Use box breathing and quiet your thoughts
With these techniques in your arsenal, you’ll have the upper hand against insomnia and finally be able to get the right number of hours of sleep that you deserve.