According to the experts in hibernation, you’re meant to spend one-third of your life sleeping. But with deadlines getting tighter, commutes getting longer, and stress-levels soaring higher, when it comes to your head (finally) hitting the pillow after an arduous day, it’s no surprise that insomnia is now affecting one in three Australians.
And because we all know what a bad night’s sleep can feel like, we’ve laid out five quick ideas, to try next time your brain refuses to switch off.
DRESS FOR THE OCCASION
The Huffington Post founder, Arianna Huffington, has fast become a significant voice in the sleep realm, penning The Sleep Revolution for troubled sleepers globally. One of Arianna’s key tips is surprisingly simple: dress especially for the occasion. Huffington believes that by wearing proper pyjamas that you are proud of – and not your stained gym tee – you’re sending a sleep friendly message to your body, and letting it know to start preparing for shut-eye.
According to a study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being in 2011, writing in a gratitude journal showed to improve sleep levels. Before turning the lights out, spending a few minutes listing at least five things you are grateful for in that day will allow you to halt your internal negative dialogue in its tracks, and appreciate of the things you do have.
LEARN TO BREATHE
Derived from yoga practices, and commonly known as “bellows breath” doctors are now encouraging the sleep deprived to incorporate ancient breathing techniques into their sleeping prep. The 4-7-8 technique instructs you to begin by exhaling completely through your mouth, making a “woosh” sound as you go. Next, close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose and mentally count to four. Hold your breath for seven mental counts and exhale again, through your mouth, making a “woosh” sound for eight counts. Repeat this cycle at least four times. According to American physician Andrew Weil, “this breathing exercise is a natural tranquiliser for the nervous system.”
TICKLE YOUR SENSES WITH LAVENDER
We know that lavender is a scent commonly associated with relaxation and rest, often found in sleep-promising tea bags and luxury beauty rooms. But according to a study conducted at Wesleyan University, lavender is a proven method. By smelling lavender oil for 2 minutes at three 10 minute intervals just before bed, participants in the study could fall into a deeper slumber for longer.
Much like a romantic evening, the key to a quality sleep could include enticing your sleep into your arms. According to Harvard University neuroscientist Anne-Marie Chang, light is the most powerful cue for shifting and resetting the clock of our circadian rhythms. And though we know – and sometimes choose to forget – that the blue light emitted from our electronic devices makes it harder to fall asleep, we still choose to scroll long after we’ve clocked off. Try thinking bigger and setting some ambience at least a half-hour before bed, by turning off the lights, and lighting your favourite scented candles to set a mood throughout your abode.