I'm an expert and here's my sleep hack to drop straight off in minutes

MANY people dread going to bed for fear they’ll spend an hour or two staring at the ceiling wide awake.

Getting to sleep quickly is the dream – but rarely happens.

There are dozens of techniques that sleep experts swear by in order to hasten sleep.

Some swear by breathing exercises, while one expert says the secret to preparing your body for sleep is putting your feet on a hot water bottle while watching TV.

Some of the more obscure sleep tricks include lettuce water, eating cherries, and holding a bag of frozen peas to your chest.

Martin Seeley, MattressNextDay CEO and internal sleep expert, has his own go-to sleep inducing hacks.

He said: “If you’re still struggling to sleep, try this meditative technique, otherwise known as a full-body scan. 

“Simply close your eyes and breathe slowly. 

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“Next, focus on your face and think about relaxing each of the muscles in your face. 

“After thirty seconds to a minute, move onto your neck and do the same thing for thirty seconds. Then your shoulders, and then your arms. 

“Essentially, you want to relax every muscle until you make your way down to your feet.”

The body scan is a popular method used by millions of people.

There are countless guided versions on apps and YouTube that talk you through the practice while helping you to stay focused.

If it doesn’t work for you, try the “cognitive shuffle”.

Martin said: “You should list random items in your head that are easy to visualise but not directly related i.e. potatoes, Tarzan, a violin. 

“This will tire your brain out and help keep your mind off issues preventing you from sleeping. 

“If you’re struggling to think of words, make your way through the alphabet then repeat.”

While these practices are for bed time, experts say it’s necessary to wind down in the hours before, too.

This way, by the time you reach your bed, you’re already feeling drowsy.

Martin said: “You should also create a winding down which you implement every night. 

“When you’re stressed or anxious, your body produces more of the stress hormone, cortisol. The higher the cortisol, the more awake you feel. 

“This is why it’s important to have a nighttime routine full of calming activities. 

“This could include anything from yoga to stretching, meditating to deep breathing, journaling or even having a hot bath – all of which are proven to help you relax.”

Evening sleep-inducing routines start hours before bedtime.

Martin said: “Firstly, you should turn the night mode feature on your phone at least three hours before bed. 

“Light can impact your internal body clock otherwise known as your circadian rhythm.

"Being in a room that features light, even if it’s just from your phone, signals to your brain to stay awake. 

“For similar reasons, you should dim your lights late afternoon to send a signal to your brain that it’s nearing bedtime, and you should fall asleep in a virtually black room.”

Other tips include exercising around four hours before bed, eating dinner at least three hours before, and having a calming hot drink one hour before bed.

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