More than a quarter of Americans find it difficult to sleep at night, says a report published in The Lancet. If you have trouble staying awake during daytime, find yourself nodding off while driving, or struggle to focus on your work, the reason could be lack of adequate sleep at night. Long-term insomnia has been associated with serious health problems.
Below are some simple but effective tools that can help you get the sleep of your dreams and wake up feeling fresh.
A simple press: Apply pressure to the inside of your wrist, in line with your little finger. Press this with the thumb of your other hand, apply steady pressure for about 30 seconds, then release. Press again, and make gentle rotating movements with your thumb. You will feel your anxiety ease and your nerves relax. According to Chinese medicine, pressure points regulate the flow of essential energy through our body, thus helping to relax tense nerves. A friend practicing acupressure gave me this simple tip, and I find it effective every time I find it difficult to fall asleep.
An essential oil: Lavender is indeed a wonderful aid to good sleep. A research study conducted at Britain’s University of Southampton found that subjects slept 20% better when their room was diffused with lavender scent. Sprinkle just 3 drops of lavender essential oil on a clean handkerchief. Lie back on your pillow, and inhale. Soon, you will feel your eyes closing. Do also ensure that your bedroom is free of light and noise, and neither too hot nor too cold for comfortable sleep.
A spot of exercise: Ride a bike, pound the treadmill, or just take a brisk walk during the day. If you can maintain a gentle but regular exercise routine of 30-minute aerobics, at least thrice a week, you are likely to see dramatic improvement in the quality of your sleep within a few weeks. This is the result of a study published last year in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.
A meal: Instead of your regular dinner, try a bowl of oatmeal. Oats contain melatonin, which relaxes the body and invites sleep. Enjoy them with a fortified soy beverage or 1% milk, and you get a vitamin D boost that increases serotonin in the brain, assisting sleep.
A relaxation technique: It’s called the corpse pose, familiar to all those who practice yoga. This pose is ridiculously easy to do even if you have never tried yoga. All you have to do is lie down and play dead! Only, ensure that your limbs and muscles are not tense but relaxed as you do so. Here is a step-by-step guide to this wonderfully relaxing, sleep-promoting asana.
Try any or all of these–each of these tools is safe and good for your health in other ways too. Sleep well tonight.