How To Force Yourself To Sleep?
It’s not unusual that there are times when you have to force yourself to sleep. This is a unfortunate occurrence, especially if you have an activity that needs your full attention the following day. It’s a fact that sleep deprivation won’t only cause memory lapses or reduced mental capabilities but it can also increase your risk of becoming sick. Thus, you have to ensure that you get at least 8 hours of sleep daily.
Effects of Insomnia or Inability to Sleep
The effects of sleeplessness occur in varying degrees depending on the length of your sleep deprivation. The effects become severe the longer you’re deprived of sleep. There comes a point that your body has to respond to this crucial need, and you would fall asleep, no matter how hard you try to stay awake.
Here are the effects that you must be aware of:
- Memory lapses
- Reduced problem solving skills
- Reduced cognitive abilities
- Mental block
- Inability to focus
How to Force Yourself to Sleep?
To help you get your much needed sleep, here are 10 ways you can utilize:
1. Take a warm bath
Taking a warm bath isn’t only hygienic and healthy but it also relaxes frayed nerves and alleviates tired muscles. After your bath, the body goes into a relaxed mode, prompting the mind to become at ease and, as a result, you’re induced to sleep. Also, the heat helps heal injured muscles and wounds by attracting more of the white blood cells responsible for body healing, and the red blood cells to provide vital nutrients to the target site.
2. Eat banana and similar sleep-inducing fruits
Researchers have found out that cinnamic acid amides have a sedative effect on the Central Nervous System (CNS). Further studies have established that this substance is present in banana, together with tryptophan and melatonin. Tryptophan and melatonin have the same action:they relax the muscles and the brain, inducing sleep. Pumpkin seeds were discovered to promote sleep and decreases depression as well.
3. Listen to soft, natural sounds, or to soft music
Listening to music was discovered by experts to “induce positive emotions”, ease stress, relax the body and can be used as an alternative treatment for various conditions. Some individuals use natural sounds, such as the sound of the sea, the waves, the tweeting of birds, the wind and other sounds of nature; whereas, a number of people use music to calm them. When you’re calm and relaxed, you would fall asleep easily. This is called sound therapy.
4. Drink hot milk
A hot milk drink can calm the nerves and induce sleep, just like bananas. You can eat banana while drinking your milk. This could be 30 minutes to 1 hour before your scheduled sleep. Aside from the fact that milk is a source of essential nutrients, milk can also help reduce the risk of hyperacidity. Be careful though if you have lactose intolerance because you might incur diarrhea.
5. Make sure your bed is comfortable
Obviously, this is a given. Your bed should have the appropriate temperature to keep your body warm. The beddings’ texture and style should also be safe and comfortable for your body. Too soft or too hard mattresses tend to inflict physical pain upon waking up. People complain about an uncomfortable bed and beddings as one of the reasons for sleeplessness.
Mindfulness meditation can calm your mind and help you fall asleep. Intensive studies have proven that meditation could reduce insomnia by affecting the mind. One study conducted by a team of researchers has proven that meditation positively influences the mind and body functions. Another study concluded that meditation can improve sleep quality among the elderly. Here are steps on how to meditate.
- Choose a safe and secure place.
- Ensure that the temperature is just right for you.
- Lie down in a comfortable position.
- Close your eyes and mentally tell your muscles to relax.
- Inhale deeply through your nose and hold for 6 seconds.
- Exhale forcibly through your mouth.
- When your breathing becomes regular, make yourself aware of your surroundings and your thoughts.
- Allow your mind to be ‘mindful’ (aware) of all the sensations you’re feeling at the moment.
7. Perform progressive relaxation exercises
A simple progression relaxation exercise can also force yourself to sleep. The brain is the mastermind of the body; therefore, when it’s relaxed, the whole body relaxes too. The concept is akin to meditation; however, the steps are focused on each muscle of your body.
- Choose a safe and secure place.
- Lie or sit down in a comfortable position.
- Close your eyes and perform the breathing exercise as described above.
- When your breathing becomes stable, start relaxing your muscles.
- Start with the toe, and progressively move upwards to the feet, the legs, the thighs, abdomen, chest, back, shoulders, arms, neck and then head.
- Mentally ‘instruct’ each of these body parts to relax. Don’t proceed unless that body part has become heavy or deadweight.
- When you reach your head, your whole body should feel relaxed. If not, start all over again.
8. Apply reflexology/acupressure
This method is applied when the other methods are ineffective. There are certain focal points in your body that you can apply pressure on to help you with your self-therapy. All you have to do is to massage the indicated area to help cure pain or disease. For insomnia or difficulty in sleeping, the pressure point is termed the Inner Gate, P6, Neiguan point, or the Pericardium 6. To find this area,put your three fingers at the base of your wrist, then right below it is a depression. Press this point several times to cure your insomnia.
9. Have a relaxing massage
Having a massage can induce you to sleep. You can employ an expert masseuse to render the service. A licensed physical therapist can also perform certain massages, if you need them. You can do this one hour before you go to bed. You may want to do it yourself by applying the principle that reflexology and acupressure. Ease your mind of stress and relax your muscles. Surely, your relaxed muscles would help establish an atmosphere conducive fora deep slumber.
10. Applynegative psychology
If the above-mentioned methods don’t work for you, perhaps, you need some negative psychology to force yourself to sleep. How can you do this? - by forcing yourself to stay awake. In this particular method, you think about not falling asleep. Supposedly, your mind will do the opposite - it will prompt you to fall asleep. This is uncommon, but it works for some people. It’s not the best method though, because your brain might get attuned to it. Typically, good methods employ positive psychology.
Now that you know the methods on how to force yourself to sleep, you can apply them safely. You don’t have to try so hard. You will notice that the more stressed you are of not being able to sleep, the more you won’t be able to. The secret is to calm your mind and ease your stress, and eventually, your body will follow suit. Once your muscles are relaxed and your mind is at peace, you will fall asleep easily.