To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders
Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications
| Last updated
There is nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night…and not being able to fall back to sleep.
We thought we’d tried everything: counting backwards from 100, reading books and even going to the loo to see if we can tire ourselves out.
But it turns out, we’d be going about this entirely the wrong way: watch the video below.
And after years of trying to coax herself back into the land of nod using a variety of different methods, she found a bag of peas to be her sleeping saviour.
How does it work? Well, by putting something cold on her chest, Frankie is stimulating her ‘vagus nerve’.
The vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the body, and plays an important role in the body’s ‘rest and digest’ response.
"When you’re suffering with anxiety, you’re likely going to experience racing thoughts, increased heart rate and a feeling of adrenaline – all of which will halt your sleep," Giulia Guerrini, the lead pharmacist from digital pharmacy www.medino.com, tells Tyla.
"The vagus nerve (the longest nerve in the body) connects the brain to many important internal organs and regulates their functions, such as digestion, heart rate, and respiratory rate, as well as vasomotor activity and certain reflex actions: such as coughing, sneezing, swallowing, and vomiting."
There are several ways to stimulate this nerve, which allows your body to ‘rebound and relax’ if you’re feeling a period of anxiety.
“The nerve itself stimulates certain muscles in the heart that help to slow heart rate and when it overreacts, you can experience a sudden drop in heart rate. If you apply some ice – like a pack of frozen peas, or even a cold flannel – to the side of your neck, you’ll be able to regulate the nerve, cool down your body temperature and slow down your heart rate, allowing your body to relax and come out of its anxious state.
"If you’re brave enough, you can even start taking cold showers or at least ending the shower with a 30 second cold water, which can also be very good for your skin and hair," Guerrini says. "It’s perfectly safe to ice your vagus nerve as it’s one of the easiest ways to directly cool and calm down the nerve, allowing it to regulate."
Deep breathing exercises, meditation and singing can stimulate the nerve.
Regular stimulation of the vagus nerve may also have numerous long term benefits, including the ability to calm yourself down quicker when you’re placed under stress.
“There are many other ways to ease restless nights and anxiety too," Guerrin says. "The first step to take is to try and ensure that you’re following an evening routine: make sure you’re not on your screens just before you try to sleep, and that you’re not drinking caffeine in the evening or eating too close to bedtime.
“Also, even if you’re feeling tired throughout the day, try to limit any daytime naps as these can affect your quality of sleep in the evening.
“If you’re worried about your sleeping and haven’t yet spoken to a professional about the anxiety you’re experiencing, book an appointment to speak to your GP as soon as possible so that they can help you."
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read