Happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy. There's going to be stress in life, but it's your choice whether you let it affect you or not.
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Of course, you can fall asleep without a special preparation or bedtime routine in order to achieve a good sleep, but how long it will take you to fall asleep or how well you will sleep is not always quite certain.
Most people are not able to fall asleep on "command," but an evening preparation will help your brain to get ready for sleep. Our “sleep system”, along with most of our neurophysiological systems, prefers to receive from the brain signals that are predictable and consistent.
Why is this so? Because consistency and predictability are "boring" - they are calm, slow and safe functions, and an evening bedtime routine is also safe and relaxed. In the same way, when we read fairy tales to our kids every night, for them this activity turns into an evening routine before they go to bed and they fall asleep much faster than when you let them try to fall asleep alone.
1. Give yourself time to decompress from the tense day and to calm your mind.
Our brain prepares for sleep about two hours before the moment when you actually fall asleep, and all those millions of neurons that keep us active and engaged during the day, need to slow down and allow our sleep system to start working.
You can set an alarm two hours before you go to bed and use these two hours to do something you love and enjoy: you can spend this time with your family or your beloved, read a book, meditate *, or listen to nice music in dim light or even watch TV for a while ... or just do something that gives you joy.
2. Do not play with your favorite hi-tech gadgets during your sleep preparation
- the blue light emitted from the screens of these devices is able to disrupt the melatonin rhythm, a rhythm that is so important for the quality of our sleep, as well as for our entering into the deep sleep phase (the restorative phase of sleep) so that we can wake up fresh and energetic in the morning. Avoid staring at the screen for at least one hour before going to bed.
3. Prepare a light dinner (if you feel hungry)
Heavy food and big meals can disrupt your sleep cycle. It is not common for us to go to bed hungry, although hunger stimulates sleep. You can eat a light dinner that will not affect negatively your digestive tract and cause you a lot of heartburn.
A light protein dinner, an egg, an apple or a glass of yogurt would not make you wake up hungry in the middle of the night. It has long been proven that people who eat more sugar, saturated fats (like those in the red meat and dairy foods) suffer more often from sleep disturbances than those who consume vegetables, fibers, nuts and seeds.
4. Take a warm shower or bath 2 hours before sleep
The drop in nighttime temperature in the human body leads to deeper and better sleep.
Interestingly, the best way to lower the body temperature is to raise it by taking a warm bath two or three hours prior to going to bed. When the body feels an increase in the temperature, it responds by expanding the blood vessels and directing the blood flow to the skin, which quickly leads to more heat released. If you have a bathtub and you want your bath to be more enjoyable and soothing, then you can add a few drops of essential oil of lavender or juniper into it.
5. Do not go to bed before it is REALLY bed time
The more hours you spend in bed reading a book, working with your laptop or watching TV, the more your body will subconsciously get used to being awake while you are in bed. You should spend this ample time in the rooms where you stay in daytime. If you have problems falling asleep within 30 minutes after lying down in bed, you should try to do something else for 10-20 minutes, then go back to bed and try again.
6. Go to bed at the same time every night
It is not so important what time you go to bed every night. What is most important is to maintain your sleep cycle the same every night and create a habit of going to bed at the same time, even at the weekends. Late Saturday or Sunday awakening, which you might think compensates for going to bed late on Friday and Saturday nights, is one of the reasons for insomnia and sleep disturbance.
7. Avoid the use of any stimulants before going to bed
Coffee, black tea, coke and chocolate contain caffeine. The remaining caffeine can stay in your body for up to 12 hours. The nicotine in the cigarettes is also a stimulant and you should avoid it before going to bed. Alcohol may initially have a sedative effect, but later in the night it can have a negative effect on a healthy sleep. Alcohol in your blood leads to an increase in your heart rate, which prevents your brain from going into the deep phase of sleep.
8. A walk before going to bed
A 15-20 minute walk will recharge your body with oxygen, re-energize your blood circulation and calm you down and relieve you from the tension of the busy day, which will boost your mood. Beautiful scenery or the starry sky can soothe your spirit and help you to get rid of the accumulated stress during the day.
9. Open the window for some fresh air and balance of the temperature
Some fresh air and the presence of oxygen in your room are important for having a quality and good sleep. Do not keep the room too hot.
10. Sleep naked if you can
According to some studies, 70% of people sleep in pajamas, while only 8% sleep naked and the rest sleep wearing "something else". One of the polls shows that 65% of those who sleep naked have truly happy intimate relationships. This result is based on scientific research ... When you and your partner sleep naked the hormone oxitocin is increased during the skin-to-skin contact. This hormone is released into the brain and it controls the reproductive processes, enhances sexual attraction and promotes attachment, leading to more intimacy, which in turn is the best medicine without side effects against insomnia – hugs and caresses can have a positive influence on the quality of sleep.
If you still fail to get used to sleeping naked, choose to wear something soft and comfortable, made from natural materials.
11. Create your own positive ritual
When you go to bed, think about the positive moments and people that you had contacts with during the day and feel thankful for them or just for all the good things that you have in your life. Imagine the day tomorrow as a sunny, peaceful, fruitful and successful day. Remember that to smile is the first thing you should do in the morning.
12. Whenever you can escape from your busy schedule have a massage session
Massage therapy as a therapy that helps combat insomnia:
Statistics show that over 1 in 3 people suffer from difficulty in going to bed and from sleeping disorders. Medicine can help the underlying causes of insomnia to be identified, although the reasons for almost half of all chronic sleeping disorders have not been established yet.
Recent studies have shown that massage therapy can be extremely useful in the fight against insomnia, as well as in many common chronic diseases and sleep disorders.
As the massage improves the overall health and body condition, most people experience calm and positive mood after a massage. The positive effects of the massage are that it reduces pain, muscle fatigue, anxiety, stress and depression.
The massage enables the muscle relaxation and expands the arteries by reducing the pressure in them, which enables the work of the heart and reduces the accelerated heart rate. It improves the blood circulation and the lymph flow.
The massage also helps the increase of the air in the lungs and the release of the respiratory tract. It helps the mind to relax and focus, relieves tension in the muscles, which in turn reduces tension in the joints and tendons. It regulates the blood pressure and improves the mood.
The massage turns off the sympathetic nervous system, which is also a source of stress.
You should be aware that high levels of Cortisol (the stress hormone) lead to sleep problems and a weak immune system. The massage reduces the Cortisol levels by 30 to 40% and releases the body from stress and anxiety, calms the nervous system, making it more susceptible to deep relaxation. After several weeks of regular massage sessions, Cortisol levels may drop in half.
Massage can help you a lot to deal with sleep disturbance and to achieve a better sleep quality. Scientists attribute this to the fact that massage stimulates the release of more serotonin in the body - the hormone of happiness, which in turn is essentially important for the production of melatonin - the “sleep hormone”, which tells the brain to "slow down" and prepare for sleep, having a direct effect on the circadian sleep cycles. The secretion of more serotonin makes the released melatonin reset the sleep cycles. Medical studies show that massage prolongs the phase of the deep sleep -the recovery phase of sleep by increasing the delta waves in the brain that help us enter the phase of deep sleep, during which the body hardly moves. It also has a positive role in reducing the level of the neurotransmitters associated with pain and discomfort.
The recommended duration of a massage therapy varies widely depending on the needs of each individual or patient and their specific health problems. Most medical studies are conducted over a period of 3 to 13 weeks during which is applied massage therapy of 30 to 40 minutes twice a week. More than two-thirds of the patients report a positive result after the first week.
Massage therapy is an extremely intelligent and appropriate choice of healthy, free of side-effect therapy that can replace the sleeping pills and help you overcome insomnia.