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The Trick to Falling Asleep—and Staying Asleep All Night

You know how it goes: You are yawning when you change intopyjamas and can barely keep youreyes open when you apply yourovernight face mask. But once yourhead hits the pillow, your mindshifts into overdrive and you cantfall asleep.

Its one of the most commoncomplaints we hear from our clients,says Sarah Webb, co-ownerof Modern + Mindful, a mobilemeditation company in Calgary.They cant fall sleep or wake up at3 a.m. with a racing mind and ittakes them two hours to get backto sleep.

There are, of course, some serioushealth issues associated withnot getting enough zzzs. Impairedmemory, poor decision-makingskills, stress and an increased riskof diabetes, heart disease andother chronic illnesses are just afew of the pitfalls of having anongoing sleep problem.

But the answer could be as simpleas taking just a few deepbreaths. Regular meditation hasbeen shown to improve both qualityand quantity of sleep. According to research published in theJournal of the American MedicalAssociation, learning mindfulmeditation can significantlyimprove the sleep of middle-agedpeople who suffer from insomnia.

After just four to six weeks ofdaily meditation (and as little as10 minutes a day), Webb says herclients reported a markedimprovement in their trips todreamland. For starters, meditationhelps you focus on sleep whenits time for bed. Meditation is agreat way to fine-tune your abilityto focus, and that keeps you fromfeeling like your mind is scatteredand going in eight directions atonce, says Webb. This is helpful during the day and especially atbedtime, when you really need tozero in on relaxation so that yourmind and body can rest. Yourbrain will learn how to be in thepresent, which translates to muchbetter sleep quality, she says.

The counterbalance to thisfocus is being better able to letthings go. Its training your mindto focus on the present moment,not future worries, past stressorsor that never-ending to-do list,says Webb. Just use your breathingto bring your mind into thepresent and recognize that youreready to sleep.

3 Techniques to Get You Back to Sleep at 3 A.M.

If you wake up in the middle of the nightand have trouble getting back to sleep,these tricks are sure to help you nod off.Try them individually or together when you wake up or right from the get-goat bedtime to help you score a betternights sleep.

1. Let your worries float away.

Visualize any thoughts that are keepingyou awake as drifting away on a leaf ona river or blowing away on a cloud in thesky. You can even try to imagine a gianthand coming into your mind, grabbing those thoughts and pushing them out,says Webb. Different images work betterfor different people, so you can experimentwith what works best for you.

2. Count it out.

Getting back to sleep doesnt have tobe complicated; it can be as simple ascounting your breaths. It really goesback to counting sheep as a child, saysWebb. Theres something about themeditative, relaxing nature of counting.

3. Have a lesson.

Some people find it helps to have some background sounds to focus on whilethey drift off to dreamland. You can tryspa or nature sounds or follow a guidedsleep meditation (or try one of these products).One we like is the Insight timer App.You can choose the length of instrumentalmusic or meditation youd like to listento so that it shuts off once you doze offinstead of playing all night long. Plus, ifyou stick to the same track every nightwhen youre falling asleep, this can helptrain your brain to get you into the sleepzone sooner, says Webb.

sleep mask

This eye mask contains aremovable herbal insert so thescent of lavender and chamomilecan lull you to sleep.

Saje eyeshade, $13, saje.com

Next, check out these natural sleep remedies that actually work.

The post The Trick to Falling Asleep—and Staying Asleep All Night appeared first on Best Health Magazine Canada.

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