By Jessica Girdwain
What do you do when you’re lying awake staring at the alarm clock? Try these expert tips on how to survive a sleepless night.
1. Practice mindful breathing
Sit quietly and focus on taking deep breaths. When your mind wanders, return your focus to your inhales and exhales. Research shows this helps stop your mind from racing and lessens insomnia symptoms.
2. Try self-massage
Twice-weekly rubdowns helped the women in a Brazilian study drift off quicker, improve their sleep quality and wake up feeling more refreshed.
Using as dim a light as possible, pick up a paper book or magazine (avoid e-readers, which emit blue light). Aim for a relaxing read, not a page-turner that keeps you wide-eyed.
4. Tidy up
Some light, monotonous cleaning (like dusting or straightening up your desk, not rearranging the fridge or scrubbing baseboards) can be soothing, making you rest-ready.
5. Do yoga
The relaxing practice is associated with better-quality sleep, according to new research. Get up and perform a few gentle stances, like the child’s pose or corpse pose, to unwind.
6. Relax your muscles
Starting at your toes, tense and release your muscles, working your way up to your face. This method, called progressive muscle relaxation, helped lull insomniacs to sleep in a study in the Journal of Cognitive and Behavioral Psychotherapies.
7. Turn on tunes
In a Dutch study review, music helped participants relax enough to improve sleep quality. Light tunes before bed (think smooth jazz) cue your body to wind down.