Insomnia is no fun at all, being awake for hours in the darkness while it seems the rest of the country snoozes happily in the land of nod.
Lack of sleep is not only disturbing and very tiring, but also unhealthy. We should be getting at least 8 hours sleep every night to allow our bodies to rest and rejuvenate, so what can we do if that doesn't happen?
Many people experience an inability to fall asleep or remain asleep for the duration of the night, which could be linked to a number of reasons. My question to you is how to overcome insomnia and sleep deprivation before reaching for the sleeping pills?
I find the following useful:
Taking a long shower before bed.
Turning off the all the lights and phones to allow the eyes to slowly get used to darkness.
Meditate reflecting on positive things.
Think of happy thoughts before slowly dosing off to deep sleep.
Try a relaxing bath, some meditation and quiet time before bed time. Go to bed a bit earlier and read a book until you are tired. Make sure your room is dark enough. A warm cup of milk can also help. If you can't sleep and find yourself tossing and turning after half an hour get up and do something like read a book until you are tired then try to go back to bed again. Staying in bed and not sleeping just makes you more stressed and anxious and you will never get your rest.
I have noticed that if I sleep late at night and avoid afternoon naps, I sleep much better. Also turning the phone off helps. Avoid caffeinated drinks in the evening. Try not to have a television in the bedroom. One needs to tune off from the world to have a good night sleep. Aim for 8 sound hours of sleep if possible.
Make sure you are getting plenty of exercise so you are physically tired as well as mentally.
If you're lying awake and feeling miserable it can help to get up and do something to calm yourself down before trying to get back to sleep. A good book and a cup of cammomile or valerian tea works for me.
No hot baths, caffeine and technology at least two hours before bed time. If you cannot get to sleep after 20 minutes of going to bed, go to another room and read a boring, brainless book, and only go to bed when you're too tired from boredom. Also, get up at the same time every morning, and exercise outside. Everyone is different. Also some lavender under your pillow helps me get some extra sleep naturally also.
I've heard that when you finally fall asleep, it can be difficult to get up in the morning. However, you should still set an alarm and get up at the same time each day to get your body back into a routine. It's not just about going to bed but getting up in the morning too.
With a GP specialist referral, your specialist might send you to a course run at the local hospital on sleeping, where PowerPoint presentations are involved, in tandem with completing a sleep diary. This is more ideal than an overnight sleep study/hospital stay to work out the root cause. You only need to attend 4 two-hour sessions with a sleep psychologist in a small group, and it worked a charm. No drugs either. A hospital teaching its patients how to relax, and no drugs...go figure. This is usually a free program covered by Medicare, and you'd usually pay hard costs of $60 or something like that for the materials.
I went through a period where I was unable to fall asleep. I would lay awake for hours while everyone else in the house were sleeping. I was so tired every day from lack of sleep it became worse as I became anxious about it each evening. My friend bought me an oil burner to burn lavender for an hour before going to bed and I would refrain from using the computer or iPad for that hour, choosing to read or watch TV to relax instead. This helped to switch off from my thoughts of what I needed to do etc which would usually be preoccupying me. When I went to bed I would then lay and meditate to relax me. I used a couple of meditations apps and headphones for this so not to disturb my husband. This worked after a few nights of persisting with it and I now sleep much easier.
Stay away from TV, Computer and coffee. That is what I was told, but that is like asking a bird not to fly (unless it is an emu). I just stay up until my eyes get sore and I know I will fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow! ;)
Insomnia can be a symptom of magnesium deficiency. Take a high dose magnesium tablet like Blackmore's Bio Magnesium before bed. Magnesium is also crucial in the body's own repair process while you are sleeping. Magnesium rich foods are apricots and celery. Can help with anxiety too.
I have a hot bath and read a book - usually by the time I go back to bed I fall asleep - and I don't work myself up about not sleeping because I've at least read a book....
Make sure you exercise frequently. Also, you need to avoid having things you're worried or preoccupied with racing through your head and I've found reading a book is a good way to get your mind to focus on other things.