In general, adults should try to get a minimum of seven hours of sleep every night. And the first part of the puzzle is falling asleep. Most individuals take between 5 and 20 mins to fall asleep. However, things like a bedroom that is too bright or anxiety can extend the length of time it takes to fall asleep.
Try these three sleep-expert-approved methods that will help you hit the hay without delay.
1. Know What Your Chronotype Is
Your chronotype is the body’s natural inclination to be awake and sleep at certain times: Usually, you’re either an evening type, morning type, or neither.
Your chronotype is in part determined by genetics, but it might be modified by activity, age, your environment and the change of seasons.
And getting on the right sleep schedule that will suit your chronotype could benefit your sleep. For example, if you intuitively rise when the sun comes up, consider changing your bedtime up so you can get sufficient sleep before your natural wake-up.
On the other side, adapting a sleeping cycle that isn’t lined up with your natural rhythms might mess with your ability to fall asleep and sleep quality. And chronic lack of quality sleep may lead to emotional and physical issues such as fatigue, mood swings, irritability, impaired alertness, diabetes, heart attack, higher risk for high blood pressure, stroke or heart failure.
2. Attempt Power-Down Hour
A power-down hour will help wrap up your day and get you ready to go to sleep before bedtime. It can help your body decompress and send the message that it will soon be time to fall asleep.
You can break up the hour into three 20-min sessions in the following way: In the first 20 mins, complete light, uncompleted tasks like feeding a pet or cleaning dishes. In the second 20 mins, do something that will help you wind down, like talking to a friend, journaling, or doing a relaxation technique like meditating or deep breathing. And for the last 20 minutes, try to focus on your personal hygiene by taking a warm bath or brushing your teeth.
3. Practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation
The Progressive muscle relaxation technique is where you contract and then relax your muscles to release tension.
Progressive muscle relaxation can be done by tensing your muscles in your toes and then releasing them and slowly working your way up your body. Every time you tense your muscles, hold it for about five secs, then relax for 30 secs before moving to the next body part.
This and other relaxation methods may help you improve the quality of your sleep by encouraging changes in your body such as slowing your breathing rate, lowering activity of stress hormones, decreasing chronic pain and muscle tension and reducing your blood pressure.
Author: Scott Dowdy