Did you clock eight hours last night?
Probably not, if you’re among the 1 in 3 Americans that don’t get enough sleep, according to a February 2016 CDC study.
So if you’re not getting some serious shut eye, hit the pillow with these tips from experts, editors and everyone in between.
1. Cool down
Cranking up the fan or the air con might cost you a bit, but it works to lower your body temperature and help you drift off. You may think that a warm, cozy room is where it’s at for good sleep but it’s actually a colder room that makes it easier to slip off to dreamland. The perfect temp? Between 15 to 20 degrees Celsius, according to research.
2. Slink into some silk
Try switching your cotton pillowcase for silk. “Silk contains a natural protein that assists in regulating your body temperature, helping you get off to sleep,” says co-founder of the The Goodnight Co, Shea Morrison. And if it’s allergies keeping you awake, the fibres are tightly woven, working to repel live allergens like bed mites, dust and pollen, meaning you can rest easy.
3. Sleep outside
Pack the car and go camping. US researchers from the University of Colorado found a couple days in the great outdoors can reset your circadian rhythm and help you get more sleep. How? Being exposed to increased light during the day and a lack of light after dark plays a role in realigning your circadian clock, the internal system that tells your body when it’s time to go to sleep and when it’s time to wake up.
If you’re not into braving the wild, start by trying to increase your exposure to natural light during the day and decrease the amount of electric light you see at night.
4. Get warm
You know that feeling when you can’t get to sleep on a hot night? Blame your core body temperature.
According to Dr. Andrew Rochford, having a hot bath or a hot shower just before bed is the trick. “Even though you’re artificially raising your body temperature, when you get out and you get into bed your body temp still has to come down to normal, which makes you feel sleepy.”
With research by Koala finding 21% of us describe our sleep as poor, but only 3% try having a bath before bed, it’s worth a shot.
5. Scroll back
Stressing about that email you sent keeping you awake? Try replaying your day in reverse. Rewind through what you ate for dinner, the commute home from work, what happened this morning, etc. It sounds counterintuitive, but the mental effort of remembering every single thing you did that day can make you sleepy.
6. Breathe easy
Counting sheep is done, it’s all about the 4-7-8 technique now. This yoga-inspired breathing trick helps you fall asleep by acting as a natural tranquiliser for the nervous system. It involves a lot of heavy breathing, which moves more oxygen into the body, thus relaxing the parasympathetic nervous system.
Here’s how: rest your tongue gently on the ridge of tissue behind your upper front teeth, then inhale quietly for a count of four through your nose, hold your breath for a count of seven, and then exhale with a whooshing sound for a count of eight through your mouth (it works a treat for our Video Editor, Jane, too.)
7. Tense up
Tensing up may seem counterproductive, but a little progressive muscle relaxation can do the trick. Hop into bed, get comfortable and start focusing on your feet. Curl your toes, hold for a few seconds and uncurl. Then move up to your calves, then your thighs, your hands, and so on. Repeat this movement to help relax any tension you’re holding on to.
8. Lounge out
Sometimes a change of scenery is as good as a hotel holiday. If you’ve been lying there for more than 20 minutes, get out bed and go to another room. Sleeping on the lounge is a flatmate faux pas, but if it does the trick, then you can apologise to them later (which our entertainment editor, Hannah, often does.)
9. Avoid pre-snooze booze
A glass of red wine (or three) might help you drop off, but it doesn’t necessarily equal rested sleep, says Dr Amy Reynolds.
“While it may seem like you fall asleep quickly when you’ve had a few drinks, alcohol disrupts your sleep overnight and is more likely to make you feel unrefreshed in the morning,” she warns. Got it.
thumbnail courtesy of nypost.com