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What if there was a way to completely and momentarily escape the world around us? What if there was a way to only hear what is going in our head and experience nothing else? And, if there was a way to encounter all of this, what would it be like? Would it be relaxing? Would it mend mental wounds that prevent rest? Well, perhaps we might not need to ask further. Perhaps we might have a way to experience it first hand and find another way to help us sleep at night. However, the method to experience this potential phenomenon is straight out of a Sci-Fi thriller. Your best night’s sleep might be waiting inside of a Isolation Tank.
Behold! Today’s modern isolation tank! Not quite as intimidating as the movies portray, but almost as equally mysterious as they depict. The Isolation Tank was first invented in 1953 by neuroscientist John Lilly as a way to study response in the brain to a limited sensory output. “The tank immersed the user into a totally dark and silent environment in which sound and vision as well as other sensory inputs were virtually eliminated.” writer
With everyday life there is stress. Stress of work, stress of school, stress of exercise, etc. The main point is that stress is almost inherently in each and every aspect of our everyday. This stress weighs heavy on our minds and bodies and not exhausts us physically but also mentally. Prolonged exposure to these stresses without relief and recovery can lead to more serious problems. The Isolation Tank hails itself as a way to allow the mind to relax and, in a way, begin to heal itself or, at the very least, escape the stress for awhile. When floating in the tank, the water is the same temperature as our skin, the lights are completely off, and the capsule is sound proof. All these factors leave the active mind without the subconscious processing of the senses, and in other words, leaves the floater with their thoughts and nothing else. With just our thoughts and nothing else being registered, we may be able to peer into our minds and fix what is broken or calm what is hectic. At the very least, a user can calmly float and take a well-deserved nap.
Without actually trying one yet, I cannot say that the tank is a divine gift from above that has cured what keeps me up at night. Though I must admit, the list of what tank users have reported being relieved of makes me want to sign up immediately. The image of just floating carefree and detached from reality sounds like the goal of most vacations; even if it is for an hour or so. If you are stressed, exhausted, or just need a quick getaway, perhaps looking up your local float tank center and becoming a Psychonaut could be the perfect fit for you.
We all have our own unique bedtime routines, but some are more “out-of-the-ordinary” than others. Below we will explore how these techniques might help you relax and fall into a deep sleep.
Use A Weighted Blanket
As babies, our parents swaddled us tightly in blankets. This feeling helps babies sleep because it simulates the tight space of the womb. It also prevents babies from restless movement and twitching, promoting a deeper sleep. The same concept applies for adults. Weighted blankets are filled with a variety of things from rice to poly pellets. The weight that these blankets apply to your body simulates the feeling of being swaddled. It is especially good for adults who experience continuous restless nights.
Text Source: Reader’s Digest (http://www.rd.com/health/wellness/sleep-tricks)
Try To Stay Awake
This may seem counterproductive, but trying to force yourself to stay awake can trick your brain into getting drowsy. Sort of a reverse psychology on yourself. Studies have shown that keeping your eyes wide open and keeping your body completely still with no electronics or lights on can actually help you fall asleep faster. I tried this method a couple of times this last week, and sure enough, the longer I tried to stay “wide-awake” the faster I fell into a deep sleep.
Text Source: Life Hacker (http://lifehacker.com/you-may-actually-fall-asleep-faster-if-you-try-to-stay-1693693901)
Watch And Listen To ASMR
This is probably one of the most interesting relaxation techniques out there, but over the past few years, it has been gaining in popularity over social media. ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, and is defined as, “a feeling of euphoric tingling and relaxation that can come over someone when he or she watches certain videos or hears certain sounds” (Sleep.org) These responses can be triggered by very simple sounds that we hear every day such as the tapping of rain on a tin roof or the sound of writing with a pencil on paper. These sounds start a tingle at the top of your scalp, and as it travels down your body, your mind relaxes and you can drift to sleep. Now, this hasn’t been proven to work for everyone, but for those of us that it does, it is a great way to relax. If you are interested in listening to ASMR videos there are hundreds of them on YouTube. Below is an example of one of the popular ASMR videos by ASMR Darling.
Text Source: Sleep.org (https://sleep.org/articles/what-is-asmr/)
Video Source: YouTube (https://youtu.be/WX6SPJxurLo)
Roll Your Eyes
Research has shown that this simple trick can trigger the release of melatonin in your brain. All you need to do is close your eyes, and roll your eyes down and then back up. Do this a few times. Rolling your eyes like this mimics the beginnings of REM (Rapid Eye Movements).
Text Source: Restful Insomnia (http://www.restfulinsomnia.com/eye-roll/)
Text Source: Mirror (http://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/unable-sleep-eleven-ways-you-2300449)
Make A To-Do List About Your Next Day’s Tasks
If you are like me, you worry about what needs to be done the next day. One way to ease your concerns a little is to write down your to-do list on a piece of paper. Writing each task down makes you feel like you are more in control of your day. So, you can rest easy at night knowing that you have a plan of attack for the next day.
Text Source: Huffington Post: (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/greg-kushnick-psyd/5-rarely-seen-tricks-for-_b_10153342.html)