If your overactive mind keeps you awake in the small hours, you could have a condition called sleep anxiety that unfortunately gets worse the less shut eye you get – but there are tricks you can use to nip it in the bud.
In a special report on sleep in the latest issue of Women’s Health magazine experts have revealed the rather quirky ways to melt away the worries that keep you up in the night.
If you regularly miss out on sleep it activates the brain’s worry centre, which makes it harder to sleep that can in turn lead to psychophysiological insomnia where you’re so worried about not getting enough rest that you can’t get to sleep.
Here are the tricks you need to calm that overactive mind so that you wake up feeling refreshed after your eight hours.
You need a slow, even pulse – under 60 beats per minute – to usher your body into unconsciousness, which means convincing those unbidden but seemingly relentless racing thoughts to slow down.
Try calming your muscles by starting at your feet and working upwards, tensing and relaxing each area for a few seconds until you get to the top of your head.
This technique makes you aware of what both strain and rest feel like throughout your body and signals to your muscle groups that it’s time for sleep.
Before your go to bed jot down your top three stressors with an action item for each.
Just acknowledging them stops unproductive ruminating, allowing your mind to switch off, but make you don’t do this anywhere near your bed.
Having an orgasm can help you sleep by releasing the hormone oxytocin, which counteracts stress hormones, as well as serotonin and norepinephrine to help your body cycle through the deeper stages of slow-wave and REM.
The pressure can trigger your brain to pump out soothing neurotransmitters, akin to being on the receiving end of a proper good hug.
The most soporific songs have a consistent rhythm of 50 to 60 beats per minute and will encourage listeners’ heart rates will gradually slow to match it.
They’re also five minutes or longer, and have no catchy refrain to keep your brain engaged, according to a study by Mindlab International, who claim the perfect mix of these attributes can reduce anxiety by 65 per cent.
This research resulted in a wordless eight-minute melody called Weightless by the band Marconi Union – it sounds like the love child of a classic spa tune and an outer-space movie score.