Assuming you know the basics, such as having a fairly regular schedule, not watching/reading stimulating stuff close to bed-time, having a dark, cool room, limiting protein at dinner and liquids in the evening, here are some additional suggestions
1. Breathing Lessons: I’ve found 3 techniques helpful.
- The first is simple, diaphragmatic breath. Put one hand on your chest and one on your tummy. To breathe from your diaphragm you want the tummy hand to rise and fall and the chest hand to barely move. Imagine you’re inflating and deflating a balloon in your abdomen if that helps. Then simply breathe in this way – it is quite relaxing on it’s own or you can use a count such as breathe in to a count of 4 and out to a count of 5.
- The second method is from yoga wisdom (and recently resurrected by Dr. Andrew Weil). It’s the 4-7-8 count. Breathe in through your nose to a count of 4, hold for a count of 7, then breathe out slowly through your mouth to a count of 8. Inhale again and repeat the cycle three times.
- The 3rd method is 8-16-32. Start by laying on your left side and count to 8. roll to your back and count to 16, roll to your right side and count to 32 (if you’re still awake).
2. Speaking of left and right sides, in Yoga wisdom there are channels in the body called Nadis. In brief, one side of the body is more “energetic” and the other more “relaxed.” You can control these energies with your breathing. First, see whether your left or right nostril is more open/less obstructed/stronger right now. Likely it’s your right since you are up and reading. To relax and sleep, you want your left to be stronger…..so, lie on you Right side to activate the LEFT nostril. It should switch in a minute or two.
3. This next one is my own amazing discovery (as far as I know). When you are awake, you are thinking. At night, if your thoughts are clear, you’ll be wide awake. When you start to fall asleep though, they naturally get murky and sometimes a bit strange, right? So, you can make them murky on purpose! What I do is talk gibberish in my mind……just sounds and jumbled up words like, “laoobadoochachamoo” or some other nonsense. Keep it going and see what happens.