When is the best time to gank?

Cologne -

Relaxing and falling asleep in peace - that is currently even more difficult than usual for many. Constantly new reports about the coronavirus and the associated fears and worries make the carousel of thoughts swirl in your head. Restful sleep is so important: The brain in particular needs the offline status, because at night what was experienced during the day is wired. We have put together nine tips that can help you calm down more quickly in the evening.

A snack that makes you tired

A spoonful of honey or a handful of walnuts. And why? Quite simply: the glucose in honey suppresses the production of the waking hormone orexin. Walnuts, on the other hand, are particularly rich in tryptophan. They also stimulate the production of the sleep hormone melatonin.

Choose a pleasant fragrance

A pleasant scent like lavender, vanilla or even the scent of fresh laundry can help put us in a relaxed state. We can better switch off and relax. It is up to you whether you choose fragrances in the form of sprays, essential oils or rattan sticks.

Always go to bed at the same time

Humans are creatures of habit: our biorhythm also likes regular sleep times. Between 10 p.m. and midnight is the best time to fall asleep, explains Prof. Ingo Fietze, head of the interdisciplinary sleep medicine center at the Charité in Berlin. Basically, the first four hours of sleep are the best and most relaxing, because this is the time you get the largest portion of deep sleep, according to the expert. It is less important whether these hours are slept before or after midnight.

Write a to-do list

“We can't not think,” explains sleep researcher Prof. Jürgen Zulley. Therefore, one should concentrate on something positive, monotonous. Zulley recommends soft, calm music, relaxation techniques, or audio books. If we are already thinking about the next purchase or the missing toilet paper, we can simply write down to-dos and problems. Then we don't have to worry about forgetting them overnight and can sleep in peace.

Introduce rituals

An evening ritual helps prepare mentally and physically for sleep. Mind your head and body: now it's time to go to bed. A possible ritual could be a warm bath in low light. The important thing is to find something that can be repeated daily. The goal is to signal the body that it is time to shut down.

Drink no alcohol

Many believe that they can relax better with a glass of beer or wine in the evening. And this relaxation should also encourage falling asleep. But this calculation does not work out. Because alcohol disrupts the important REM phases in which the body recovers. A cup of herbal tea or warm milk with honey are more suitable.

Introduce relaxation exercises

Relaxation techniques like autogenic training can help calm down. As they relieve stress, they can improve the ability to sleep. “The fact is, however, that although they make it easier to fall asleep, they often cannot do anything against problems sleeping through the night, as they do not affect the course of sleep,” says Ingo Fietze.

One method that is easy to use - even for laypeople - is progressive muscle relaxation. The individual muscle parts are first tensed one after the other in a certain order, the muscle tension is kept briefly, and then consciously released again. It starts with the toes. Then calves, knees, thighs, stomach, hands, arms, shoulders and jaws are tensed and relaxed again one after the other. Last is the head.

Avoid disturbing movies or news

It's okay to sit in front of the screen in the evening to relax. But you shouldn't look at anything that upsets you, ”says Peter Young, Director of the Clinic for Sleep Medicine and Neuromuscular Diseases at Münster University Hospital. Watching the hundredth talk show about the developments of the coronavirus is therefore not advisable before going to sleep. It is even less advisable to sleep with the television on. On the one hand, the irregular noise level disturbs the rest of the night. On the other hand, the blue light on the screen inhibits the production of the sleep hormone melatonin.

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No-go: tablet or smartphone in bed

Unlike a good book, the internet is never read on a tablet or smartphone. Push notifications, discussions in WhatsApp chat or a funny quarantine video on Instagram - we are constantly pulling out our smartphones and want to know what is going on in the wide world of the Internet. But that means the head never comes to rest, it becomes more and more difficult to fall asleep and the thoughts circle.

In addition, not only do we fall asleep worse, it also affects the quality of sleep. A Norwegian study shows that someone who often looked at the screens of smartphones, tablets and the like in the hour before going to bed slept significantly worse. The more often the media was used, the longer it took to fall asleep, the shorter the actual sleep - and ultimately the greater the sleep deficit. Very important: especially in the current situation, all electronic devices should be switched off before going to bed - ideally an hour before going to bed. So your head and thoughts can come to rest. (sar / chy)