Many of us are battling more stressors now than ever — and tension is robbing our sleep. If you’re not sure how to get more deep sleep without medication, a simple brain shift may be all you need.
Listen to singing bowl sounds
It’s not just you — 65 percent of us have trouble turning off our busy brain at night! A solution: Listen to Tibetan or Himalayan singing bowls for 20 minutes before lights-out. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, say the gentle sounds these bowls emit prompt theta wave release, cutting insomnia-triggering tension by 89 percent. Two no-cost apps: Zen Bowl (for iPhones) and Singing Bowls (for Androids).
Nosh on oatmeal cookies
We think of it as breakfast fare, but Canadian researchers say adding oats to your before-bed snack could cut your risk of middle-of-the-night wake-ups by 55 percent in one week. The reason? Oat recipes contain compounds (beta-glucans and saponins) that keep theta brain waves steady and beta wave levels low all night long.
Tweak the temperature
Keeping your bedroom temperature at 67 degrees Fahrenheit or lower will cut risk of early-morning awakenings in half, say Yale University researchers. Explains neuroscientist James Horne, Ph.D., sleeping in a comfortably cool room helps your core temperature stay low — and that signals your brain to continue producing theta waves as morning nears. Tip: Turn on a fan over a tray of ice cubes to make your bedroom feel instantly 10 degrees cooler.
If you wake feeling tired, passionflower could help. A study in Phytotherapy Research suggests 700 mg. of the herbal extract at bed helps prevent middle-of-the-night dips in theta wave release, helping you sleep 72 percent more soundly. Plus, it eases anxiety and relaxes muscles. Note: Check with a doctor before supplementing.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.