They say that you spend one-third of your life sleeping.
That may be true for people who can manage to get a full 8 hours of sleep every night, but let's be honest– it's not always easy. Your life is full of late-night work shifts, helping the kids with their homework, doing the laundry, cooking dinner, grocery shopping, trying to unwind on your phone or computer– by the time it gets to be bedtime, your brain might still be going a mile a minute, or several miles a minute.
Luckily, we have a neat trick for those nights where it seems like your brain just won't slow down and let you get some zzz's. It only takes a couple of minutes and is 100 percent free to try. Interested? Well then, keep reading, my friend!
Get ready to have the best sleep ever!
Can't sleep?You're not alone. More than 20 million people experience occasional sleep problems — and that's only in the U.S.
There's nothing more frustrating than trying to get to sleep.Only to be kept awake by your brain deciding to go into hyperdrive at the least convenient moment. Maybe you're thinking about all the projects you have on your plate.
Or maybe you're replaying your most embarrassing memories.WHY do our brains do this to us?! Luckily, there's a nifty trick you can use to fall asleep.
It's pretty much the ultimate life hack.
via: ShutterstockI'm always up for learning a new trick, but one that can actually help me fall asleep? Sign me up!
You might want to take notes.There are only four steps to this trick. You can definitely do it.
Oh, did I mention they use it in the military?
via: ShutterstockApparently, members of the U.S. military are taught this exact trick in order to fall asleep in places that are not super peaceful. If it works for them, it might work for you, too!
Oh yeah! I forgot the best part.This hack only takes two minutes of your time. Yep! Sweet, blissful sleep might be a mere 120 seconds away for you! So let's get to it.
Step One: Relax Your Face.Yes, I know it sounds a little weird. Stick with me, here.
Pay attention to your face for a sec.You might actually be holding quite a bit of tension in it! I often find myself frowning even when I'm feeling perfectly fine! That tension adds stress and definitely makes it harder to fall asleep.
So shake it out.Focus especially on your tongue, your jaw, and the muscles around your eyes. It feels better already, doesn't it?
Step Two: Drop Those Shoulders.I'm guessing that until you read that last sentence, you were also holding some tension in your shoulders. Drop 'em!
Doesn't that feel much better?Just like the tension in your face, any tension in your shoulders can absolutely contribute to you not feeling relaxed enough to fall asleep.
Don't just drop your shoulders!Let your arms hang loose! Allow the relaxation to flow from the tippy top of your head to the tips your fingers. OK, your head and arms are relaxed. Time to move on to the next step.
Step Three: Breathe Out Slowly.Take a big, deep breath, then let it out slowly. Focus on continuing to relax your body.
We're gonna keep the relaxation train moving.Let the muscles in your chest relax.
Then relax every part of your body— all the way to your toes!At this point, you're going to start feeling as if you're melting into your mattress. That's good! If you start to tense up at any point, go through these first three steps again. Now that your body is relaxed, it's time to focus on your mind.
Step Four: Clear Your Mind.I know, I know. Easier said than done, right?
It might help to picture a chalkboard in your mind's eye.
via: ShutterstockThoughts are going to spring to the front of your mind — that's normal. But rather than letting them lead you down a garden path, "write" them on the chalkboard. Then, simply erase them! Do this for about 10 seconds before trying to picture one of the following three images.
1. You're floating in a canoe.
via: ShutterstockThe canoe is gliding gently over a perfectly flat lake. A very slight breeze might be rocking the boat ever so slightly. You hear some birds chirping in the distance, and a few dragonflies droning lazily near the shore.
2. You're in a dark room.
via: ShutterstockIt's not scary; just peacefully quiet and calm. You're laying in a hammock that is gently swinging back and forth.
Also, the hammock is made of black velvet.
via: ShutterstockThere are no other sounds in the room.
3. Repeat a MantraIf you really can't keep the thoughts from breaking through to your calm headspace, try to counteract them by thinking to yourself, "Don't think." Repeat the phrase to yourself to block out other, more intrusive thoughts.
Before you know it...You're going to fall asleep. Sounds pretty easy, right? You can totally handle this!
If it doesn't work the first time, don't give up!
via: ShutterstockIt may take a few tries before this practice really works. It might even take weeks before you're able to fall asleep easier. But it's totally worth it!
Apparently, this trick works for most people.Up to 96 percent of people, in fact! I'd say that means it's worth a try.
After all, not getting good sleep can lead to a host of medical issues.
via: ShutterstockIt can put you at risk for developing type two diabetes and/or heart disease. It can also lead to you lacking focus throughout the day, and that's no fun for anyone. Here are a few more tips to ensure you're making the best possible choices when it comes to going to sleep.
Don't look at your phone in bed.Ideally, you should limit all screen time during the two hours before you go to bed. The blue light that electronic screens emit can keep you awake. Switch to a book or something else!
Don't eat before bed, either.Not a huge meal, anyway. A handful of almonds or another healthy snack is totally fine. Eating a large meal right before bed can also keep you awake!
Stick to a bedtime.Sure, you might feel a little silly the first few nights, but our bodies typically thrive on routine. If you go bed at the same time every night — say, 10 pm — your body will naturally start to become tired around that time.
Good luck, and sweet dreams!
via: ShutterstockLet us know if this sleeping hack worked for you! And share this with someone who has trouble sleeping!