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How to fall asleep quickly and soundly: experts advise the "five senses" technique

Maria ShevchukNews
Scientists offer an interesting technique to help avoid sleep problems. Source: pexels.com

Today, insomnia affects many people to some extent, if not all of them. Round-the-clock stress prevents people from falling asleep, and explosions and air raids wake up those who manage to go to sleep... All this causes chronic fatigue and becomes dangerous in a war when maximum concentration can save lives. New attempts to rest do not give the desired result, which leads to even more stress.

US doctor Deborah Lee offers a technique that promises to put even "chroniclers" to sleep, the Mirror writes. It is the "5 senses" technique, which allows you to "ground" yourself and start controlling your stream of thoughts. The technique usually helps in situations of stress, nervous tension, and panic attacks. But it is also effective when falling asleep. How does it work?

Fight, ran away, or... sleep?

According to the NHS (National Health Service of England), an adult needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. At the same time, sleep latency (time to fall asleep) should not exceed 30 minutes. Otherwise, the cycle will be disrupted, leading to sleep deprivation.

Usually, people can't fall asleep for a long time because they are stressed, "scrolling through a movie" of the events and experiences of the previous day and worrying about their tomorrow. The doctor calls this "amygdala hijacking."

"When you feel stressed or threatened, the amygdala turns on the sympathetic nervous system, the 'fight, flight and flight' system, which means that the body can run away from danger," explains Dr. Deborah Lee.

It's certainly not easy to fall asleep in this state. But how do you "turn off" the flow of thoughts and experiences?

Stop the monologue

To fall asleep, you need to use the parasympathetic nervous system. It is responsible for calmness and relaxation: it slows down the heartbeat and breathing, and lowers blood pressure.

It activates diaphragmatic breathing (deep breathing or abdominal breathing). Therefore, when going to bed, scientists advise taking several deep breaths and exhalations.

Deborah Lee calls the 5 senses technique a great way to calm down and immerse the body in a relaxation phase:

  • Sight. Think about the 5 colors you can see and what they make you think about.
  • Hearing. Think about 4 sounds you hear and think about what they are and where they come from.
  • Taste. Think of one thing you can taste. What does it remind you of?
  • Touch. Think about 3 things that touch you and how your body feels.
  • Smell. Think of 2 things you can smell and what they remind you of.

According to Lee, the technique stops the "inner monologue" and brings a person back to the present moment. This allows you to gain control over your thoughts and emotions, and get rid of negative experiences that prevent you from falling asleep.

What else can you do to please Morpheus?

Deborah Lee recommends combining the 5 senses technique with other life hacks to help you fall asleep:

  • Keeping a diary of emotions and gratitude – it is useful to transfer all the negative experiences of the day to paper, and then be sure to thank for the positive moments
  • intense physical activity during the day is the key to a good night's sleep, but in the evening it is better to give preference to more relaxed activities
  • frequent and long walks, especially in the morning and evening, are useful for falling asleep well
  • a cup of warm milk before bedtime can help, as it promotes the release of melatonin and serotonin, which are necessary for falling asleep
  • a warm bath before bed, where you can add lavender oil for a better effect.

Doctors also advise limiting caffeine intake in the afternoon, not eating right before bed, and putting away gadgets at least an hour before going to bed.

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