It's 2 am and you're looking at the clock again and wonder when on earth you are going to fall asleep. Another night watching the clock and staring at the ceiling. An other night tossing and turning, getting up in the middle of the night for a snack, a cup of soothing sleepy tea or any other potion that claims to help you sleep better. Is this ever going to end?
Insomnia. Some of us have been suffering, yes suffering, with this most of our adult lives. Can you imagine tossing and turning every night desperately trying to get in at least 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep while aiming for a night of 6 hours of sleep? These people are tired, they are wrecks, they're zombies. Insomniacs around the world are crying out for relief. Something, anything, so that they may even get a few hours of sleep.
1. Minimize overstimulation.
This means TV watching (especially suspenseful shows or cop shows or anything that gets you excited, anxious, scared or nervous), turning off all electronics at least one hour before bed and yes that means no cell phones or iPad in bed with you. Completely shut down and put away anything of those sorts.
2. Cut back on caffeine.
Now this one may sound like a no brainer but really it isn't. Caffeine will stay in your body longer than you think. Surprisingly enough, caffeine can stay in your body up to 14 hours. Try switching to decaf after 5 pm or even try an herbal tea.
3. Late night snacking is a killer.
Not only for your waistline but it will also affect your sleeping pattern. Your stomach is going to be working overtime to try and digest this sinful meal and while it's working to do that, your sleep will definitely be put on hold. There's no time to sleep now, the tummy is busy. Keep in mind too that if your stomach can't digest this devilish delight, get the Tums out.
4. Naps are for babies.
Who doesn't love naps? Don't we all wish we could lay down for an hour every day and shut the world out? Well some of us can and it won't affect our evening bed time. Others however aren't that lucky. If you are thinking about having a nap and you already know it's gonna hurt your night time sleep, try to schedule your nap early enough and set a timer. Maybe reduce your one hour nap to 30 minutes. You'll still feel great and refreshed.
5. Stress less.
Easier said than done. I know. You've had a crappy and stressful day and as you lay in bed trying to fall asleep, all the events of the day are playing and wreaking havoc in your head. How could you have handled that situation better? What should you have said to him instead? And we start to worry and stress. Time to let them go. There isn't anything you can do about any of it now. So how do we let go of this?
6. Meditation has been, for thousands of years, the number one healer of stress.
You should be doing it every day. Bedtime is the ideal time to be doing it. Release all the day's activities and bring in sleepy time thoughts and feelings. Meditation isn't something that has to take hours to do either. Releasing can be done in less than 15 minutes. Give it a whirl . The results may very well surprise you.
7. Journaling is a great way to dump all the crap that happened to us throughout the day so it's not jumbled up in our heads.
Take a few minutes about half an hour before bed and journal everything that made you angry, pissed you off, upset or hurt you or any thing else that simply didn't make you feel good. Write it all out. Get it off your chest. When you are done, read it and then destroy it. Phew. That felt good.
8. Limit your fluid intake.
If you are one of those that drink something and it literally goes right through you, you may want to limit your evening fluids. If you normally drink water or wine or coffee after 7 pm maybe try having your last glass of anything at around 6 and see what happens. This will be hard but at least try to reduce your intake if not completely eliminate it.
Insomnia isn't fun for anyone but there are ways to reduce it or at least improve your sleep. Give some of these a try, maybe one by one and see if things improve. Sometimes, insomnia is due to a medical condition in which case you should always follow the advice of your doctor.