I used to suffer from horrendous insomnia that causes me to stay away for hours and hours, worrying myself into a whole new state of existence, the non-existence. I thought I was going to die from lack of sleep. I was just absolutely in full blown panic. This was about a year ago when I’d often stay awake all night panicking about sleep, to now – enjoying sleep!
A huge part of it has to do with your mental state of being.
1. Taking care of my anxiety and mental health
You can read this article that explains more about it, but it has absolutely helped me tremendously.
2. Know that it’s normal to have wakeful hours in the night
I used to freak out if I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep. I would think that there was something wrong with me! But then, I read something about how humans were programmed not to have one long continuous sleep cycle, and that our ancestors actually sleep a little, woke up to do things, then went back to sleep. This was when I started to realize that if I wake up at 2 am, or 4 am, I could just do something for 30 minutes or an hour until I felt tired again. I didn’t need to force myself back to sleep. For some reason, losing an hour of sleep in the middle of the night didn’t affect my tiredness compared to if I had slept all the way through but woke up an hour early.
3. No chocolate or caffeine after midday
Perhaps if you are super sensitive, don’t have it at all, but I like to also stay away from anything with chocolate after midday as well. Sometimes chocolate may trigger wakefulness.
4. No heavy massage before bedtime
A couple of times when I had a super sore back and got a heavy message, I was unable to sleep for a long time. This tends to happen as well if I massaged my head very heavily, so try and avoid any hard massage before bedtime. Light ones are fine!
5. Think about your dreams if you can remember them
It’s easy to start thinking about worrisome things that keep you up. Excitement could also do the same! What helps me is thinking about the dreams you had previous nights. Some of them are so much like memories that I feel as if I’m in another world, and I think about what could happen tonight. Sometimes, these thoughts help put you to sleep.
6. Don’t get into arguments before bedtime
Yes, any emotion like fear, anger, stress, or excitement can make it extremely difficult to sleep. If you can’t help but get into a big argument, at least try and resolve it as much as you can before going to sleep. Anything that makes your body go into fight or flight will be the biggest trigger to insomnia.
7. Take a relaxing bath and Write in your Journal
Baths are super relaxing, so take one before bed to lift your mood. Soak in some nice bath salts and bath bombs. For your journal, write down thoughts and feelings about the day getting them out may help you think less about them while you’re trying to sleep. Anything that made you unhappy, your stresses, your goals, to do lists, etc. Finish anything unfinished.
8. Comfy clothing and have eye masks ready
Be sure you’re wearing extra comfy clothes for bed, as you don’t want to be feeling uncomfortable. Super soft clothes often help. I personally don’t like wearing socks to bed, but it may be something that you love, so do whatever it is that makes you super comfortable. Also, have those blackout eye masks handy for if you wake up in the morning and need to block out light to get more sleep.
9. Get all your checks out of the way
If you’re like me and love checking sites or Instagram, I suggest you do all the checks before going to sleep and if you wake up in the middle of the night wondering how many messages you got, please just check it. Wondering and thinking will get you more excited!
10. Watch fun things before going to bed
Try not to watch really sad or exciting things before bed; instead, old nostalgic and comedic shows are great to watch before bed as it can help put you in a really good mood without making you too excited. I love to spend about an hour on the computer with a dimmed screen just watching my favorite shows before sleeping, and it makes very happy!