4 Sly Sleep Tips

Drift into dreamland and wake up energized with these offbeat yet science-backed strategies. No pills required!

1. Hum to hibernate. Humming is proven to lower blood pressure and can induce sleep by calming nerves and relaxing face, neck, and shoulder muscles, almost like a mini-massage, says Laughter Yoga physician-founder Madan Kataria. Tip: Hum your favorite tune or the sound “om” at bedtime.

2. Say “ahhh!” Controlled deep breathing can help you snooze. Dr. Andrew Weil, pioneer of integrative medicine, suggests this technique as a “natural tranquilizer”:  Breathe in quietly through your nose for 4 seconds, keeping tip of tongue just behind upper front teeth and mouth closed. Hold breath for 7 seconds. Breathe out audibly through your mouth for 8 seconds. Repeat 4 times at bedtime. Tip: Gradually increase to 8 repetitions. The subtle exercise gains power with practice, he says.

3. Muscle your way to sleep. A recent study showed progressive muscle relaxation exercises done at bedtime improved sleep and reduced fatigue in women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. Start by tensing and relaxing muscles in the toes, and gradually progress up to the face and head. Tense muscles for 5 seconds, relax for 30 seconds, and repeat. Tip: One full-body session takes about 10 minutes.

4. Boost B-12. Maybe lack of sleep isn’t why you’re constantly tired. People who consistently feel zapped of energy may have low B-12 levels, say researchers from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Studies show that up to 40 percent of Americans may have low levels of vitamin B-12.

This article is featured in the July/August 2017 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.