The frustration of tossing and turning the night before a big test or presentation is enough to throw you off your game. At one time or another, we’ve all experienced this. Handing this situation is tricky. However, there are things you can do to settle in for at least a few hours of shut-eye. Read on for a few suggestions. But first, let’s talk about things you SHOULD NOT DO!
3 Things You Should Not Do When You Need to Get to Sleep Fast
Panic– this will lead to anxiety and that is a sure ticket to a sleepy morning.
Reach for a bottle– If it is a bottle of alcohol or a bottle of pills, it may seem to help in the short term but long term it is not the best option.
Stay in bed– You may think I have put this in the wrong place in this article. But I assure you I have not. Laying in bed awake will cause your brain to bring up all sorts of worrisome thoughts. Again this is anxiety-producing and not going to help you get to sleep fast… if at all.
3 Bedtime Snacks to Help You Get to Sleep Fast
Being hungry will make it difficult to relax. However, reckless midnight snacking may make matters worse. The key is to choose the foods carefully and eat a minimal amount to satisfy you through the night.
Here are a few of my favorite bedtime snacks that do not interfere with my sleep.
Milk- Perhaps you have heard that turkey makes us sleepy is because it contains the amino acid tryptophan which helps your body to produce melatonin. But I am not one who keeps turkey as a staple in my fridge so I choose milk. Milk also contains tryptophan. It has protein and it is just plain soothing. Some people like it gently warmed.
Nuts- Walnuts are high in magnesium, which is known to help you fall asleep faster and sleep longer. They also have a healthy amount of omega fats, protein and fiber to help you feel full. It only takes a handful, so it is a very quick and easy fix. It doesn’t even require you to turn on a light if you keep some near your bed!
Bananas- I know very few people who don’t love the sweet creamy flavor of a banana. They are just missing out. Bananas also contain tryptophan. You can just eat them fresh or if you like tea, try a banana tea. Remove the peel and slice the banana into small sections. Place the fruit in a pot with a small amount of water in it. Place the pot on a burner on medium heat until the water boils. Strain the fruit out and drink the liquid as a tea with some. I once had an insomniac roommate who swore by this. Let me know if it works for you too.
The preferred solution would be to be sure you have eaten enough before bedtime to avoid midnight hunger pangs. But in a pinch, these foods will work well.
3 Tricks to Calm Your Brain
Brain Dump- It’s so difficult at times to turn off your mental engine when you have so much going on. You need to put your endless to-do list and problem-solving brain to bed. One of the most effective ways to do that is to do a brain dump to get your thoughts out of your brain. As fast as you can, write down everything that is on your mind. Don’t try to think about any of it. Just tell your brain you will sort it tomorrow. You will find that your mind will quit spinning and allow you to settle
Soothing Music-I love music in general, but when it lulls me to sleep quickly, it is my best friend. I have put together a playlist of my favorite soothing music that is about 10 hours long. This playlist includes some music with delta waves. I have found that with it playing quietly in the background I will drift into sleep quickly and sleep solidly through the night
Read a Book- I’d recommend that you stay away from self-help books. You need to read something that will not get your curious mind thinking too hard. Read a fantasy, a love story or poetry.
3 Techniques to Relax Your Body
Warm Bath- For me, nothing that beats a warm bath with bubbles at the end of a day. I like to have the lights off or dimmed and scented candles nearby. Even if you don’t have the candles and bubbles, a warm bath can help you get to sleep fast. Use the time to pray, meditate, listen to music or recite affirmations. Whatever you do, do not allow yourself to review the things that stress you.
Progressive Relaxation- This is a way of training your body to relax when it is time. It does take some practice, but it works every time. This is a type of meditation but easier because you are focusing on your muscles.
You start by clinching up the muscles in your feet, curling your toes uptight. Then let out a breath slowly as you relax those muscles. Move up to your ankles and calves. Repeat the process of tensing up your muscles and then consciously relaxing each one slowly. I like to imagine that part of my body sinking into a cloud. Continue this up your body including your face and head. I usually don’t make it past my waist. How far up can you get?
Movement- Try a short walk or a few stretches. This may help you “get your wiggles out”, as my mom used to say. A bit of movement can help your body let go of the stress it is holding in your muscles.
Here’s to Sweet Dreams
When you need to get to sleep fast watching the clock will stress you out. However, there are several other things you can do to relax your body and calm your brain. Try some of these or find others that work.
Please comment below to share what works for you