Hey! Do you have problems sleeping? Read the best guide on fast falling asleep from professionals!
Sleep, as we could have known from encyclopedias if we had read them, is a state of calmness and rest common for people and animals, which is defined by a deferred reaction to one’s surroundings and environment and minimal level of brain activity (meaning lower than even usual).
Without sleep a human fades faster than without food. A person with chronical sleep disorder risks getting cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and brain functioning subsidence in just weeks. An Englishman Tony Right, who set a world record of not staying up for 11 days and 11 eleven nights straight, looked, mildly put, not so well and had to undergo a long treatment afterwards. However, 3-4 days without sleep can be enough to earn serious health problems. So, let’s try solving your sleep problems or, if you don’t have them, make your “night life” more qualitative. And we’re not talking about partying till morning!
Lack of sleep is insidious
- If you sleep less than 3 hours a night (well, what did you think? You said yourself, “Let’s keep the baby.”), you won’t be able to get a good night’s sleep at all. That’s just how it goes.
- There are no legal ways to get rid of sleeping allover. Clinical death might help: as a result of it some lucky ducks pick up chronic insomnia – the rarest mental disorder – and stop sleeping at all. The chances, however, are not great; there had been hardly a dozen similar cases through history.
- There’s no such thing as safe sleep deprivation. If you chronically deviate from your personal norm (it’s individual and may vary from 6 to 12 hours) for at least half-an-hour, you can surely expect new levels of sugar in your blood, much stronger hunger than usual, libido problems and reaction attenuation, including emotional ones. The more you lack sleep, the higher the risks.
How to avoid all these negative effects?
Let’s start with checking the schedule of your day!
If you want to sleep well, you have to do the following
- For starters, learn to calculate your sleeping time. Sleep consists of 5 phases changing each other for 4-6 times a night. You’ll wake up the most cheerful after REM phase, which sets in approximately in the end of every 90 minutes. Meaning that you’ll have better sleep in 4,5 hours than in 5,5 and in 6 hours than 7 respectively. Basically, you understand: try to make you sleeping time in multiples of 1,5 hours. If it’s difficult to calculate the 1,5-hour periods (no mean fit for any person), buy yourself a smartwatch (it’ll do everything by itself). Or you could download one of the suitable programs (Sleep Cycle for iOS, Sleep as Android for Android, G-Alarm for Windows Phone).
- Sleep in a cool room. The optimal temperature in the bedroom is 21° С. It’s better to steal a warm blanket than sleep under a sheet in the heat. By the way, body should be a little cooled while falling asleep. Don’t take a hot bath before going to sleep (it only creates an illusion of getting you drowsy while actually boosting your tonus). If you go to bed after a cold shower, you’ll fall asleep for sure.
- Drink a glass of water in the morning. We could explain why you need to do that for a long while using terms like “ghrelin” and “peptide chains”, but you better believe it: the less you sleep, the more water your body needs to keep itself in tone.
- Go to sleep ritually. Always do the same algorithm of actions before going to sleep. Better avoid any physical or mental activity. Stupid boring chores would be a perfect choice: checking door locks, brushing your teeth, having sex with your wife, feeding hostages in the basement. In some time, you’ll start associating this algorithm with sleeping and help you fall asleep faster.
- Um, a bit of masturbating? Yes, we understand how it sounds, but seriously. It’s the 21st century, and the nature hasn’t invented a better way to relax. Just don’t put on porn: blue screen rays won’t improve the quality of your sleep. You’ll have to do with your imagination like in good old days.
- Apply binaural beats. Half a century ago a German psychiatrist Hans Bergen indicated 10 Hz frequency wave fluctuations with 50 microvolt amplitude, which he called alpha-waves. Physiologists subsequently secured some other waves which, for one thing, were specific exceptionally for a human and, for another, they were different during sleeping and keeping awake. But the main thing is the correlation between these waves and a person’s state is bilateral. And if we artificially change the frequency of the waves emitted by the brain from 15 to 4 Hz, a person would inevitably want to go to sleep! Download the app and use a special mind machine or try free samples on YouTube (but they might not work).
Binaural beats for falling asleep
What are binaural beats?
Binaural beats are a mix of two sounds which have different frequencies. This approach is long-known among musicians. No mystery! Two frequency differing sounds which come from two different speakers will be taken in as a new sound. It’s pretty simple. Your brain unites different sounds into a completely new one that doesn’t sound. In a nutshell, the brain tricks us and creates a new sound. According to scientists, binaural beats can regulate brain work. Besides, they can make you more focused, improve memory and help sleep better. And it’s not surprising that binaural sounds keep catching on. You’ll easily find an app which will generate binaural sounds.
How does it work?
Our brain creates its own frequencies:
- gamma (40 Hz +)
- betta (13-40 Hz)
- alpha (7-13 Hz)
- theta (4-7 Hz)
- delta (less than 4 Hz)
Each of these frequencies matches a specific emotional and physical state. When we are awake or getting ready to sleep, the brain will generate completely different beats. Scientists still argue about the nature of binaural beats, but there is proof that they can change the frequency that the brain functions in. We can trick your brain by picking the sound of the needed frequency so it starts generating brain beats we need. It sounds somewhat fantastic, but we have proof. Researches indicate that people who used binaural beats (frequencies of 2 to 8 Hz) show sleep improvement.
How would binaural beats help you fall asleep faster?
Now, let’s talk about how binaural beats can improve your sleeping. The brain’s wave activity during sleep drastically differs from the brain activity while keeping awake. REM phase, when the wave activity is similar to keeping awake, is the only exception. Theta- and delta-waves dominate during sleeping. Binaural beats slow down brain activity and help you fall asleep. The perfect set-up for sleeping is the recording of delta-frequency binaural beats (up to 4 Hz). Put on your headphones and the brain will do everything else. Binaural beats will help relax during day and fall asleep faster if you listen to them before going to sleep.
Now, it’s high time to take your headphones and conduct an experiment. It would be especially effective if you combine binaural beats with a physical relaxation technique.
Physical relaxation technique from professionals
This relaxation technique was created for American pilots during World War II. Because of constant stress they couldn’t relax and kept making mistakes. The military invited a famous sports coach Bud Winter to create an exercise system for relaxation. It turned out to be so successful that Winter applied it after the war as well for sportsmen. The point is to relax first physically and then mentally.
These exercises helped overcome battle stress as well as anxiety before competitions. They are applicable in everyday life full of worries and chronical weariness.
Relax physically. Lean back and place your feet on the floor. Spread your knees and put your hands on your thighs. Close your eyes and put your chin on your chest.
Breath slowly, deeply and steadily. Stop wrinkling your forehead. Imagine the skin on your head relaxing. Relax your jaws, let your mouth open a bit. Now relax your facial muscles. Then tongue and lips.
Relax your eye controlling muscles. Let them go all limp in the sockets. Breath slowly
Drop your shoulders as low as you can. Even if you think you’ve already dropped them, try some more. Did you feel that your neck muscles are relaxed? Try to relax them more.
Now relax your chest. Take a deep breath. Hold it. Breath out and let all the stress with it. Let your chest drop. Imagine you’re huge and heavy lump on a chair like a jellyfish. Breath slowly. Let all the stress out with each breath.
Now switch to your arms. Order your right forearm to relax, go limp. Then do the same to the wrist and fingers. The arm should seem to you a dead weight lying on a thigh. Do the same to your left hand. You should still be breathing slowly.
The upper part of your body is now relaxed. You feel well. You are feel warm and comfortable.
Switch to your legs. Relax the muscles of your right thigh. Imagine that your flesh is just hanging from the bones. Do the same with your calf muscles, ankle and foot. Tell yourself that there are no bones in your right leg at all. It’s just a soft heavy weight standing on the floor. Do the same thing to your left leg.
Now your body is completely relaxed. Take 3 deep breathes and each time you exhale let out the accumulated stress.
If it’s hard for you to relax any part of your body, flex it first. After that it’s easier to relax it.
Relax mentally. After you relaxed physically, it takes just 10 seconds of not thinking about anything. Then you’ll fall asleep. The point is to stop the constant stream of thoughts and not to go through regrets, worries and problems in your head.
It’s especially important not to think about moving. Winter’s experiments with attaching electrodes indicated that the muscles flex even when we simply think about any movement. That fact is confirmed by recent researches as well. When you want to fall asleep, think about something extremely peaceful.
Winter suggested 3 versions. Choose one of them. If it doesn’t help, move to the next one.
Imagine that it’s a warm spring day outside. You are lying in a boat rocking on calm waters of a lake. You are looking at the blue sky over your head and clouds floating over. Don’t let other thoughts distract you. Concentrate on that image and try to take pleasure from it.
Imagine that you are lying in a big black hammock. You are surrounded by darkness from every side.
Repeat the words “Don’t think. Don’t think. Don’t think.” for 10 seconds. Try not to let any other thoughts into your head.
After 6 weeks of training, 96% of pilots learned to fall asleep in 2 minutes under any conditions, even the sounds of artillery. They managed to doze off even if they were drinking coffee, though caffeine doesn’t help falling asleep much.
These exercises are universal. Use only a part of them for physical relaxing when feeling stressed. And if you want to fall asleep, top them up with mental relaxation techniques.
Try to fall asleep if you can spare 5 minutes on transport, in a queue or during a break at work. Even such a short rest will freshen you up and make you more cheerful. The exercises will be suitable for falling asleep faster in the evening. Try adding special relaxing music to the aforementioned. That will help to speed up falling asleep.