Sleepless nights happen to everyone from time to time. Sometimes your brain simply can’t shut up long enough to allow you to fall asleep – probably because your busy going over the events of the day, or planning for the day ahead. With sleep deprivation proving to be a relatively serious problem in Australia (the Sleep Health Foundation reports that 33% – 45 % of Aussies have poor sleep patterns) perhaps some expert advice on how to combat this problem is in order.
Try to Stay Awake
Colin Espie, a professor of sleep medicine at the University of Oxford suggests using paradoxical thinking to trick your mind into falling asleep. According to him “If you give yourself the paradoxical instruction to stay awake instead, you’ll be more likely to fall asleep.” Since the brain doesn’t process negatives very well, repeating to yourself “I will not sleep” results in the opposite effect.
Distract Your Mind with Meaningless Details
UK sleep expert, Dr Neil Stanley recommends thinking of something else, rather than what’s worrying you. Preferably it should be something with a story to it. “It can be anything of interest, but of no importance,” he says, adding “I fly a lot, so I imagine I have my private jet and how would I arrange the furniture on it.”
Hum To Yourself
To achieve an all-pervading sense of calm D. Chris Idzikowski of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre suggests you use yoga meditation. Once you’re seated in a comfortable position, close your eyes and relax with your mouth gently closed, “Breathe gently out of your mouth, lips together so you hum. Try to hum for the full out-breath,” he says and suggests you focus on the vibration in your chest as you hum. “When done, tell yourself ‘I am ready for sleep’, get up slowly and go to bed.”
Just Get Out Of Bed
“If 20 minutes have passed as the mind races and are unable to relax back to sleep, it’s best to get out of bed,” says Jenni June, a certified child and family sleep consultant. However, she cautions against looking at your phone or any other screen devices. Instead, you should “go to another dimly lit room where you keep a notebook. Write down the thoughts that are keeping you awake. Finish with the words, ‘It can wait until tomorrow.’ Then, go back to bed.”
If All Else Fails, Try This:
Roll your eyes – closing your eyes and rolling the balls up three times simulates what you do naturally when you’re asleep and can trigger the release of melatonin a sleep hormone, according to sleep expert Sammy Margo.
Inhale through your left nostril – this yoga method is thought to lower blood pressure and has a calming effect on you.
Try gently pressing some particular points in the body which are known to promote sleep such as the point between your eyebrows at the top of your nose.
After your evening meal, eat lettuce and drink some wine – prepare an ointment from the oil of camphor or violets and rub it on your temples.

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