This yoga method is thought to reduce blood pressure and calm you. Holistic sleep therapist Peter Smith says: “Lie on your left side, resting a finger on your right nostril to close it. Start slow, deep breathing in the left nostril.” Peter, author of Sleep Better With Natural Therapies (£13.99, Singing Dragon, out October 28), says this technique is particularly good when overheating or menopausal hot flushes are preventing sleep.
2. Squeeze and relax
Relaxing all your muscles can prepare your body for sleep. Anxiety expert Charles Linden says: “Lying on your back, take a deep, slow breath in through your nose and, at the same time, squeeze your toes tightly as if you are trying to curl them under your foot, then release the squeeze.”
The author of Stress Free in 30 Days (£7.12, Hay House) adds: “On another slow breath, curl your foot up toward your knee, then release. Breathe again, contract your calf muscles, then your thighs, buttocks, belly, chest, arms, and so on until you have moved all the way up your body, squeezing and releasing the muscles one by one.”
When you have gone from head to toe, your breathing should be steady and you should feel ready for sleep.
3. Try to stay awake
Challenge yourself to stay awake – your mind will rebel! It’s called the sleep paradox, says psychotherapist Julie Hirst (worklifebalancecentre.org). She explains: “Keep your eyes wide open, repeat to yourself ‘I will not sleep’. The brain doesn’t process negatives well, so interprets this as an instruction to sleep and eye muscles tire quickly as sleep creeps up.”
4. Rewind your day
Remembering the mundane detail in reverse order clears your mind of worries. Sammy Margo, author of The Good Sleep Guide (£10.99, Vermilion) says: “Recall conversations, sights and sounds as you go. It helps you to reach a mental state that’s ready for sleep.”
5. Roll your eyes
Sammy says that closing your eyes and rolling the balls up three times can do the job. She says: “It simulates what you do naturally when you fall asleep and may help trigger the release of your sleepy hormone, melatonin.”
6. Just imagine
Visualisation meditation works best when you use at least three senses. Sammy explains: “Imagine yourself in a situation where you feel content – a tropical paradise, sailing on calm waters, walking in flower fields.
“As you explore your ‘happy place’ imagine smelling flowers, feeling grass or sand under your feet and hearing water lap against the boat. You should soon feel relaxed and drift off.”