How to Sleep Better in 7 Easy Steps

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Written By Paklay Zablay

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Knowing how to sleep better is essential, especially since there are an estimated 50 to 70 million Americans have chronic, or ongoing, sleep issues and disorders. That’s a shame, since the benefits of a great night’s sleep are endless and endlessly documented (it re-energizes brain cells, repairs our skin, increases productivity and mood and strengthens every major system in our body).

So whether you regularly struggle with sleep or are simply anticipating the impact of a hectic festive season, there are ways to ensure you can sleep better and more soundly from now until the new year and beyond.

Don’t overthink it

More of us than ever are using sleep aids to help track, dissect and improve our sleep quality, with the global sleep aids market predicted to be worth $162.5 billion by 2030. But while the intention is good, becoming too fixated on getting enough sleep can actually be detrimental to the end goal, leading to more stress and sky-rocketing levels of cortisol flooding our body when we should be drifting off. If you’re guilty of obsessing over your shut eye, finding ways to distract yourself from watching the clock is essential. Practicing mindfulness, journaling any anxious thoughts before bed and even removing trackers, clocks and aids from the equation altogether are all sensible options.

Upgrade your sound machine

Beyond infiltrating our TikTok feeds, ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) could also help us fall asleep easier. Although ASMR describes our own response to noise, it’s actually a catch-all term used generally to describe certain repetitive sounds that are found to be soothing and hypnotic. According to a recent study, ASMR audio helped lull participants into a suitably sleepy psychologically comfortable state, and triggered the release of chemicals like oxytocin and dopamine, which help to promote relaxation. There is also great sleep music you can try.

Encourage top to toe calm

Unsurprisingly, living in a constantly stressed state is not conducive to a good night’s sleep, so minimizing your stress and maximizing your relaxation is paramount. While more common stress-busting methods like box breathing and gentle stretching before bed are all sound options, try adding humming into your evening wind down routine. As well as stimulating serotonin and encouraging a state of calm, it activates your vagus nerve and triggers your parasympathetic nervous system, known as the “rest and digest” phase.

Doing it couldn’t be simpler: just take a deep breath and as you exhale, hum for as long as it takes you to breathe out. Close your eyes as you do it and repeat until you feel your whole body feels relaxed. If humming doesn’t appeal, try tensing your toes to banish stress instead. According to researchers at the University of Maryland, alternately tensing the toes on each foot then releasing them can help distract the mind from negative thoughts and draw tension away from the rest of your body, enabling you to relax more easily.

Wind down with a workout

Sleep and exercise have a bidirectional relationship, meaning the impact they have on each other is mutual. Done regularly, exercise helps regulate cortisol levels which can positively affect your sleep. Working out also produces endorphins which promote melatonin production, and help balance your body temperature which makes it easier to drift off. If you don’t know where to start, yoga is often recommended as a great pre-bedtime activity. As well as physically encouraging the de-stressing of muscles with repetitive stretching and twisting, the integral breath work required triggers the body’s innate calm state, which helps induce sleep.


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