Health

5 Steps to a Good Night’s Sleep

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We’re all aware of the importance of sleep, but it’s not always easy to drop off naturally and get a full eight hours. Take a look at our expert advice on curing sleepless nights to achieve better quality sleep and fast. 

How to Fall Asleep in 5 Minutes

Good quality sleep is vital for your health and wellbeing. “It helps to improve your energy levels, concentration, and memory, with some studies even showing that regularly sleeping well could help to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease,” says clinical hypnotherapist Fiona Lamb. “Sleep allows your body to repair itself, so your immune system is stronger and you’re able to fight off bugs and diseases.”

If you struggle to fall asleep at night, or wake up often during the night, it can be very frustrating. “So many of us find it hard to switch off because we’re feeling worried or we’re wrestling with an overactive mind which disturbs our sleep,” says Fiona. But a few simple tricks can help you turn off your mind’s chattering, ease your stress levels and get you to sleep soundly in just a few minutes.

The Body Scan

Tense shoulders or a knot in your stomach could be a sign of stress and could keep you awake. “Using a relaxation technique called a tension body scan helps you to understand where you hold stress in your body and allows you to release it,” says Fiona. 

“When your body is relaxed, it helps your mind relax which will help you to fall asleep,” she says. All you have to do it is squeeze and relax each muscle in your body. Start at your toes and move up your body, turning your attention to each part of your body in turn.

Focus on your breathing.

“Slowing down your breath could help to slow down your heart rate, triggering your parasympathetic nervous system, lowering your adrenaline levels (which keeps you awake), and helping you switch off mentally and physically,” says Fiona. “You don’t have to focus on breathing in and out for a certain count, just focus on slow, soft breaths to help you relax.” 

Hum to yourself.

Admittedly, this works better if you sleep by yourself, but humming a tune could help you to fall asleep faster. “Studies have shown that the vibrations of humming can relax you,” says Fiona. “It can also act as a distraction from anything unwanted that pops into your mind. Be sure to choose a song that isn’t too fast, or reminds you of anything emotional.”

Roll your eyes backwards.

“You can simulate the same eye movement you experience in sleep by rolling your eyes upwards and back,” says Fiona. If you do this three times you will automatically feel yourself going into a deeper relaxation. 

Visualize

If you’re still awake, it’s time to use your imagination. “Imagine going back to a time you felt deeply relaxed and content,” suggests Fiona. “This works best when you use at least three senses so think about what you saw, felt, smelled or tasted and keep focused on that memory until you drop off.” 

What do your dreams really mean? Ever wondered what the significance of your dreams are? Find out here what your brain is trying to tell you and how to act upon your dreams. 

This article originally appeared on our sister site, Yours.

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