11 Ways to Trick Yourself to Fall Alseep & Cure Insomnia

The next time you are lying awake in bed, try our expert natural tips for getting the sandman to visit.

Most of us know that a hot, milky drink and a warm bath are supposed to relax you before bedtime, but many people still can’t slip into slumber.

Ten million doctor’s prescriptions for sleeping pills are drawn up every year in England alone and a survey by Crampex has found that 86 % of us suffer from sleep disturbance.

You can trick yourself to sleep by trying these expert natural tips …

Inhale through the left nostril

This yoga method is thought to reduce blood pressure and calm you. Holistic sleep consultant Peter Smith says: “Lie on your left side, resting a finger on your right nostril to close it. Start gradual, deep breathing in the left nostril.” Peter, writer of Sleep Better With Natural Therapies , says this technique is particularly good when overheating or menopausal hot flushes are causing insomnia.

Squeeze and loosen up

Relaxing all your muscles can prepare your body for sleep. Anxiety professional Charles Linden says: “Lying on your back, take a deep, slow breath in through your nose and, concurrently, squeeze your toes tightly as though you are trying to curl them under your foot, then release the squeeze.”.

The author of Stress Free in 30 Days adds: “On another slow breath, curl your foot up toward your knee, then release. Breath again, tighten your calf muscles, then your thighs, buttocks, abdomen, chest, arms, and so forth until you have moved all the way up your body, squeezing and releasing the muscles one at a time.”.

When you have gone from head to toe, your breathing should be stable and you should feel ready for bedtime.

Try to stay awake.

Challenge yourself to stay awake and your mind will rebel! It’s called the sleep paradox, says psychotherapist Julie Hirst. She explains: “Keep your eyes wide open, repeat to yourself ‘I will not sleep’. The brain doesn’t process negatives well, so it interprets this as an instruction to sleep and eye muscles tire quickly as sleep creeps up.”.

Rewind your day.

Remembering the typical detail in reverse order clears your mind of anxieties. Sammy Margo, author of The Good Sleep Guide says: “Recall conversations, sights and sounds as you go. It helps you to reach a psychological state that’s ready for sleep.”.

Roll your eyes.

Sammy says that closing your eyes and rolling the balls up three times should do the job. She says: “It simulates what you do naturally when you fall asleep and may help bring about the release of your sleepy hormone, melatonin.”.

Just imagine.

Visualisation meditation works better when you use at least three senses. Sammy explains: “Imagine yourself in a scenario where you feel comfortable at a tropical paradise, sailing on calm waters, or walking in flower fields.

“As you explore your ‘happy place’ imagine smelling flowers, feeling grass or sand under your feet and hearing water lap against the boat. You should soon feel relaxed and drift off.”.

Hum to yourself.

This yoga meditation develops an all-pervading sense of calm, says Dr Chris Idzikowski, Edinburgh Sleep Centre Director and author of Sound Asleep, The Expert Guide To Sleeping Well.

Sit in a comfortable position. Close your eyes, drop your shoulders, relax your jaw, but keep your mouth gently closed. Breathe in through your nose as deeply as is comfortable, ensuring your abdominal muscles, not chest, rises.

Dr Idzikowski says: “Breathe gently from your mouth, lips together so you hum. Try to hum for the whole out-breath. Notice how it vibrates in your upper body. Focus fully on this vibration over six breaths then sit quietly for a moment. Tell yourself ‘I am ready for sleep’, get up slowly and go to bed.”.

Press here!

There are special points in the body which promote sleep when pressed gently but firmly. Dr Idzikowski suggests: “Put your thumb on the point between your eyebrows on top of your nose, where there’s a slight indent. Hold for twenty seconds, release briefly and repeat twice more.

“Next, sit on the edge of the bed and put your right foot across your left knee. Find the slight indent between your big toe and second toe and press in the same way.

“Finally, still supporting your right foot, find the point just below the nail on the upper side of your second toe. Using the thumb and forefinger of your right hand, gently squeeze the toe.”.

Find your trigger.

The key to this method is to start the habit as you drift off during a period when you are sleeping well, then you can use it when you have difficulty.

Do something out of the ordinary, such as stroking your own cheek, as you nod off, says hypnotherapist Sharon Stiles (sharonstiles.co.uk). “Focus all your attention on what the movement feels like,” says Sharon. Over consecutive nights, your body will learn to associate it with sleep and repeating it should convince your body it’s sleepy.

Take a breather.

Breathing naturally slows as you fall asleep. The NightWave Sleep Assistant, from nightwave.co.uk, projects a soft blue light, which slowly rises and falls on the ceiling. Synchronise your breathing with the wave as it becomes slower and you should fall asleep within a 7 minute cycle,.

Make a worry list.

Going over a to-do list in bed is a main cause of insomnia. Sharon Stiles says: “Often it’s because you’re frightened of forgetting what needs doing. Before bed, write your list on paper so you can forget it until next day. You could also imagine filing your thoughts in a container. You’ll be calmer and more probable to sleep.”.

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