If you have trouble falling asleep at night, then this article is for you. Here are ten unconventional tips for dealing with insomnia.
10. Tape Your Mouth Shut
No joke! That’s what Dr. Frank Seaman, a board certified prosthodontist with over 30 years of experience, recommends. According to Seaman, breathing through your mouth at night can disrupt your sleep and result in snoring, dry mouth, and tongue thrusting. That’s why he developed LipSeal Tape. According to his website, using LipSeal Tape along with proper nasal hygiene can cost-effectively resolve many common sleep problems, as well as improve daytime alertness.
You can get a 30-day supply of the tape for $15.
Sleep and energy expert Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan told Daily Mail that coloring before bedtime is one of the best ways for adults to get some shut-eye at night. It helps them turn off their brain, she said. According to Ramlakhan, coloring before going to bed can be somewhat meditative. It “calms the nervous system, preparing the mind [and] body for deep restorative sleep,” she added.
FYI, you can get adult coloring books at Walmart, Barnes & Noble, or online at Amazon.com.
8. Use Your Thumbs
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta recommends using your thumbs to get to sleep. To do this, take both thumbs and push up on the bone at the top of your eye sockets, where the supraorbital nerve runs. Not only will it help to calm you and get some sleep, it can also help you get rid of a headache, Gupta told Greatist.
FUN FACT: There are FDA-approved devices that produce a similar effect. Transcutaneous neurostimulation (TNS) of the supraorbital nerve using Cefaly–a non-drug, non-invasive treatment–produces a sedative effect in healthy individuals.
7. Stimulate Acupressure Points
Dave Asprey, founder of Bulletproof and author of The Bulletproof Diet, shared this sleep tip with Greatist:
Acupuncture can help with sleep problems. However, since it’s highly unlikely you’d find you an acupuncturist who makes house calls in the middle of the night, you can try lying on a sleep induction mat for about 10 to 20 minutes before going to bed. The mat will stimulate acupressure points on your back to help ease you into a deep relaxation state.
6. Poke Your Feet Out from Under the Covers
Dr. Natalie Dautovich, environmental scholar for the National Sleep Foundation and assistant professor of counseling psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University, says that poking your feet out from under the covers will help you sleep better at night. “Some people find that sleeping with a hand or foot outside of the bed covers can help with body cooling [an important component of restful sleep], as heat dissipates quicker through the body extremities,” Dautovich told Glamour magazine. “Generally, cool environments lead to a deeper state of sleep and less awakening during the night,” she added.
5. Drink Cherry Juice
Remember when your mom would give you a glass of warm milk before bed to help you drift off to sleep? Well, experts are recommending a new bedtime drink: cherry juice. According to research conducted by Louisiana State University, drinking cherry juice can help adults get, on average, 84 more minutes of sleep each night. That’s because cherry juice contains the amino acid tryptophan and melatonin, a natural hormone associated with sleep onset. “Proanthocyanidins, or the ruby red pigments in tart cherry juice, contain an enzyme that reduces inflammation and decreases the breakdown of tryptophan, letting it go to work longer in your body,” study co-author Frank L. Greenway said in an article on Prevention.com.
4. Get out of Bed
According to Business Insider, sleep expert Matthew Walker recommends getting out of bed when you’re having trouble falling asleep. If it’s been 20 minutes and you still haven’t fallen asleep, or if you wake up and have trouble falling back asleep, don’t just lie there awake, Walker told Business Insider in a video interview. When you do, your brain will start associating your bed as a place for you to be awake rather than as a place for sleep. Instead, get up and go to a dimly lit room and read a book. Don’t turn on any screens, don’t check your email, and don’t eat anything–just read. Return to bed once you start getting sleep again, Walker added.
3. Eat Sugar and Salt
Matt Stone, an independent health researcher, #1 Amazon bestselling author, and founder of 180DegreeHealth, says that mixing sugar and salt acts as a “battery” for our cells. He explains how in his book Eat For Heat:
If you wake up between 2:00 a.m.- 4:00 a.m. feeling like you’ve got a bit of extra adrenaline moving through your body, put some salt and sugar under your tongue. Don’t want chew anything or wander around the house looking for food, and don’t look at any bright lights–including the light in your fridge. Why? Because you want to remain as unstimulated as possible. With that said, you should keep the salt/sugar mixture by your bed where you can easily reach it in the middle of the night.
Daydreaming about relaxing scenes can help you fall asleep at night, Amerisleep, seller of eco-friendly memory foam mattresses, said on its blog. “For many people who struggle with falling asleep, rumination or unwanted thoughts can play a big role. Instead of drifting off peacefully, your mind slogs through the day’s events, embarrassing moments from years past, or tomorrow’s to-do list. One way to break the rumination cycle or disperse unwanted thoughts before bed is to practice visualization or imagery, similar to daydreaming.”
It’s okay to let your mind wander once in a while. Just make sure you return your focus to whatever you were visualizing, the blog post also said.
1. Reduce Your Breathing
According to the Buteyko Clinic International in Ireland, reducing your breathing can help you reverse insomnia. Doing so will reduce excitability in your brain cells and cause the carbon dioxide level in your body to return to normal. Plus, paying attention to your breathing can be meditative, the clinic wrote on its website. If you’re unsure how to do reduce your breathing, you can try an exercise the clinic recommends on its website. This breathing exercise will help you relax and “feel your inner body.”
Do you have any unusual nighttime rituals for falling asleep? Have you ever tried any of the tips mentioned in this article? Share your thoughts below. Happy sleeping!