Sleep: we all despised it as toddlers but as adults, we can’t get enough of it! For good reason too, as research shows that getting a decent night of rest is crucial for pretty much every aspect of our wellbeing. Want to be more productive at work? Get more shut-eye. Want to be a happier person? Catch some z’s. Is your skin looking a bit lacklustre? Hit the hay earlier.
But for many of us, getting to sleep isn’t as simple as laying our heads on the pillow and immediately dozing off. In fact, you can shut off all electronics hours before bed, meditate and take a relaxing bubble bath and still miss the bus to the land of nod. So what’s a girl to do? If you’re doing all the right things and still find yourself staring at the ceiling at 2.30 am, it may be time to try some slightly less conventional methods.
Roll it out
Rolling your eyes is normally used as a way to show you’re annoyed, but it turns out it can also be a sleep saviour! There’s a reason hypnotists have been using this simple trick to relax clients since the 1800s. Closing your eyes and rolling them upward three times can trigger the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, knocking you out within minutes!
Drink banana tea
You’ve probably heard that the potassium and magnesium in bananas can help you get a better night’s sleep. But did you know that most of the good stuff is actually found in the peel? Luckily, you don’t have to eat the banana peel-and-all to reap the nighttime benefits: you can drink it in tea form! Just cut off both ends of a banana and place it into boiling water. Boil it for around 10 minutes, then using a colander, pour the water into a mug. Drink it one hour before bed to drift off quickly.
Press your nose
It may sound strange, but yogis have been using alternative nostril breathing to ease stress for centuries. Sit or lie in a comfortable position with your back straight, and close off the left nostril with the right ring finger to inhale. Then, close off the right nostril with the right thumb to exhale. Repeat this until you feel balanced, relaxed and ready to sleep.
Yes, there’s no official scientific evidence behind the healing powers of crystals. But The Goodnight Co’s Sweet Dreams crystal pack claims to be the perfect solution to a bad night’s sleep. The set includes Amethyst, which is said to regulate the imbalances in your life and encourage lucid dreaming and Howlite, for slowing down overactivity in the mind. Keeping the crystals on your bedside table is said to provide positive energy to relax the body while calming and quieting the mind.
Get ready to unleash your child! Research shows that blowing bubbles (the kind that comes from a plastic bottle) can help you fall asleep quickly! The activity may feel silly, but it works like a deep breathing exercise to calm your body and mind. Maybe just warn your significant other before you try this one, though, as blowing bubbles in bed may make you look like a lunatic!
Eat some sleep superfoods
While eating a massive meal before bed might put you in a temporary carb coma, it generally doesn’t lead to a restful night’s sleep. Instead, there are plenty of healthy foods known for their sleep-inducing abilities. Honey, grapes, walnuts, greek yoghurt and seaweed all make perfect bedtime snacks if you want to drift off faster.
Most sleep experts recommend banning electronic devices from the bedroom, but an exception can be made for the app Sleep With Me. Ever had a conversation with someone who was so boring you felt yourself nodding off? This app is just like that but in podcast form. Each episode tells you a bedtime story that is just interesting enough to make you forget your worries but just boring enough to put you to sleep. All you need to do put your phone on the other side of the room, press play, turn off the lights and get into bed. We guarantee you’ll be fast asleep within the first 10 minutes!
Chug some cherry
While cherry juice often takes the backseat to orange or apple juice at breakfast, it’s thought to be a powerful sleep elixir. According to research, the tart beverage can help you sleep for nearly 90 more minutes per night! For best results, drink two glasses per day: just make sure you spread them out so you’re not waking up to go to the bathroom every few hours!
Switch your toothpaste
Believe it or not, your choice of toothpaste may be costing you valuable hours of sleep. Research shows that the scent of peppermint stimulates the brain and makes you feel more awake, making it perfect for the morning but not so much for bedtime. For a more sleep-friendly option, try bubblegum, strawberry or even charcoal!
Curl your toes
Instead of reaching for sleeping pills next time you’re struggling to nod off, give this simple trick a go. Try curling and uncurling your toes over and over again in bed. The repetitive motion is thought to help you relax, making you fall asleep more quickly. If you get bored of that (although that’s kind of the point), you can try the same thing with your fingers.
Sniff some lavender
While it was used as an aphrodisiac throughout the Middle Ages, more recent research shows that the scent of lavender works wonders for insomnia. To doze off more quickly, sprinkle a few drops on a tissue and place it under your pillow or use an aromatherapy diffuser.