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Counting Sheep Not Helping You Sleep? Try This Instead.

Good sleep is incredibly important. It helps you disconnect and provides the necessary resting time for your brain and body to function properly. Poor sleep can affect various functions of your body and can have negative effects both physically and mentally. Below are a few methods that could help you fall asleep, in case the go-to method of counting sheep proves ineffective.

1. Set the mood right

Having a warm/hot water bath or shower, setting the room temperature to 18-21 degrees Celsius and even using aromatherapy, such as scented candles or incense, can help you sleep better.

2. The 4-7-8 breathing exercise

Breathing exercises can help you de-stress and relax your body. The 4-7-8 breathing exercise involves breathing in for 4 seconds, holding your breath for 8 seconds, and breathing out for 8 seconds. This type of rhythmic breathing can help promote sleep. A study shows that this method improves heart rate and blood pressure among young adults.

3. Avoid caffeine

We know coffee is a must! But hey, do you know that caffeine stimulates wakefulness and disrupts sleep? A study shows that it takes about 3-5 hours for the effects of caffeine to wear off. Therefore, it is best to avoid caffeine 4-6 hours before you sleep. For example, if you plan to go to bed at 10 pm, then it's best that your last cup of caffeine is at 4 pm.

4. Put away your phone

Remember your parents telling you to avoid screen time before you go to bed? According to research , using your mobile 30 mins before you sleep can have negative effects on your sleep schedule. All electronic devices emit blue light which has been found to affect one’s circadian rhythm. Using these devices also keeps your mind engaged and active. Therefore, it is necessary to disconnect with all electronic devices such as mobiles, tables, e-books, television and more. If you need to use your devices, consider blocking the blue light emission using glasses or a screen filter.

5. Too much sleep is harmful

Naps during day time that last for more than 2 hours can affect your circadian rhythm. The primary function of a circadian rhythm is to determine if your body is ready to fall asleep or not. It might be tempting to take a quick nap after a poor night’s sleep, but try to avoid this as much as possible as it affects your sleep cycle.

6. Watch your alcohol intake

Excessive intake of alcohol can have adverse effects on your sleep. While alcohol is a sedative that can induce sleep, it also has negative effects on the quality of sleep. Excessive consumption not only builds up a tolerance to alcohol and increases intake but also has harmful effects on your health.

7. Count backwards

How boring, right? Well, that’s exactly what you need! Counting backwards is not only boring, but also mentally taxing which will make your mind want to willingly log out. Pick a high number (like 120) and start counting backwards. You might fall asleep even before you cross 10 numbers!

8. Seek professional help

If your irregular sleep tendencies prolong for a long period of time, it might be helpful to seek professional help. A doctor can prescribe you supplements that encourage sleep either by boosting the production of sleep-promoting hormones or by calming brain activity.

Having trouble falling asleep can be irritating and also have adverse effects on your mental and physical health. While some people have no problem instantly falling asleep, some might have minor or major difficulties in doing so.

We hope you try a few of the above methods to help you sleep better and stay energized the next day. Goodnight!

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