January 10, 2018 3 min read

Are sleep troubles disrupting your life? Do you feel anxious when it’s time to hit the pillow and toss and turn late into the night?

You are not alone considering one in three people suffer from at least mild insomnia. To make matters worse, people who don’t sleep well have often developed poor sleep habits. Many people struggle with sleep problems and are searching for real strategies that help manage the issue.

Sleep is vital to health as most of us know, but how can we get more sleep when it feels like an impossible task? Here are 5 proven strategies you can use to trick your mind and body into getting a better night’s sleep.

  1. Try to Stay Awake

Research conducted on people with insomnia shows that using reverse psychology can indeed help people fall asleep. Out of two groups of insomniacs, one was told to try to stay awake but not allowed to watch TV or move around, and the other was not given any instruction. The group that focused on trying to stay awake actually went to sleep faster.  

Here’s how to use reverse psychology on yourself when you need to sleep. Try keeping your eyes open and repeatedly saying to yourself “I will not sleep.” Because the brain fails to process negative instructions well, it interprets this message as an order to sleep. Focus your mind on staying awake until your eyes eventually tire and you find yourself falling asleep.

  1. Apply Acupressure Techniques

Acupressure is similar to acupuncture and based on traditional Chinese medicine philosophy which uses the application of pressure to specific parts of the body to help induce sleep.

Use your fingers to gently press and massage the following points for 10 to 15 minutes to help the body prepare for sleep: The point just below the ball of the foot, the indent between the top of the eyebrows and nose, and behind the ear in the soft tissues where the neck muscles connect to the jaw line.

  1. Use the 4-7-8 Technique

Holistic practitioner Dr. Andrew Weil invented this simple yet effective breathing technique.

To start, place your tongue gently on the ridge of your mouth in the area right behind the front teeth. Next, exhale fully and quietly breathe in through the nose over a four second period, hold it for seven seconds, and then using a “whoosh” sound exhale air outwards over an eight second period. This process should be repeated at least three times.

This technique helps to induce sleep by delivering more oxygen than regular breathing does to the parasympathetic nervous system which suffers from overstimulation during stressful times. Additionally, counting at a regular interval diverts the mind from the day’s stressors.

  1. Find Your Own Trigger to Help You Sleep

Professional hypnotherapist, Sharon Stiles, recommends using a relaxing and unusual habit such as stroking your cheek or gently massaging your forehead to help your body recognize it’s time to sleep.

Use your habit when you are starting to feel sleepy, and you will eventually teach the body to associate it with preparing for sleep. Just remember to completely focus your attention on what you are doing when trying this technique, and remember it takes several nights of repetition for it to become a habit to your body.   

  1. Squeeze and Relax Your Muscles

Relaxing your entire body helps prepare the body for sleep. Lie on your back and inhale slowly through your nose while at the same time squeezing the muscles in a specific part of your body. Start working with the muscles in your feet and continue working a variety of muscle groups until you have worked the entire way up the body to your head. Remain focused on your breathing while you perform this exercise, and by the end of your session you should be relaxed and feeling ready to sleep.

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