I’ve suffered with insomnia for as long as I can remember. I find it very difficult to get to sleep and I’ll often lie awake for hours and hours before I drift off. It comes and goes in waves, lasting days, weeks or months at a time.
Over the years I’ve picked up a few tips for how to make it easier to live with and I wanted to share them in the hope that I can help someone else.
1. Don’t try going to bed too early. If you’re trying to force yourself into sleeping when you’re not tired yet you’ll only prolong how long it takes to actually get to sleep. I pity the amount of times I’ve tucked myself up in to bed for 9pm only to still be wide awake come 1am.
2. Avoid TV, Laptop, Phone, Book etc. right before bed as this stimulates the brain. I know this one may be the hardest and I don’t think it’s entirely necessary every single night but it is absolutely necessary for those nights when your insomnia is knocking at the door or when you’re deep in the clutches of another bout.
3. Practicing Yoga or Pilates before bed (or at any point within an hour of heading off to bed) is an excellent way of winding down your brain and your body. Relaxing, concentrating on your breathing, switching off and feeling centred.
4. Meditation. For the same reasons as the point above and the point below.
5. Try listening to some white noise as you fall asleep. I really like the Calm App (the free version does just fine), I especially enjoy the rain sound options that they have. Choosing such a “common” sound also means that I automatically associate the sound of heavy rain with feeling calm and centred which is pretty cool.
6. Too light or too dark? Blackout blinds/curtains or a sleep mask may help if your bedroom doesn’t get that dark in the evening or on the other hand if you are scared of the dark (there is no shame in being an adult with a fear of the dark, just ask Iron Maiden about their constant fear that something’s always near) invest in a nightlight. Try one of these awesome ones that are totally grown up interior decor suitable:
Silver Pineapple – White Mint
Fox & Rabbit – Lisa Angel
7. Have a hot bath before getting into bed. Relaxation City!
8. Try to stick to a regular sleep schedule. If you’re getting up at 6am throughout the week and then 11am on the weekends you’re going to fall out of line on a Monday morning and struggle for the rest of the week. Try limiting your weekend lie in to no more than 90 minutes later than your weekday alarm time and during an insomnia bout try reducing this to an hour. Likewise you’ll want to be going to sleep at roughly the same time every night of the week.
9. See your GP. Find out if there is any underlying reason for your insomnia. Get help. Sleep.