Britain is a nation of insomniacs.
According to the Sleep Council, 70% of us receive less than the recommended eight hours a night, which puts us at risk for serious illnesses such as obesity, heart disease, kidney disease, and night vision. hypertension, depression and diabetes.
About a third of Britons regularly sleep badly, costing the economy millions of dollars.
There are many old stories of women falling asleep, but here are some tips that have been proven to help you fall asleep.
There are a myriad of stories of old women preparing you for sleep, but KIM JONES has read the research to bring you the most effective treatment – and the most surprising. . .
Eat two kiwis
Kiwis are full of vitamin C and fiber and are a great food for sleep
Kiwis are not only full of vitamin C and fiber, but they can also be a superfood for sleep.
Scientists from the Taipei Medical University in Taiwan gave insomniacs two kiwis to eat one hour before bedtime. After four weeks, the volunteers fell asleep faster and slept better and longer.
The extremely high folate and antioxidant content of the fruit may be the cause. Insomnia is associated with low concentrations, and restless leg syndrome is also associated with low levels of folate.
Forget this nightcap
Alcohol helps you fall asleep faster. According to a review of scientific studies, it also helps you sleep well in the first half of the night.
However, these benefits are offset by increased sleep disturbance in the second half of the night. You are also more likely to snore and sweat and have to use the restroom in the middle of the night.
Wear amber glasses
Researchers at Columbia University in the United States have asked a group of insomniacs to wear amber glasses two hours before going to bed for seven nights.
Four weeks later, they were instructed to wear clear glasses for another seven years.
It turned out that they had on average about 30 minutes of longer and deeper sleep on nights when they had worn amber lenses.
Drink more water
Surprisingly, that glass of water that you had before you went is not the reason you woke up during the night. In fact, the reason is probably a slight dehydration.
You may find yourself waking up because your throat is dry. According to the Natural Hydration Council, women need about 2 liters of fluid a day and men of about 2.5 liters.
Take a bath of 21h
What helps is the drop in body temperature – a necessity for falling asleep – after bathing.
When you dive in hot water, the blood rises to the surface of the skin, but when you go out, these dilated blood vessels emit heat from the core of your body. This helps your temperature to drop quickly and encourages your brain to produce melatonin, a hormone that promotes drowsiness.
According to a study by Loughborough University, people who took hot baths at 9 pm slept faster and had a deeper sleep and a slower wave than those who took baths earlier in the day.
Wash your hands
Washing hands with lukewarm water can have the same effect as taking this bath.
Dry rather than mop up any moisture. As the water evaporates, the heat dissipates from the surface of the skin, helping to refresh your body.
Dropping the dishwasher and doing the dishes by hand helps the distressed mind
Doing the dishes by hand can calm the mind and decrease stress, according to a study by Florida State University.
People who did this "conscientiously", taking the time to smell the detergent and feel the temperature of the water on their skin, reported a 27% decrease in their anxiety level.
Massage your face
A 20-minute facial massage causes both general somnolence and a drop in blood pressure, according to a study published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.
Using a moisturizer or night cream, start applying pressure between your eyebrows. Then slide your fingers up, over and over your forehead, repeating several times. Then massage from the nose to the cheeks and ears, then from the mouth to the jaw. Finish with your neck, stroking the top of the clavicle.
Climb the wall!
Try yoga postures such as Viparita Karani (outstretched legs). It's simple and it's thought to help slow down the heart rate and encourage relaxation.
Start by sitting on the floor, one hip against the wall. Then turn your body to face the wall and, keeping your buttocks close to the wall, bring your legs against the wall while gently lowering your back to the floor.
If necessary, the knees can be slightly bent. Stay in this position for a few minutes.
Work through a window
Office workers sitting near a window slept an average of 46 minutes more each night during the work week than those who worked in windowless offices, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Exposure to natural light helps the body clock stay in step with the rhythms of daylight and darkness.
Likewise, a lack of sunlight can make us depressed or anxious, which can also lead to insomnia.
Trace back to classical music
For a study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, students listened to relaxing classical music for 45 minutes at bedtime each night for three weeks.
They all fell asleep earlier, slept better and longer, and had fewer depressive symptoms than those without music.
One study found that inhalation of lavender essential oil reduced blood pressure and heart rate.
The inhalation of lavender oil reduces blood pressure and heart rate
Another showed that people whose oil was scented with oil rated the quality of their sleep 20% better than those who slept in a room scented with a placebo.
Try spraying your pillow with a lavender spray, using a lavender diffuser before bedtime, or rubbing a few drops of oil on your wrists, neck, chest, or temples.
Or you can add a few drops to a warm flannel, then drop it on your face and inhale.
If not, put a few drops of lavender oil in your bath or attach a fresh lavender bough to the shower head; the hot water releases the essential oils of the plant.
Adults, as well as babies, find it soothing to be rocked.
Researchers at the University of Geneva found that adults who napped in a rocking bed (similar to a hammock) slept faster and had more brainwave activity associated with a deep and restful sleep. This suggests that a swaying motion helps to synchronize brain waves in a pattern associated with sleep.
You can either sit in a rocking chair just before going to bed or try this exercise: stand straight, feet shoulder-width apart. Then move your weight on your heels so that your toes are off the ground.
Then, move your weight on your toes so that your heels rise up.
Keep rocking gently and gently for a few minutes while breathing deeply. Then lie down.
Write a list of things to do
Just before the lights go out, write down everything that needs to be done in the next few days.
A study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology asked a group to spend five minutes writing a to-do list.
Another group had to write the tasks they had done in recent days.
Writing a to-do list can help reduce the time to fall asleep when you release your mind of any responsibility.
The group that wrote the task lists fell asleep after about 15 minutes, while the other group took 25 on average. The more detailed and precise the list, the more its creator falls asleep quickly.
"Unloading" in this way helps to free the mind of all responsibility and prevents the thoughts of all these chores from going around in your mind when you try to fall asleep.
Go 'forest-bathing & # 39;
It has been found that this Japanese practice – walking slowly in the woods or forests, observing nature and breathing the aroma of trees – helps to reduce stress levels, strengthens the immune system and improves people's mood. A study also found that walking in the woods improves the depth and quality of sleep.
… or take out
You can also use tree essential oils such as eucalyptus, Douglas fir and cedar wood in oil burners or diffusers.
Or put plants in your rooms. Studies have shown that just looking at foliage, roses and bonsai can reduce stress levels and relax the body and mind.
Drink green tea
SIP this during the day because it contains theanine amino acid, which has anti-stress effects. Some Japanese studies have shown that low-caffeinated beverages not only reduce stress, but also improve sleep quality.
Dangle like a doll
This is an easy stretching exercise that can calm your mind, dispel tension and help you relax.
Stand with your arms up, then bend in front of your hips, down to your toes. Hang on like a ragdoll.
Relax all your muscles and let your head hang heavily. Feel the tension relax from your shoulders. Stay hung as long as you feel comfortable, breathe slowly, letting your thoughts drift.
You can also try to sigh each time you exhale. Research has suggested that the act of sighing can actually relieve stress and muscle tension.
Meditation before bedtime
People who meditate enjoy a better and deeper sleep. There are two probable reasons for this.
The first is that regular meditation seems to make you feel less stressed. Another is that meditation can dramatically increase your production of melatonin, the hormone inducing sleep.
Try this meditation "100 steps" before going to bed. First, imagine that you are at the top of a gently sloping hill. Hot sun shines; Butterflies and quivering bees fly among the flowers. Start going down the hill counting from 100 and exhaling with every step.
Let your breathing come naturally – do not try to breathe faster or slower than usual, and do not worry if your mind goes astray.
Watch the flame
Trataka – or "yogic gaze" – consists of concentrating intensely on an object (usually a candle flame). Yoga experts claim that it will help you fall asleep.
First, light a candle. Sit a few meters away, with the flame almost level with your eyes (make sure there is no air currents for the flame to remain stable). Breathing normally, look at the flame without blinking as long as you can.
When thoughts enter your mind, be aware of them, then let them go, while staying focused on the flame. When you need to blink, close your eyes and you will see a lingering image of the flame inside your eyelids. When the image fades, start watching the flame again.
Forgetting to count sheep. Every night, write or say aloud five things that have been good for your day. They can be as simple as drinking a welcome cup of tea or making a bargain at the supermarket.
Psychological studies conducted by researchers at Canadian and British universities have shown that writing a "gratitude journal" or just thinking about when to sleep at what is good in your life can help you fall asleep faster and longer. .
Ditch blue light
Red light has a longer wavelength and less power to interfere with your sleep state than the blue light emitted by digital technology. So, if you use night lights, switch to red bulbs.
And buy digital radios or clocks with orange or red displays rather than those with white and blue light disrupting sleep
Walnuts contain melatonin, a sleep hormone
Snack with nuts
They contain melatonin, a sleep hormone. Eating more nuts will help increase the amount in the blood.
"I get put off so easily." The use of positive statements and affirmations like this could help change your self-sabotaging thoughts about sleep.
Our mind is constantly influenced by what people tell us. For example, if someone says to you "You look tired," you can start feeling that, even though you have felt awake until that moment.
In the same way, we can influence our minds so that it positively addresses sleep – to see it as something natural and achievable, not to worry about not having enough – in saying optimistic and encouraging.
Our brain is constantly forming new neural connections. By regularly repeating positive affirmations about sleep, we can create new pathways in the brain, reprogramming our minds for it to be otherwise. This is what is called neuroplasticity – the ability of the brain to change and adapt.
Tip: Affirmations must be in the present tense and must not contain any negative words, such as "can not" or "will not".
Try to address yourself to sentences such as the ones below, brushing your teeth before going to bed. Look at yourself in the mirror while you say it aloud or simply walk through your mind: "I can easily fall asleep slowly and peacefully" or "I easily fall asleep and stay peaceful all night".
Repeat these affirmations every night and several times a day to continue to convince your mind of your quality of sleep.
Laugh more during the day might help. A study published in the Korean Journal of Adult Nursing found that elderly people who sang fun songs and practiced "laughing exercises" improved their sleep. In Japan, another study showed that breastfeeding mothers who watched a comedy DVD had more melatonin, a sleep hormone, in their breast milk.
Ditch the sugar
According to a US study, a diet high in sugar can deprive you of sweet dreams, as peaks and the resulting blood glucose drop can cause agitation.
Relax the atmosphere
People living in areas highly polluted by air can be up to 60% more likely to sleep poorly than those living in areas where the air is purer.
This may be due to the fact that the pollution causes irritation of the nose and throat, which can affect sleep. Or maybe small particles get into the blood and affect sleep regulation in the brain.
Use an air purifier. Some have built-in sensors that activate them when the air quality decreases – for example, if there is an accumulation of traffic to the outside.
Bed linen not only absorbs sweat and body oils, but also contains dead skin cells: these are perfect foods for house dust mites, which can cause allergies and disrupt sleep.
Fresh leaves are one of the many techniques for falling asleep quickly and peacefully
A survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation in the United States found that 71% of people slept more comfortably at night on clean sheets. So wash every week at high temperatures.
Go bird watching
Spend five minutes watching the birds. This could be in a garden or park, or even just sitting by a window. A study published in the journal BioScience revealed that the more birds were seen, the less stressed or anxious they were.
Check your medications
Many commonly prescribed medications cause some people to have trouble sleeping. These include alpha-blockers and beta-blockers (used to fight high blood pressure); SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), for depression; and corticosteroids, used to treat inflammation and rheumatoid arthritis.
In addition, some over-the-counter medications contain caffeine. And some of the decongestants' ingredients can mimic the effects of adrenaline, causing nervousness, an accelerated heartbeat and insomnia.
If this worries you, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about any possible alternative or change the time of day when you take your medications.
Lower the temperature
Capsaicin, the active chemical that gives hot peppers their spicy heat, can raise body temperature. Preferably, have your meals spicy at lunch rather than in the evening.
In a study conducted by the University of Tasmania, volunteers used Tabasco sauce and mustard at dinner. Their body temperature increased and they took longer to fall asleep than usual, slept less and spent more time awake than normal.
Swedish art of balanced life
People who lived in crowded environments took longer to fall asleep and had poorer sleep quality than those who were not surrounded by "substance," according to a psychology study conducted at St. Lawrence University.
Try the Swedish principle of lagom, similar to Zen. Do not overload your room with unnecessary items or decoration.
An airy, spacious and cool atmosphere allows you to lie down and relax. Choose a neutral palette, echoing organic materials – gray, beige and cool whites.
Increase vitamin D
The lack of this vitamin is related to lack of sleep. A study of older men found that those with low levels had difficulty moving away and their sleep was restless. Another article, published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience, gave the vitamin to a sample of people with sleep disorders – and these have improved.
The main source of vitamin D is sunlight through its action on our skin. In autumn and winter, consider taking a supplement. Other sources are oily fish, cereal eggs, fruit juices and dairy products.
You can bounce
Even after a few bad nights of sleep, you can recover.
Scientists have discovered that the body has a smart system to help make up for short periods of sleep. He waits for us to go back to sleep, then make sure to spend less time in the clearer sleep phases and more in the deep sleep phases – those that restore us both physically and mentally.
222 Ways to Fool You to Sleep by Kim Jones is published by Piatkus at £ 12.99; © Kim Jones 2019. To order a copy priced at £ 10.39 (20% discount), visit mailshop.co.uk/books or call 0844 571 0640. Offer valid until March 23, 2019. p & p is free for orders over € 15. Spend £ 30 in pounds and get FREE premium shipping.