The seemingly simple task of drifting off to sleep can be difficult. Whether you encounter a minor speed bump from having caffeine too late in the day or hit a full-on stop sign from mounting stress, there are a number of factors that contribute to insomnia or poor quality of sleep. Sometimes, the solution lies in the simplest of cures: going back to basics and relying on your senses.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs places physiological needs—a list that includes sleep—at the utmost importance. And while we all know that ignoring this basic need is dangerous, mastering peaceful rest remains tricky for so many people, which is why we tapped experts across various industries to learn how to use what we already have to our advantage. From sleep-inducing scents to soothing sounds meant to help you fall asleep and stay asleep, here’s how to beat insomnia using your five senses.
Try dabbing some essential oil on pressure points before turning in or using an oil diffuser near your bed to encourage restful sleep. Lavender is the most widely known calming scent, but sleep science researcher Neil Stanley says orange blossom, vetiver, chamomile, and sandalwood “are also beneficial to aiding good, relaxing sleep.”
CBD, the non-psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, is well known for its ability to chill us out, which makes CBD chocolate the perfect midnight snack. Tomer Grassiany is the founder of To Whom It May, a line of CBD-infused treats, and he advises that beginners start with one of his 10-milligram CBD bonbons. According to Grassiany, this makes for a more peaceful night’s sleep.
“Self-massage can soothe nerves and elevate mood,” says Jenefer Palmer, founder of OSEA Malibu. Before turning in, Palmer recommends giving a little love to your vagus nerve, which calms the parasympathetic nervous system. Simply warm up some oil with your fingertips and gently massage the outer edges of the front of your neck, using slow, upward strokes.
Bedtime stories aren’t just for kids; they’re a powerful tool for anyone struggling with a racing mind. The meditation app Calm offers a wide variety of grown-up options, which not only supplant the stressful thoughts that keep us awake (according to Michael Acton Smith, co-CEO of Calm) but also promote a feeling of safety by reminding us of cozy childhood tuck-ins.
Light is the enemy of sleep, according to Jan Stritzke, deputy medical director at Lanserhof Tegernsee. Blackout curtains and eye masks are good solutions for blocking out street lamps and other external sources of illumination, but Stritzke also recommends keeping glow-emitting electronics out of the bedroom. If all else fails, start saving up for a relaxing stay at Lanserhof Tegernsee, which offers blue-light–filtering glasses and specially darkened rooms.
This story originally appeared in the Winter 2018 issue of Domino, titled “Outsmart Insomnia.” Subscribe to be the first to receive each issue.
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