If you have trouble falling asleep at night, here's a tip that could change your life.
Are you ready? Here it is.
Get into a routine.
Yes, that's it.
It's deceptively simple, and here's how it works.
Your body loves routines. Absolutely adores them. Nearly every function in our body works on a cycle, with routine drops and rises. That includes energy, hunger, brain function, core body temperature, and yes, sleep.
So the best way to make sure you can switch off straight away at bedtime? Just make it a routine!
Your routine could be anything. Maybe you have a soak in the bath, brush your teeth, sip on a hot cup of bedtime tea and listen to a bit of music.
Or maybe you just lie on the couch and stare at the ceiling for fifteen minutes.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure you do it every night.
It works because your brain is a hard-wired creature of habit. If your brain notices you're doing all your habitual before-bed stuff, it's going to think, "Oh, must be bed time."
It'll then execute the bedtime protocol: lowering brain activity ready for you to drop right off once you slip into your sheets.
It's important that your routine isn't too stimulating, however. For instance, researchers suggest you avoid watching TV before bed because your brain becomes too active.
(We've all had those nights when we've settled down to watch one episode of Law and Order before bed, which then turned into an hours-long marathon!)
And by the same token, intense exercise is probably not a good thing to include in a pre-sleep routine. You don't want to get your blood pumping too much, because it will take time to slow down again, and you'll be back at square one.
If you often find yourself lying in bed wishing your brain would let you sleep already, this could really benefit you.