3 Vagus Nerve Hacks for Sleep

vagus nerve hacks for sleep

Are you having trouble sleeping, or maybe you are feeling tired but wired before bed? You might be looking for practices to downregulate and improve your sleep. Today, we’ll explore three vagus nerve hacks that can help.

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How to Get Better Sleep: 3 Vagus Nerve Hacks

1. Cold Exposure

The first exercise is cold exposure. It might sound unusual before bed, but a small study suggests that cold exposure can stimulate the cardiac vagal reflex, promoting nervous system calmness. You can use an ice pack (not extremely cold) on your lateral neck, where the vagus nerve is located. The study used 16-second intervals, so you can apply and remove the ice pack or keep it on briefly (no longer than 20 minutes). Find a temperature that feels relaxing and soothing, not stress-inducing.

2. The Basic Exercise by Stanley Rosenberg

This exercise involves interlacing your fingers, bringing them behind your head on the occipital area, while lying down relaxed. Then, turn your eyes to one direction and hold it until you sigh, swallow, or yawn. Repeat on the other side. This exercise provides neurological input through your eyes and hands, increasing blood flow around the brainstem (where the vagus nerve exits). This can stimulate the vagus nerve and induce a state of rest and relaxation.

3. Ear Pull

You can perform this exercise on your side. Gently pull your earlobe back and out diagonally. Hold it until you sigh, swallow, yawn, or feel relaxed. Repeat on the other side.

Remember, you don’t have to do all three exercises. Choose one or try this routine before bed to promote relaxation.

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