One simple trick to help you fall asleep faster that takes less than a minute!
Many of us are familiar with this scenario:
You wake up tired, like you do on most days. You really could use another hour or two of sleep. You throw your feet over the side of the bed and start your day. You’ll make up for lost sleep tonight. But when bedtime comes and you hit the sack, you are not sleepy. You should be, but you aren’t. You know you are sleep deprived, and that you need to fall asleep now. Or at least very soon, if your plan to get a good night’s sleep is going to succeed.
Your head isn’t cooperating.
You have “busy head.” Your body may feel exhausted, but your mind is still very active. You can’t seem to snuff out the mile-a-minute thinking that has you so alert.
Here’s what I often do, and it takes less than a minute. I do this in bed, under the covers with my head on the pillow (a natural sleeping position). You can try it, too:
- Close your eyes.
- Inhale through your nose.
- Fill your belly, rather than your chest, with each deep breath.
- Exhale through your mouth, slowly.
- Purse your lips so the exhale comes out just like you were blowing on hot soup on a spoon.
- Repeat for five complete cycles.
That’s it! If it sounds simple, that’s because it is!
This type of breathing is one of the few ways to consciously relax yourself. It will lower your blood pressure, slow your heart rate, slow your breathing rate, and put a damper on those racing thoughts.
What if it doesn’t work? Sometimes that happens for me. I do it and then I’m back to my busy thoughts. Wait a few minutes, and then try again! Sometimes one round just isn’t enough.
There’s nothing to lose, not even time. It only takes about 40 seconds.
- Focus on your breathing. Visualize cool blue air coming in and going out, if that helps.
- Don’t worry about relaxing, and don’t worry about those thoughts. Relaxation takes care of itself. You just work on the breathing.
- Experiment! If five cycles doesn’t do it for you, try seven.
- Trust the process. Sometimes it doesn’t seem to work immediately, but a few minutes later my eyelids get heavy and my thoughts start turning to nonsense and then I know I am on my way.
- You can do this any time. If you wake up in the night and “busy head” comes back, you can start the breathing exercise all over again — and get back to sleep.
Check out more tips from Coach Mandy on how to sleep better. Good luck!