It’s no secret - good-quality sleep is vital to physical and mental development. We’ve already explored the effects sleep deprivation can have on your well-being, and we’ve also looked into creating the perfect sleep environment to help you hit those Zs with ease.

But maybe you’ve tried all these techniques and you’re still tossing and turning with frustration every night – especially with the summer heat we’ve experienced.

Well, we’ve researched a range of handy tips and tricks of the well-rested, and here’s a round-up of what we found...

The 4-7-8 breathing technique

This is a simple, but unusual breathing trick that may hold the key to better sleep.

Breathing techniques are very much in-vogue at the moment. From DIY psychological meditation such as mindfulness, to the evergreen practice of yoga, we are becoming more aware of the importance of self.

However, meditation and yoga aren’t for everyone. Especially those who don’t have the time – or will – to keep distracted from everyday life for substantial periods of time.

Thankfully, there may be a breathing technique to help relax you and induce sleep that – apparently – could work in under a minute when a consistent routine has been practiced daily for about 4-6 weeks.

The 4-7-8 breathing method was devised by Dr Andrew Weil, a US sleep expert, who explains that it works by allowing the lungs to become full of air, letting more oxygen into the body, which in turn promotes a feeling of calm.

The method, which originates from yoga breathing, is really easy to practice:

-          Exhale through your mouth, making a ‘whoosh’ sound

-          Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds

-          Hold your breath for 7 seconds

-          Blow air out forcibly through your mouth for 8 seconds

-          Repeat 3 times

Dr Weill advises you repeat these steps 2 times a day for a period of 4-6 weeks.

Don't allow yourself a lie-in!

You’ve probably heard that a regular bed time routine can really help you get a great night’s sleep, but what about a regular wake up time too?  It’s all down to your circadian rhythm, which is at its happiest in a routine. 

Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, you’ll feel much better for it, and it could help you feel like you have the energy to incorporate other sleep inducing behaviours in to your routine, such as regular exercise.

You snooze… you don’t lose!

Build time into your routine to take a rest – especially if you haven’t slept so well the night before.  If you can take an afternoon nap, no more than 30 minutes is perfect and this can really help you to re-energise. 

But, don’t have a nap too late in the day or you could have trouble falling to sleep - around 2-3pm is a good time to grab 20 winks.  It isn’t recommended to nap if you are an insomniac who has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night.

Eat well to rest well

Eating too late and eating too much can really affect your rest.  Your body needs time to digest your food, and waking up your metabolism late at night can end up leaving you wide awake too.  Avoiding alcohol, caffeine and heavy, rich meals close to night time can all help you to sleep better.

Do you have any unique tips that help you hit the land of nod faster? Let us know in the comments section below.

Sources

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/03/12/simple-4-7-8-breathing-trick-can-induce-sleep-in-60-seconds/

https://www.healthline.com/health/4-7-8-breathing#3

https://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/this-60-second-breathing-technique-beats-stress-improves-health-might-even-cure-your-insomnia.html

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/how-to-get-to-sleep/

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/sleep-habits_n_4145681?guccounter=1

https://sleepcouncil.org.uk/