If you have trouble falling asleep, you are not alone. According to the American Sleep Association, one in three adults occasionally suffers from insomnia with one in 10 experiencing insomnia chronically.
Falling asleep requires a relaxed mind and body, which not surprisingly can be challenging in our always-on-the-go lives. Next time you are laying awake try one of these surprisingly simple, science-based tips for a better night’s rest.
1. Make It Dark
It sounds simple enough, but light has a big impact on our internal clocks. According to Harvard Medical School, “exposure to light in the late evening tends to delay the phase of our internal clock and lead us to prefer later sleep times.”
2. Dunk Your Face In Ice Cold Water
Dunking your face in ice cold water may seem against reason, but it actually helps to lower your heart rate and blood pressure. The effect, called the Mammalian Dive Reflex, works by resetting your nervous system, which helps you calm down.
3. 4-7-8 Breathing Trick
This yoga-inspired breathing technique claims to calm you down and put you to sleep within 60 seconds. Learn how to do this breathing exercise here.
4. Blow Bubbles
Sounds silly right? That may be part of why it works so well, according to researcher Rachel Marie E. Salas, M.D., a professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Blowing bubbles acts as a breathing exercise and also helps take your mind off sleep-prohibiting worries.
5. Lower Your Room Temperature
Optimal room temperature for sleep is between 60 and 68 degrees. Temperatures that fall too far below or above that range can lead to restlessness.
6. Hide Your Clock
Lisa Meltzer, an education scholar for the National Sleep Foundation told Huffington Post, “If you stare at the clock, it increases your stress and worry about not falling asleep.” Her advice: Hide it.
7. Force Yourself To Stay Awake
The harder you try to fall asleep, the harder it becomes, according to a study from the University of Glasgow. Participants in the study who tried to stay awake with their eyes open fell asleep faster than those who took the more traditional route to falling asleep with their eyes closed.
8. Wear Socks To Bed
According to a study published in the journal Nature, warm feet promote the rapid onset of sleep. So grab a pair of socks and get to bed.
9. Keep Your Phone Out Of Sight
Our phones may be the first place we turn when sleep is alluding us, but the blue light is actually preventing the release of melatonin, which is vital to sleep.
10. Read A Book
If your mind is turning while you’re trying to get to sleep, try reading. Research by Mindlab International at the University of Sussex showed that reading reduced stress by as much as 68 percent. Lead researcher, Dr. David Lewis said “losing yourself in a book is the ultimate in relaxation.” The research found reading lowered subjects’ heart rates and tension better than taking a stroll, listening to music or drinking a cup of tea.