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- Self-Help for Sleep Issues & Sleeplessness
How To Relax and Fall Asleep Quickly
Have you ever had trouble falling asleep at night? Most people do. We have so much stuff going on in our lives that it seems like there isn't enough time to sleep. Staying up all night is not good for our heatlh; our brain needs time to recover from its day at work just like we do. So, if you need to fall asleep quickly, here are some tricks that I have learned from much research during my sleepless nights.
Relaxing Your Body
A huge part of being able to fall asleep is being able to relax. Take a deep breath, hold it for 3-5 seconds, and then release it. Do this a few times and you will be a little more relaxed. I also like to relax certain parts of my body one area at a time. I start from the top of my head and work down. I relax my forehead, then my eyes, then my cheeks, then my tongue, and then my jaw. I then relax my neck and shoulders. Working down I relax my upper arm, then my forearm, and then my hands and fingers.
Next is my chest, this can sometimes be hard to relax. Sometimes if you are having trouble relaxing a certain part of your body, it can help to imagine that you are a piece of chocolate or caramel and that you are melting per se. Imagine a spot on the area you are trying to relax starting to get warmer and warmer and spreading throughout the area. It may take a little while to imagine how this would feel, but once it works you will definitely be able to tell.
After my chest I relax my stomach using the melting chocolate technique (this is just what works for me, there are many other ways). After my stomach, I relax my thighs, then my lower legs, then my feet and toes. After this, I sweep over my body again making sure everything is relaxed.
Another reason this works for trying to go to sleep is because you are fixating your mind on a simple task and aren't allowing it to worry about everything that is going on. Worrying about stuff will just make your body tense up and cause you to take awhile to fall asleep. So, besides, relaxing your body, you need to relax your mind as well.
Relaxing Your Mind
Relaxing your mind is just as important as relaxing your body. Your body can be as relaxed as possible, but if your mind is not slowing down, chances are you will not fall asleep as quickly as you want. So some tips to relax your mind are as follows:
1. Count backwards from 100
I do this if I get really desperate, and usually it works. I count down from 100 in my head, taking a deep breath and releasing it every time I am saying a number. For example, I will take a deep breath, say 100 in my head, release the breath, take a deep breath, say 99 in my head, release the breath, take a deep breath, say 98 in my head, release the breath etc. If there is too much time between taking the breath, saying the number, and then releasing the breath and you start thinking about things other than numbers, then every time you take a breath and release a breath say a number. For example, take a breath, think 100, release the breath, think 99, take a breath, think 98, release the breath, think 97, etc. If you make it all the way down to 0, start over, or you can try the next trick.
2. Imagine a simple dream
This is another trick to get your mind off of the events of the day you just had and the day you are going to have tomorrow. I usually imagine little scenarios in my head like talking to my friends about certain things, or talking to my boyfriend, or floating in a lake. Simple things that can turn into a dream. As I go on thinking about the scenario, it becomes more complex and usually is what I end up dreaming about. So, not only can you calm your mind and go to sleep, you can sometimes control what you will initially be dreaming about! It doesn't really matter what you think about, as long as it is something enjoyable, relaxing, and easy to think about.
3. Think about nothing
This is one I find extremely hard to do, but I know some people who can do this and it helps them. All you do is either stare at the ceiling or close your eyes and just relax your mind and think of absolutely nothing. Eventually something will pop into your mind, but you just push it away and continue thinking of nothing. I have not succeeded in doing this, but I thought this may benefit at least one person reading this so I figured I would include it.
Sort Through Everything
Sometimes just writing down what I am worrying about and what I need to do the next day helps. Getting it out can calm your mind and cause you not to think of it as much. So write or type down what happened that day, what you are worrying about, anything anyone said that upset you, anything that made you nervous, or anything that got you excited. You can also make a list of the things you need to do the next day. Whether it is chores, projects at work, or schoolwork, writing it down (or making a mental list) can not only help you to organize yourself for the day ahead, but also calm yourself and let yourself know that you are on top of things, so there is no need to worry.
Another method is to tell yourself that right now you have done everything that you needed to do for the day and that you can push everything to tomorrow. It is your time to sleep and relax and not worry about anything. The worrying can be saved for tomorrow whenever you are more alert and refreshed from sleeping. If you find yourself worrying still, just keep repeating this until you believe it. If you have specific things you can say to yourself to make it more believable, add them. For example, tomorrow you have to wash the car, pick up your prescription, go to the grocery store, and do English and math homework. Tell yourself, "I have done everything that I needed to do for today, everything else can wait till tomorrow. Right now I don't have to wash the car or pick up my prescription or go to the grocery store or do homework. That can wait till tomorrow, this is my time for sleep." A lot of the time this helps for me to calm down and stop worrying about all the things that I need to do.
The last way that I can make myself fall asleep quickly, is to find relaxation videos on YouTube. There are tons of them. There are entire communities of whisper relaxation videos, softly-spoken relaxation videos, ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) videos, Role-play (like doctor visits, travel agent visits, makeup consultant visits, etc.) videos, and many more. The sounds of their voices can help to relax you and make you fall asleep. There have been countless times when I have fallen asleep to one of these videos. Some of them I have not even heard the end of because I fell asleep during it. They really work miracles for me sometimes and I will put links to some of my favorite YouTube videos down below.
I hope you try some of these tricks if you are like me and have trouble sleeping at night. If you have any ways to help you fall asleep, please don't hesitate to post a comment! It could benefit someone and help them find a surefire way to fall asleep.