Do you wish to find out ways to sleep better? Are you often tossing and turning in bed at night not able to fall asleep? Or awake in the middle of the night with racing thoughts? And what is actually keeping you up in the dark? Do you replay the stressful parts of your day? Are you anxious about the strategic project you are responsible for or about meeting the deadlines or about the growth prospects of your company?
Perhaps, the thought about an upcoming meeting with your boss is paralyzing you or you are panicking about tomorrow’s important presentation.
In those moments the only thing you want is to calm down, stop being worried and fall asleep! You know that sleep deprivation will make you tired and less productive the next day…Do you know that your sleepless nights could be avoided? Do you know that there are many ways to sleep better?
If you have trouble falling asleep or falling back asleep if you’ve woken up in the middle of the night due to stress, we can help you.
In this post, we will discuss what to do when you can’t sleep at night. Get a good night’s sleep so you can wake up feeling ready to take on the day.
There are many ways to sleep better. Keep reading for seven easy strategies to help you sleep at night! You just have to decide what strategy is best for you!
Strategy 1: Use Relaxation Techniques
One of the best ways to sleep better at night is to use relaxation techniques. These techniques allow your body and mind to progressively relax which in turn allows you to fall asleep.
According to an article by the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care, relaxation techniques reduce physical tension and interrupt the thought processes that can affect sleep. The goal is to stay out of your head by stopping the thoughts and worries long enough to fall asleep. If you need it, write down your worries and postpone worrying and brainstorming until the next morning.
These techniques will not only help you fall asleep initially but will also help you fall back asleep if you’ve woken up in the middle of the night.
1. Deep Breathing Method
Taking slow, deliberate breaths are a great way to sleep better. First, try just slow intentional breathing to start to calm your mind. Slowly breath in fully through your nose then slowly and fully breathe out through your nose. Slow and steady, in and out through the nose.
This is a good relaxation breath you can do anywhere or in any stressful situation!
Next try the 4-7-8 breathing method by breathing in for four seconds, retaining the breath for 7 seconds, and then slowly breathing out for eight seconds. While doing this breath, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Place your hands on your abdomen so you can feel the breath moving in and out of your belly.
There are so many other breathing techniques to try, so use a few to find the one that works best for you.
2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
This is another technique to ease you into sleep while allowing tension to leave your muscle and your mind.
Lay on your back in bed and close your eyes. Choose one’s spot and tense the muscles there, hold for a brief second and consciously relax them. Begin at your head and move down to your toes.
For example, focus on your eyes and squeeze them to create tension there. Hold that tension for a couple of seconds and then gently relax the whole area. Continue to do this throughout your whole body checking in with your mouth, neck, shoulders, chest, back, stomach, arms, hands, hips, buttocks, legs, calves and feet.
Once you have finished your body will feel light and tension free and ready to fall asleep.
3. Autogenic Training
Autogenic training is similar to progressive muscle relaxation, but you’re using the same technique to relieve yourself of mental and emotional stress.
Start the same way as above, going from head to toe releasing any tension in your muscles.
Instead of tensing the muscles one by one use your breath and focus on releasing the heaviness in those areas.
Your mind controls so much of your body that you will be surprised just how relaxed your muscles can be without doing anything physical.
This technique is a great way to fall asleep if you can’t sleep at night.
4. Guided Imagery
Guided imagery is a self-induced mind-body experience that can take you anywhere.
For a way to sleep better use this to think of something especially relaxing. For example, imagine yourself lying on a beach (or wherever your happy place is). Allow yourself to feel all the sensations that make you so relaxed at the beach. The sun, sand, sounds of waves, or the carefreeness that you feel. Imagine that you’re there, in that place.
As executives, sometimes it’s hard to leave the stress of the day behind, but guided imagery can take you out of your head every single night and allow you a way to sleep better.
Strategy 2: Re-Associate Bed with Sleep Instead of Arousal
For many people going to bed is what to do when you’re tired and ready to fall asleep. For others, the stillness of bed is hard to deal with and can cause feelings of anxiety and stress. You lay there and go through the to-do list in your head. This can be especially hard for executives coming off a busy or stressful day of work.
To re-associate bedtime with sleep instead of arousal you use something called stimulus-control therapy as a way to sleep better.
To achieve this only use bed for sleeping and sexual activity. Stop using digital devices in bed. It may be tempting to check your email before falling asleep. But this can cause stress for what’s to come in the morning, and the blue light from screens can block melatonin production.
You should also only go to bed when you are tired or sleepy. Lying in bed for too long can make your thoughts start to run wild which will have the opposite effect that your bed should have. When you’re unable to fall asleep after 20 minutes, get up and do something relaxing. Try reading or drinking warm tea (not in bed!) and then go back to bed once you are sleepy.
Strategy 3: Use Natural Sleep Aids
Natural sleep aids may not be a magic pill that you take to fall asleep every night but, it could be a beneficial way to sleep better. Try drinking decaffeinated tea as a way of winding down before bed. Sleepytime tea, passionflower tea or a warm glass of milk are all natural sleep aids.
According to a study done by Phototherapy Research, drinking passionflower tea just before bedtime can improve quality of sleep. It has been shown that the tea has a sedative and soothing property to invoke a good night’s rest.
Similarly, drinking milk at night has the same relaxing effect due to the protein Lactium. Lactium lowers blood pressure and relaxes the muscles, which can, in turn, make you tired and fall asleep.
If you feel the need for something more substantial instead of tea or milk, try a light evening snack. A study conducted by Advance Nutrition states that low-fat snack at nighttime can promote better sleep. Foods such as low-fat yogurt, berries, kiwis or bananas can help promote better sleep.
Strategy 4: Use Melatonin Supplements
Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced in our bodies and is released as night approaches. A lack of melatonin is linked to disturbed sleep.
The use of melatonin pills is beneficial for executives who suffer from loss of sleep.
Melatonin pills work by promoting the body’s circadian rhythms. They allow you to fall asleep faster and prevent waking up in the middle of the night. Research has also shown that ingesting melatonin lowers the production of the stress hormone cortisol. This is beneficial for executives due to the stress of everyday executive life.
When using melatonin take it about 30 minutes before going to bed. This allows you to bypass the extended time it usually takes you to fall asleep.
Stratgey 5: Follow Bedtime Rituals
Following a bedtime ritual is a definite way to sleep better.
A nighttime ritual will help you ease into relaxation by creating a routine where the end result is going to be sleep.
This nighttime ritual could include reading for pleasure, yoga, self-massage, a warm bath or shower.
Never do something that will have a stimulatory effect such as making to-do lists or read work reports. Tasks like these can increase alertness instead of having a calming effect.
Do you need more tips on sleeping better?
Strategy 6: Change Your Daily Habits
As executives, we know that our daily schedules are important to have success throughout our workdays. This same principle can be applied to help you foster more ways to sleep better.
Try re-scheduling your sleep patterns or fixing your sleeping times. Waking earlier in the morning will allow you to get tired earlier in the evening with a better chance of falling asleep without trouble.
Getting outside and taking a walk during the day will help get a quick burst of physical activity and expose you to sunlight.
Diet and exercise are part of this equation because what you eat and how much you move play a part in how well you sleep.
As a busy executive, you may be sitting for hours at a time or eating at luncheons every day. This is part of the job so make your choices wisely. According to epidemiology research done at the University of Leeds, the higher your fruit and vegetable intake the better you will sleep at night. The assumption here being to consume fewer carbohydrates and fatty foods.
Looking at these daily habits is essential in figuring out how to fall asleep better.
Strategy 7: See A Therapist
Part of being a healthy executive is also knowing when you need help.
If you have tried all the strategies above and are still not finding relief, a therapist can be beneficial.
Stress is a constant in our lives and sometimes hard to cope with so therapists can offer more guidance.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is beneficial as it focuses on challenging and changing unhelpful behaviors. If this type of treatment does not work, in extreme situations, medication may be prescribed to induce sleep.
Keep in mind that if your sleeping problems are due to chronic pain, depression or other medical issues then this post is not for you. In such case, you should also seek help from your healthcare provider.
Sleep is an important and necessary daily function and a good night of it can make or break a productive workday. Stress from an executive’s busy schedule can negatively affect sleep and in turn, promote poor work performance.
There are ways to sleep better but, just like everything you must put in the work. The seven strategies explained above will help promote and foster healthy sleep cycles by practicing them on a daily basis.
Keep in mind that our sleep schedules aren’t just affected by our nighttime routines but also by the time we wake up, the food and drinks we consume, and of course the stress of our daily lives.
By examining this picture as a whole, you can decide what strategies would help you fall asleep better at night.
Have you tried any sleep strategies? Let us know what works for you!