Waking up can be hard sometimes. One thing that is key in waking up feeling refreshed is being able to fall asleep when you want to. However, this is often easier said than done. At the end of the day, you might feel so exhausted all you want to do is lay down in bed and sleep. But as soon as your head hits the pillow, your mind races and just does not seem to shut off.
If this sounds familiar here are a few things you can do to help you ease your mind and relax.
The first step in quieting your mind is focusing on something soothing. In this case, we’ll focus on our breathing:
This technique sounds simple but it may take some practice. If you feel your mind starts to wander bring it back to your breathing.
Counting breaths is a form of mindful meditation but this next part we’ll go a step further. This technique requires you to focus on various body parts, forcing them to relax.
Wherever you are right now, try this. Look at your right hand. Now make a fist! Squeeze as hard as you can! Keep going! Feel your muscles tense. Focus on that sensation. Hold the fist for about 5 seconds then… relax your hand. Place it down next to you or on a table. Focus on the hand that is no longer tense. It is now relaxed. It feels heavy and warm.
This technique can be done with the whole body.
If you are feeling tense when you’re trying to sleep, this technique may be for you:
As with any type of meditation, this may take a little practice. This technique tricks your body into relaxing. The key is to really focus on that absence of tension. You should begin to feel heavy and warm during this technique.
You know that tingly feeling you get when someone whispers in your ear or crinkles some plastic? The technical term for it is an Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. The ASMR community is something that has grown tremendously in popularity over the past three years. ASMR has been shown to help with depression, anxiety, insomnia, and helping the mind and body relax. Youtube has literally hundreds of different ASMRtists who range from conventional to slightly strange.
There are many different triggers to activate that tingly feeling. Tapping, binaural whispers, mouth sounds, and scalp massages are just a few. While the scientific evidence for the effects of ASMR on the body is lacking, there is some basic science behind it.
Mirror neurons are neurons that fire in the brain when an action is being observed. When these neurons fire, the brain acts as if it were the one performing an action. So, when watching someone get a scalp massage, our listening to binaural whispering, our brains release neurotransmitters that are associated with pleasant feelings.
The only thing you really need to give this a try is a pair of headphones and access to Youtube. Besides falling asleep, ASMR can also be used to help focus during studying or reading.
If you have a hard time shutting your mind down, give these techniques a try. Or, if you have a method that helps you fall asleep, share in the comments below.