Changes in sleep patterns do not happen overnight. It may be because of stress, excitement, work, travel, or even your favorite movie show! Regardless, lying awake all night with your eyes wide open always ends up with problems of being drowsy the next day, less productive, or groggy at work. We've all probably experienced it and how it affects our mental well-being and performance the next morning and maybe, in the mornings that follow!
Whether you are having occasional trouble sleeping, you might want to think about the root cause of why it happens. But before thinking of all the terrible things, save yourself the worries, and here are some ways you can do first when you are lying in bed unable to fall asleep.
Focus on your breathing
An article by Mind Body Green mentioned that anxiety levels go up and breathing tends to become shallow when we can't fall asleep or wake up in the middle of the night. So instead of being frustrated trying to count your time, pay attention to your breath and make sure it is deep and fulfilling. One way to do this is through the 4-7-8 method, which involves taking in a breath for four seconds, holding it for seven seconds, and breathing it out to the count of 8, then repeating this method until you fall asleep.
Many of us tend to get discouraged after minutes of closing our eyes, but remember that it takes 15 to 20 minutes before your body gets to wind down and fall asleep. So, lay back and try to have a series of slow, deep breaths before moving around or standing up.
If a clouded mind is the reason why you find it hard to fall asleep, then this may be of big help. This technique distracts your brain from thinking other thoughts and instead navigates you to a little mental concentration that allows your mind and body to wind down and feel sleepy. This monotonous act makes you unconscious of things that may have bothered you!
Take a warm shower
Research suggests a warm bath can help you unwind and fall asleep faster. Aside from it can signal your brain that it is time to fall asleep, we experience a decrease in our core body temperature where bathing plays an important role. It regulates your body temperature and helps your body relax and cool down, improving the quality of your sleep and increasing the total time spent asleep and how well-rested you will feel the next day.
Listen to soothing music
According to the Sleep Foundation, music improves sleep by calming parts of the autonomic nervous system, leading to slower breathing, lower heart rate, and reduced blood pressure. PLUS, it has a positive effect on our mood and helps distract us from thinking about stressors or triggering events that affect our ability to sleep faster.
Classical music, piano music, or orchestral music have meditation melodies that are relaxing and can help lower blood pressure. You may also want to try listening to the rhythmic, quiet sound of rain that has gone popular these days.
Consider taking melatonin
If you have tried every possible thing to fall asleep but still ended up full of energy, over-the-counter melatonin sleeping pills would save you the trouble of being awake all night. It is a naturally occurring hormone that helps promote feelings of sleepiness, which can take minutes to affect you depending on many factors.
However, this should be your last resort as becoming reliant on it may cause you to develop sleep problems or more!
Sleep is not the same for everyone. Some need more time than others, and others need just less. Schedules are also an important part that allows us to create a pattern and our bodies to familiarize ourselves with it. Regardless of how it is for anyone, it is important to remember that sleep is more than just about the number of hours you get laying on the bed, but is the feeling of being well-rested. It should be the kind that allows you to refreshen and regain your energy.
So, if you have been having trouble falling asleep for a long period of time, try consulting a sleep specialist to get the sleep you deserve and find out lifestyle changes that will work best for you.