Blow some bubbles
lithian/shutterstock Martin Rawls-Meehan, CEO and founder of the sleep technology company Reverie, shares this technique with his clients, because blowing bubbles activates a similar mechanism to taking deep, meditative breaths. “It also has the effect of redirecting your thoughts from the worrying to the more lighthearted. The act of blowing bubbles reminds us of the joy of childhood, which is a good way to de-stress,” says Meehan. Try these other relaxation techniques to wind down before bed.
sguler/iStock This technique, developed by Andrew Weil, MD, director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, is something Harley Sears, a consulting hypnotist, teaches his clients when they are looking for ways to get to sleep. All it takes is three steps. First, breathe in deeply through your nose for four seconds. Then hold your breath for seven seconds. Then exhale through your mouth for eight seconds. Repeat this process four times. Why does it work? “This exercise allows the lungs to become fully charged with air, allowing more oxygen to be circulated throughout the body, which promotes a state of relaxation,” says Sears. For maximum benefit, practice this technique twice a day. Learn more about the trick that will help you fall asleep in 60 seconds flat.
Try sleep restriction therapy
Tinatin1/iStock Restrict sleep to get more sleep? It’s all about setting a sleep cycle. Sleep restriction therapy is actually a behavioral treatment for insomnia that limits your time in bed to the actual time of sleeping. Less time in bed can result in mild sleep deprivation at first but it can also help promote an earlier sleep onset. “This earlier sleep onset should decrease the insomnia and then give the patient confidence in his ability to regain natural sleep,” says Damon Raskin, MD, who specializes in sleep medicine and is affiliated with Concierge Choice Physicians. How does it work? The patient keeps a sleep journal for one to two weeks and records the average time slept plus 30 minutes. For the next two weeks, the patient limits his time in bed to that average sleep time, using a fixed bedtime and wake time. If all goes well and the patient feels good, the schedule stays in place. If the patient feels tired during the day, he should add 15 minutes to the time in bed, with 15 minutes added each week until the patient feels well rested after a night’s sleep. “Research has showing sleep restriction therapy is an effective tool for insomnia, but again, it can take several weeks to see positive results, and during that time, it requires strict dedication to amount of time spent in bed. So you might feel sleepy when you start out, but it should lead to a more efficient sleep period,” says Dr. Raskin. Check out these other effective ways to clean up your sleep habits.