2 of the Best Hacks for Faster Sleep
Recently, news outlets like Fox News, MSN, the Independent and even the Today Show reported on a “Military secret” that can help you fall asleep in just two minutes.
It’s a breathing and visualization method that was reportedly used by the U.S. army back in the 1980s to help soldiers sleep in hostile environments—such as on the battlefield. And it’s said that the success rates were as high as 96% after six weeks of practice.
Let’s hit the rewind button on the end of that last sentence.
“The success rates were as high as 96%—after six weeks of practice!”
If you are craving a good night’s sleep…if you suffer from insomnia…if falling asleep at night is akin to torture…
…Are you really going to continue practicing a technique and wait 42 days to see noticeable results? Unlikely.
Luckily there are other simple methods that could help you fall asleep faster—starting tonight.
2 Hacks for Faster Sleep
One trick for falling asleep faster comes from Dr. Andrew Weil. He recommends the 4-7-8 breathing technique, which forces your mind to focus on your breathing so that you can let go of all the worries that keep you awake.
The concept is extremely simple:
First, place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth. Then…
- Breathe in through your nose for a count of 4 seconds
- Hold breath for 7 seconds
- Breathe out through your mouth, making a whooshing sound to the count of 8
Repeat this process three more times for a total of four breaths. It should act as a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system to help you fall asleep more quickly than you would otherwise.
Another trick to faster sleep is something the University of Maryland Medical Center calls “quiet ears”.
Just lie down on your back and close your eyes. Put your hands behind your head and place your thumbs in your ears. This closes the ear canal and produces a high-pitched whooshing noise.
Actively concentrate on listening to the sound for 10-15 minutes. Then place your arms down at your sides, relax and go to sleep.
Establish a Relaxing Routine to Fall Asleep More Quickly
1. Go to bed at the same time every night, and wake up at the same time each morning.
2. Shut down electronic devices about an hour before bedtime.
3. Listen to relaxing music. Research shows that when insomniacs listen to soothing music prior to sleep, they sleep longer and more deeply—and wake up feeling more rested.
4. Don’t watch the clock. If you are stressing over what time it is, all it will do is increase your anxiety levels and make it even more difficult to fall asleep. (This is a good time to practice those breathing exercises!)
5. Take supplements that are known to enhance sleep. For example:
- Valerian calms your mind by gently reducing brain activity so you can turn off the mental chatter and fall asleep more quickly.
- Hops naturally soothes your nerves and works together with Valerian to get you into a sound sleep more quickly.
- Melatonin works to establish your sleep cycle and signals to your body when it’s time to go to sleep, and when it’s time to wake up.
- GABA helps calm the brain and reduces anxiousness so you can fall asleep fast.
- L-Theanine works hand-in-hand with GABA to produce a calming effect that helps reduce stress and balances your brain activity for a better night’s sleep.
Chang ET, et al. The effects of music on the sleep quality of adults with chronic insomnia using evidence from polysomnographic and self-reported analysis: a randomized control trial. Int J Nurs Stud. 2012 Aug;49(8):921-30.
Dana Nicholas is a freelance writer and researcher in the field of natural and alternative healing. She has over 20 years of experience working with many noted health authors and anti-aging professionals, including James Balch, M.D., Dr. Linda Page, Amazon John Easterling and Al Sears M.D. Dana’s goal is to keep you up-to-date on information, news and breakthroughs that can have a direct impact on your health, your quality of life and your lifespan. “I’m absolutely convinced that America’s misguided trust in mainstream medicine including reliance on the government to regulate our food and medicine supply is killing us, slowly but surely,” she cautions. “By sharing what I’ve learned throughout the years I hope I can empower others to take control over their own health.”