You’ve darkened your bedroom. It’s quiet. You’ve set the temperature to a comfortable 68 degrees. You’ve avoided eating or exercising before bedtime. You get adjusted regularly to quiet down your nervous system. You’ve avoided the blue light emitted by your digital device. It’s time to fall asleep.
If you’re someone who has difficulty getting to sleep each night, you’re not alone. Millions of people worldwide admit to some type of sleep problem. Sleep insufficiency can contribute to a variety of chronic diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity, as well as cancer, increased mortality, and reduced quality of life and productivity.
Once you’re lying down, think about anything but falling asleep. Here are some helpful suggestions:
1. Starting at your toes and slowly moving towards your head, focus on contracting and relaxing your muscles. Repeat as needed.
2. Count your breaths. Become mindful of each inspiration and expiration as you become aware of the subtle changes of your lungs expanding and contracting.
3. Visualize some type of repetitive action, such as swinging a baseball bat, digging with a shovel or the classic, all-time favorite, counting sheep.
Naturally, getting stressed about falling asleep is the quickest way to stay awake. If slumber evades you, get out of bed and read a book. You may also resolve to get more exercise or consider chiropractic care.