Did you know, according to Consumer Reports on Why Americans Can’t Sleep, that 68% – or an estimated 164 million Americans – struggled with sleep at least once per week?
So, if you are part of that 164 million, don’t worry – you’re certainly not alone.
Not being able to fall asleep – or stay asleep at night is miserable. So, instead of saying “Hey just suck it up and try to count sheep!” I hope to provide you with some meaningful and helpful tips for getting a good night’s rest.
Here are 3 very simple and practical tips to enjoy restful sleep every night.
- Practice meditation for a short time prior to laying down.
New to meditation? Not a problem. You certainly don’t need to have the meditating abilities of a Zen Master to get good sleep. Meditation can be difficult to get the hang of! Especially with all of those racing thoughts flying in and out of your mind.
To begin, simply sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and try to focus on your breath. If any unwanted thoughts come to mind, whether they be thoughts of work, school, relationships, or anything else… don’t be upset! Just recognize the thought, then gently move your attention back to your breath.
This is very helpful in eliminating racing thoughts prior to laying down to sleep. I mean… when it comes to falling asleep, I would say the number one thing causing many to stay awake is either ruminating on the day’s events or anxiously running through the tasks and demands that will come tomorrow.
So, by taking some time to slow down and calm your mind, you are preparing for a great night of sleep!
- Practice deep breathing through your stomach.
There are so many reasons why practicing deep breathing can be beneficial to you. But, to stay along with the topic of sleep…
When you breathe in through your nose, hold for a couple of seconds at the top, and breathe slowly out of your mouth, you are activating a very important nerve in your body called the Vagus Nerve.
The Vagus Nerve is the largest Parasympathetic Nerve in your body and, when activated, helps your brain and body to calm down into a recovery state.
Here is a simple breathing pattern to follow:
- Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down.
- Place on hand on your stomach while placing the opposite hand on your chest.
- Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds – while breathing in, expand your stomach out like a balloon. Keep your chest still.
- At the top of your breath, hold for 2 seconds.
- Slowly release the breath out of your mouth for 5-8 seconds (the longer, the better)
- At the bottom of your breath, hold for 2 seconds.
- Repeat for as long as you’d like!
The reason for the extended exhale is this: Your heart has a natural rhythm that it follows called Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia (RSA). As you breathe in, the sympathetic (fight or flight) branch of your Autonomic Nervous System takes over causing your heart rate to increase. As you breathe out, the roles reverse and the Parasympathetic (recovery, rest, digest) branch of your Autonomic Nervous System becomes dominant.
Naturally, when you’re trying to go to sleep, you want to have a lot of Parasympathetic activity going on. So, by practicing this form of breathing, you will activate that system and be on your way to a great night of sleep!
- Practice Gratitude
This may sound silly… but, when you practice gratitude, thankfulness, and contentment, you are able to relax and enter a restful state.
Think of it this way…
When you’re trying to fall asleep, would you say it is better to think about that awful meeting you had earlier? What about how your coworker forgot to do something they committed to doing?
Would you rather think about how thankful you are for your spouse? What about your health and safety? Or even the warm bed you’re about to get in!
Taking the time to write down 2-3 things that you are grateful for prior to going to sleep helps your brain reorganize its thought patterns around things that bring you joy. Naturally, this will help you rest peacefully.
So, if you have any questions, or are interested in learning more about how you can improve your sleep…
Visit www.tigerpi.com right now to request a free consult and discuss sleep and many other things with a Certified Tiger Representative.