Take time to unwind

Caroline Baumker, Editor-in-Chief

Whether it’s because they have a lot on their mind or they are stressed out, everyone at one point has had trouble sleeping. The best thing a person can do in order to sleep is relax. But,  it is not always easy to do.

One activity a person can do to help is mindful breathing.

“Mindful breathing is paying attention to your breath,” special education teacher Kimberly Carbonneau said.

Mindful breathing helps calm the mind and the body and put them into a relaxed state. Having a clear mind is a key point in calming down and falling asleep.

Another method people can use along with mindful breathing is guided imagery which is when the person who made the simulation audio instructs the listener or listeners to visualize a certain setting like a beach or someplace familiar.

“[It is best used to] slow…down your breathing, de-stress [and] focus on something other than what causes you stress,” Carbonneau said.

Aromatherapy is also beneficial for improving sleep according to the Mayo Clinic. Basically, different oils are extracted from plants and applied to the skin through bath salts, lotions, massages or are inhaled indirectly or directly.

“Aromatherapy is thought to work by stimulating smell receptors in the nose, which then send messages through the nervous system to the limbic system — the part of the brain that controls emotions,” Dr. Brent A. Bauer said.

Outside of sleep patterns, aromatherapy gives relief from depression and anxiety, reduces pain of people with osteoporosis in their knees and improves life for people who have dementia among other things.

Yoga and guided meditation can also help individuals relax before going to bed.

“Yoga naturally puts you into a relaxing state…It naturally leads to meditation,” Carbonneau said.

Guided meditation is recommended for beginners as it prompts people on how to do the exercises and what way to breathe to get their bodies into a relaxed state of mind.

Listening to white noise is also recommended before sleeping.

According to the National Sleep Foundation “White noise works by reducing the difference between background sounds and a `peak` sound, like a door slamming, giving you a better chance to sleep through it undisturbed. If you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, creating a constant ambient sound could help mask activity from inside and outside the house.”

Even as people  sleep, their brains continue to pick up sounds, so a sudden noise can possibly wake them up during the night and disturb their sleep.

According to the National Sleep Foundation “…[C]reating a quiet bedroom environment is key to a full, healthy night’s rest. If you feel as though you’ve slept 7-9 hours but are still drowsy the next day, sound is a possible culprit.”