Ever gotten into bed, excited to get a good night’s sleep, only to find yourself tossing and turning? When you have insomnia, a peaceful sleep can feel totally elusive, and mornings are consequently a groggy mess. Thankfully, it turns out sleeping pills aren’t the only solution, and there are a variety of natural strategies you can try to help stop insomnia from ruining your day. We’ve gathered three simple techniques to help you doze off faster, sleep soundly, and wake up well-rested.
Trouble falling asleep? Take an extra-steamy shower.
On a cool night, it feels so good to crawl into bed after taking a warm shower or bath. And now, scientists have proven doing so will help you stop insomnia even faster than taking Ambien. University of Texas research in Sleep Medicine Reviews found that people who showered or soaked for 10 minutes one to two hours before bed fell asleep faster. The reason? A comfortably hot shower pulls heat out of your core to the skin’s surface in an attempt to cool down. This lowers your internal temperature to levels that mimic what you experience during a state of deep sleep, making it easier to doze off.
Toss and turn? Imagine a fish diving deep.
Swiss researchers discovered a curious mind trick that blocks nighttime restlessness: When folks who were lying down to sleep visualized a fish swimming into deeper and deeper waters, they spent more time asleep and increased slow-wave sleep (your body’s deepest, most restful stage of slumber). The study, published in the journal Sleep, credits this simple “self-hypnosis” technique with calming the centers of the brain responsible for attaining the deepest levels of rest.
Wake up too early? Wear fuzzy socks to bed.
Women in Korea traditionally wear comfy “bed socks” to encourage better sleep, and research in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found the trick really works. Researchers say the brain interprets feet that are warm as a signal to stay in a state of slumber. The effect was so impressive, they found that those who kept their feet a few degrees warmer than the rest of their body slept up to 32 minutes longer.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.