Binaural Beats, Weighted Blankets—6 Things That'll Help You Switch Off

Tip: You don't have to wait for bedtime to do them!

sleep tips switch off
Image: iStock

You’ve probably heard of deep breathing, meditation and minimising phone usage at night as ways of helping you wind down and get to sleep—but there are some other evidenced-bath methods out there which may help you switch off of an evening. Here, sleep specialist Olivia Arezzolo takes us through them…

1. Begin your anti-stress routine earlier in the evening

Not just right before you go to sleep! Given how busy most of our works schedules are, recognise that alongside your ‘bedtime’ routine, a post-work routine is also key to switching off. The earlier, the better! In line with evidence published in International Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, blocking yourself from blue light as soon as you arrive home allows your body to produce melatonin, the hormone to make you sleepy; and equally, lowers your production of cortisol, the stress hormone to keep you awake. I advise and personally use, the ones from Blu Blox.

2. Take a bath, rather than a shower (if possible).

Academic research has found bathing rather than showering more effective to lower stress, anxiety and alleviate fatigue—so jump in the bath if you can. Only left with a shower at home? Fear not— between your gym, local aquatic complex and best mates, you’re bound to find one.

crystal bath
Image courtesy of Energy Muse

3. Tune into some binaural beats

As Medical News Today states, binaural beats therapy is an emerging form of soundwave therapy in which the right and left ears listen to two slightly different frequency tones yet perceive the tone as one. Clinical trials have found binaural beats more effective to reduce anxiety than regular music and no music, it’s a clever addition to your bath above—which also aids your mission to calm down. Researchers found anxiety reduced by 26.3% for those listening to binaural beats, 11.1% for those listening to the same music, minus the binaural sounds, and 3.8% for those listening to no music. You can find some free ones on Youtube.

4. Protect yourself against blue light during the day too

Research notes cortisol—stress hormone to make you feel wired and anxious—is triggered with exposure to blue light anytime—not just in the evening. If you can’t avoid screens because you regularly work with a computer / are a dedicated student, do yourself a favour and grab some daytime blue light specs—I love the ones from Local Supplythey use tried and trusted lenses by Carl Zeiss.

switch off
Example of fractals to reduce stress. Image source: Shutterstock

5. Surround yourself with fractals

Demonstrated by painter Jackson Pollock’s pieces, fractals are geometrical figures which gradually get smaller and smaller—think of a tree limb, snowflake or mountain. Frontiers of Human Neuroscience shows they reduce stress—so popping this pattern as your desktop wallpaper or as a picture on your toilet door will be oddly helpful. Strange but true!

6. Try weighted blankets

As published in Journal of Sleep Medicine and Disorders, they are shown to improve calmness in the evening, both subjectively and objectively—individuals using them report to feel more settled, and physiological tracking demonstrates they toss and turn less. I love these weighted (Therapy) Blankets—not only are they good for me, but the brand uses bamboo—so it’s good for the environment too.
You can find more helpful sleep tips over at @oliviaarezzolo!

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