There seems to be a trend for awful Internet banner ads promising “3 weird fat loss tips” or the secret to a flat stomach if you follow this “one weird tip”. Perhaps someone’s done market research and found the word “weird” to be particularly effective, or maybe it’s just testament to a chronic lack of imagination amongst Internet marketers. Either way I’m jumping on the bandwagon here.
The trouble with sleep articles is they tend to be pretty effective cures for insomnia themselves, ie; boring. So in a valiant attempt to buck the trend here are some slightly weird tips, and if you fall asleep reading it I still win.
1- Ear plugs
My bedroom is not noisy, but I recently tried using earplugs anyway and still saw an improvement in sleep quality. Depriving yourself of all sense of hearing save your own slow breathing and the steady white noise of blood moving in your dozy head creates a nice little hypnotic sleep cocoon.
The same applies for visual stimulation, blackout curtains are ideal, but an eye mask is a good second option, even if you already think your room is pretty dark.
2- Binaural beats
Stay with me here. Binaural beats or tones are “apparent” sounds, the perception of which is created when tones at two different frequencies are played through headphones to each ear. The effect was discovered in the 1800’s and it’s been claimed they can produce states of enhanced relaxation, meditation or creativity. Presumably in the 1800’s it was quite a difficult affair to try the effect for yourself, naturally in 2012 there’s an app for it.
I downloaded an app called AmbiSci to try this out as part of a recent obsession with altered states of consciousness and how to achieve them naturally (and without turning into a monkey like John Hurt in the movie of the same name). It took about a week of practising every night before I noticed changes, but I can now get into an almost lucid dream state within a few minutes of popping the headphones in. After about half an hour of this I remove the headphones and go straight into a deep sleep. That’s just my experience, but I suggest you give it a go.
3- Sleep cycle
While I’m on a technology theme, this app is worth a try too. It uses the movement sensor in the iPhone to build a picture of your sleep cycle based on your movements in bed. Then, using this possibly spurious voodoo, the app will wake you up within a half hour window prior to your alarm coinciding with your lightest possible sleep state. I’ve used it a bit and have always had the sensation that I was already awake when the alarm went off. Odd but interesting, try for yourself.