Even when you go to bed getting ready to sleep, do you still find your eyes wide open and your mind wandering around in places you don’t want to recall? Yeah…you most likely have insomnia.
Since you have clicked to read this post, I am sure you are finding difficulty to sleep at night just like I did months ago.
I won’t be sharing with you any remedies or medications that you can use to go to sleep when experiencing insomnia. Instead, all I wanna share with you are the different ways you can work on getting a night of better sleep.
What exactly is insomnia?
As we all know insomnia is a sleeping disorder that we can face when we are unable to sleep properly or at all. So the different meaning of insomnia is:
According to my personal experience with insomnia, I have come to figure out that there are three main causes of being unable to sleep at night. These are
1) Caffeine intake
If I had a cup of coffee before my bedtime by 2-3 hours, then I find it hard to sleep easily when going to bed. Now it can be different for others. They might not have any problem with caffeine before bedtime. I was one of these people in the past. Caffeine never affected me before, but now it does.
The other reason is anxiety. Whenever I feel anxious about something, I find myself unable to sleep. Anxiety is a mental illness that needs attention. It doesn’t have to be drug intake. It can just be that you look after yourself and practice some strategies that can help you overcome anxiety.
The last reason is stress. With the chaotic lifestyle that most of us (if not all) are living in today, it is quite often that we experience stress. Trying to deal with your work and then your private life can be truly frustrating and exhausting. So we might start getting stressed out when we think about our next day before going to bed.
What are some ways to get rid of insomnia?
Now that you know the causes of insomnia, let us look at the different ways you can overcome it. However, you need to commit to practicing these tips regularly.
There is nothing from these tips that will work for you from the first attempt itself. As you practice, your body will get used to the process and will tell your brain to go to sleep.
Practice Meditation / Yoga
To those of you who haven’t tried any of the two, I know this sounds redundant and speculative when you read it. I have been there. I never believed in the benefits of Yoga and meditation until I have truly understood them. Trust me, they are very effective and essential for our well-being; both physically and mentally.
I started practicing yoga months ago and it really helped me with a lot of things. After I started my morning yoga routine, I became more focused and energized. My morning became more productive and my body got more flexible than it was (ok, I wasn’t flexible at all).
When I was one of the victims of insomnia, I was trying to look for different solutions for it. I came across some yoga poses that helped with getting more sleep. I tried them and I could truly feel the difference.
Even if I didn’t go to bed immediately, with my bedtime yoga routine, I found my body to be more relaxed and tension free.
Meditation and mindfulness are also practices that are found to be effective. Now I will be honest with you. I haven’t really tried mindfulness yet but meditation did work for me. By focusing on my breathing and clearing my head, it helped get to sleep faster.
Listen to calming music
This is a form of meditation that instead of focusing on your breathing, you focus on the music.
When you choose to listen to some kind of meditation music, you need to specify for what reason are you listening to this music. There are different kinds of meditation music including sleep, anxiety, stress, studying, working, concentration, relaxation, etc.
So make sure you search for meditation music for sleep. You will find tons of them on YouTube and they truly are effective.
When the music is on and penetrating your ears, make sure it reaches your mind. The trick about this approach for helping you to sleep is to bring your full attention and focus on a particular part of the melody. Enjoy the pattern of the piano and the serenity of how the music makes you feel.
It’s ok (and natural) if your mind got distracted and started thinking about other things. You just have to bring it back to the melody and focus on the tune of the piano or violin.
Write a diary or journal your thoughts
I can never stop talking about the positive effects of journaling. The change of feelings that takes place after writing down all your positive thoughts is truly calming and uplifting.
There are different topics you can journal about depending on the type of thoughts going through your mind. It is true that journaling forms as a technique to improve self-gratitude and self-awareness.
So journaling can help you work your thoughts out before going to bed. This way you don’t have to deeply think about things that can disrupt your sleep. Honestly, journaling is not something that you would understand just by writing/jotting down points in your journal.
You need to connect with what you are writing so you can find yourself feeling better about yourself. You can only enjoy the experience if you tried it. The main thing is, to deeply connect with your inner thoughts.
Writing in your diary on the other hand is for pouring out the frustration for your day. You can talk about the events that took place in your day and frustrations that can be stopping you from having a good night’s sleep. I find having to pour all your thoughts on your journal very therapeutic.
Read a book before bed
Studies have shown that reading a book reduces your stress hormone (cortisol) and also elevates the calmness of your brain. So if you read a book before going to bed, you will find yourself having easier and more effective sleep.
Personally, I recommend reading an educational book before bed rather than some kind of fiction novel. The reason is that if you read a novel, your brain will focus on something entertaining and would want more of what you are reading.
Imagine trying to close an amazing novel. Don’t know about you, but I will force myself to keep reading trying to know what will happen next. This will keep your mind alert and stop the secretion of melatonin (sleep hormone).
Also, you should read a physical book rather than an electronic book. When you read from a physical book using a lamp next to your bed, you can start to feel sleepy as you are reading the book. However, when you read an ebook, it affects your sleepiness. Read the next point to know how that happens.
Avoid using screens before bed
This includes mobile phones, TV, laptops, and tablets. The blue light from any of your digital devices has a huge effect on your sleep. Some researches prove that it can also cause depression.
When we are getting ready to go to sleep, our body starts the secretion of the melatonin hormone that helps us sleep. The blue light in our screens disrupts the secretion of that hormone which makes us take longer to sleep than we usually do.
This is also true if we switched on the light and tried to sleep. It will most likely distort our feeling to go to sleep. This will cause fatigue as you will be going through sleepless nights.
Avoid day naps
This is something I can vouch for a hundred percent. I am not sure if you are like me, but whenever I sleep in the afternoon, I find it very hard to go to sleep at night. For some people taking a nap in the afternoon is an essential part of the day.
We all know that naps are good for enhancing our focus and improving our brain productivity. But that is true if you took a nap for 30 mins or less; that too early in your day. Otherwise sleeping for hours, that too during the late afternoon, will just result in very poor sleep quality during your night.
One thing to clarify here is, I am not saying all people are affected by day naps, but you need to watch your sleeping patterns. I was one of those people who wasn’t affected by a late afternoon nap. I still went back to bed at night. But this was during my school days.
Ever since college, if I sleep during the day, I can keep dreaming about going to bed early or even on time. So I stopped sleeping during the afternoon no matter how sleepy I felt.
Get up and look for something else to do
This might seem like a silly thing to do when you want to get rid of insomnia. But forcing yourself to sleep while just laying down on your bed just won’t cut it.
By getting up and moving around for a bit, you will physically drain yourself to sleep. If you don’t feel like getting out of bed, then choose to do something on your bed like reading a book, journaling, or writing a diary.
Other ways to help you sleep at night
The tips I shared above are based on my personal experience with insomnia. They did work with me so I believe they can work with you too. However, nothing is guaranteed when it comes to how a person’s body reacts to something.
Of course, there are other things that you can try as well. These include:
- Exercising during the day.
- Tracking your food intake.
- Using the 4-7-8 breathing technique.
- Making sure your bedding and mattress are comfortable.
- Adjusting your sleep position into a more comfortable one.
- Trying aromatherapy using essential oils.
- Avoiding to look at the clock in the middle of the night if you happen to wake up.
I am sure insomnia is just the most draining thing that can happen to you because not sleeping well can immensely affect your productivity for the day. So I recommend following these tips that I shared above and improve your sleep quality.
Thank you for reading till the end 🙂
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Have you tried any of the above tips? If not, what do you do when you have insomnia? Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.