Do a body scan
The words ‘body scan’ may conjure up images of an airport security check, but this is something different – and an effective way to promote sleep, according to Tiffany Cruikshank, founder of Yoga Medicine and author of Mediate Your Weight. “The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for our ability to relax and fall asleep,” she says. “Body scanning is a simple technique that utilises this by bringing awareness to the body one point at a time, to bring the body back to a more coherent and relaxed state. Close your eyes and turn your attention to the natural movement of your breath. Feel yourself relax there for a moment. Then begin by noticing the sensations at the top of the head, the face, scalp and then the neck. Then, bring your attention to the right shoulder, arm, and then hand and repeat on the left side. Next notice your upper chest, abdomen, upper back, and mid- and low-back in that order. Lastly notice the right hip, leg, and foot; then repeat on the left side. End with your awareness in both feet and then on the body as a whole.” Try not to favour any specific area or start judging specific body parts you don’t like. In 10 to 20 minutes, you should be ready for a peaceful slumber.
Cuddle up with a weighted blanket
Swaddling babies is as old as time. Wrapping a baby snug in a blanket mimics the security and comfort of the womb, and helps babies fall asleep. A similar principle can apply for adults. We all know a snuggly blanket and a calming bedroom are sleep-inducing, but according to studies, a weighted blanket may help those who suffer from more than the occasional sleepless night. When certain points on the body are stimulated by touch (or a weighted blanket), this type of deep-touch therapy promotes sleep by causing the brain to release serotonin, which regulates sleep.
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