If counting sheep isn’t quite working for you and you often find yourself lying awake at night, thinking about how much sleep you aren’t getting, you aren’t alone. Plenty of people spend their nights lying awake, wishing they could just fall asleep.

Sleeplessness can be caused by numerous things including: significant life stress, emotional or physical discomfort, as well as factors in your environment that could be affecting your sleep quality including noise, light, temperature, etc. Some medications might cause sleep to be interrupted as well. Luckily, as long as your insomnia isn’t resulting from an underlying health condition, these following tips may help you out on those sleepless nights.

4-7-8 Exercise

This fairly unknown technique is very simple to master, takes very little time and can be done wherever you are trying to sleep be it in a bed, plane, train or automobile.

Steps

Place the tip of your tongue against the tissue that is behind and above your upper front teeth. This is where it will stay for the entire exercise.

Exhale through your mouth, and attempt to make a “whooshing” sound as you exhale.

Shut your mouth and inhale through your nose, while counting to four in your head.

Hold your breath for seven seconds.

Breath out completely through your mouth while counting to eight in your head. Make the same type of “whooshing” noise you made previously.

This ends the cycle. Repeat and go through the steps a total of three more times.

The concept basically revolves around the idea of your body taking in more oxygen,  then gives your body time to fully absorb the oxygen and get it into the bloodstream, and the exhale slows down the heart rate and releases carbon dioxide from the lungs. This method is said to help people fall asleep in 60 seconds or less, and people that have given it a try note that it often works so quickly that they don’t even remember completing the entire exercise. The method was developed by wellness practitioner Dr. Andrew Weil, and can also be applied to other instances such as stressful or anxiety filled times throughout the day.

Switch Off/Rinse Off

We spend so much our day go-go-going, it can be helpful to take an hour before bedtime to just wind down. Turn off the phone, flip off the Netflix, and just let your body relax. Don’t bring the Smartphone into the bedroom. Our brains need a break from the constant buzzing. Take a shower before bed, which helps your body temperature to drop, which can trigger sleepiness. It is also said that putting on socks may help. A cooler core temperature and warm extremities make for an ideal temperature for sleeping.

Exercise

When you spend time moving during the day, it makes it much easier to sleep at night. It reduces stress levels. The only thing you need to remember is try not to exercise within three hours of bedtime, as the adrenaline might keep you awake.

Get Into A Routine

If you follow the same process every night leading up to bedtime, your brain will start to recognize that it’s time for sleep, whether your routine includes a hot bath or an intriguing book. Regardless of what it is, keep it the same every night, and you’ll likely have an easier time falling asleep.

Don’t Lie Awake

If you can’t fall asleep within 30 minutes, then it’s best to just get out of bed until you are actually tired instead of lying there thinking about how much you aren’t sleeping. Get out of bed, but do something calming (that doesn’t involve a screen), such as reading, doing the dishes or listening to classical music.

If chronic sleeplessness remains an issue despite trying these tips, tricks and everything else in between, it’s best to check with your doctor to discuss other possible causes and solutions. 

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