Have you tried to unsuccessfully combat insomnia?
Do you have trouble sleeping at night? Or when you wake up, you can’t get back to sleep?
A lack of sleep can cause:
- Not being able to focus
- A decreased body and mental response to stimuli
- Confusion and difficulty to make decisions
In this article, I want to give you some simple advice, you may be unfamiliar with, on how to improve your sleep.
Tips to combat insomnia
“Trying” these tips isn’t enough, you need to maintain them over time to see results.
1. Stop thinking: “I need to sleep”
Not being able to sleep and yet constantly thinking:
- “I need to sleep”
- “If I don’t sleep, I’ll be very tired tomorrow”
- “If I don’t rest, I won’t be able to perform my daily tasks”
Won’t help you fall asleep faster, quite the opposite.
Fighting insomnia implies NOT fighting with your mind.
Sleeping is a natural and involuntary process, you can’t “force” yourself to sleep just because “it’s time”.
The more you think that way, more nervous you’ll get if you can’t do it, and you’ll enter a cycle that will keep you awake.
Therefore, the first think you need to change is that “I need to sleep” though.
Instead, you could think: “my stretched out body relaxes and rests”.
2. Give yourself a 1 hour margin to relax before going to sleep
- Do you to work until late on your computer?
- How long before going to sleep are you still watching TV, your phone or tablet?
- Do you exercise late in the afternoon?
Well, if you have any of these habits, I can tell you that you’re going to need to change them if you want to help your body and mind to get to sleep.
Staying up until late looking at screens only increases your brain activity, and what you need right before going to sleep is exactly the opposite, you need to decrease it.
Seems obvious, right? That to be able to sleep you need to be relaxed and yet, sometimes, we sometimes overlook the “time” that both our bodies and minds need get into the “I’ll go to sleep shortly” mode.
To relax your body you could…
- go for a walk (but don’t exercise intensely)
- sit on the couch and sip some hot tea
- take a warm bath or shower
To relax your mind you need to leave all devices aside, that is, for an hour before going to sleep, no phones, tables, computers, not even TV!
Nothing at all?
3. Go to bed when you’re sleepy, NOT when you’re tired.
There’s a difference between feeling sleepy and tired.
- You may be physically exhausted and yet not be sleepy.
- And maybe you’re not excessively physically tired, but your eyes are shutting down.
And this “eyes are shutting down” is the ideal state to go to bed.
When you spend a lot of hours in bed without being able to sleep, an association arises between:
Bed = insomnia or worrying or hours awake
In short, an association that will turn the bed into not the best place to rest.
You need to break this association.
You should use your bed for sleep and sex, nothing else.
That’s why experts recommend going to bed only when you’re sleepy.
4. Give yourself a space to solve your problems before going to bed
One of the causes of insomnia is that many people have a stressful day, and then go to bed and continue thinking about their problems.
This happens because when you go to bed, all physical activities disappear, giving your mind “time” to ruminate or rethink things.
Another thing that the mind tends to do when you’re about to go to sleep is a mental list of the things you have to do the next day or the things you need to remember.
The fact is that when you get in bed, thoughts seem to multiply.
To avoid this, you need to yourself a space BEFORE going to sleep, in which for 15 or 20 minutes you’ll write down the things that worry you.
Do it as an outline.
Prepare for Friday’s work meeting (this would be the title).
And then you can write the first 3 steps that you need to take to do it.
- Read the report from the last meeting
- Establish the meeting’s objectives
- Prepare the power point
The idea is that once you’ve written it down, you can convince your mind that you “already know” what you need to do tomorrow, so it won’t need to think about it.
5. Get up if you can’t sleep
This is hard because it looks like if you get up, you are voluntarily avoiding falling asleep, but it’s not like that.
The idea isn’t to get up to do things, but to break that bed = insomnia association.
If you’ve been trying to go to sleep for 15 to 20 minutes and can’t, instead of rolling around in bed telling yourself “I need to sleep”, get up, go to the couch, read something boring or have something hot, and wait until you get sleepy again, and then go back to bed.
Of course, recommendation number 2 still applies here, no screens (phone, tablets, computer or TV).
You can listen to some quiet music or an audiobook, but nothing else.
And if you wake up 5 times a night?
Well, then get up all 5 times and follow this process.
Staying in bed won’t make you fall asleep faster.
Remember: bed = sex and sleep.
6. Follow a relaxation or visualization
Any relaxation activity will help lower your physical and mental activity levels.
You can do a guided relaxation or just try to relax by yourself.
I recommend a Mindfulness exercise called body check, in which you visualize your body, starting for example, by the toes and paying attention to each part of your body. Check if you can feel that part, if you feel any kind of tingling or anything.
This particular exercise will relax you so much that you might even fall asleep mid-exercise.
I hope these little tips help you improve your sleeping habits, but if you still have any problems, you can contact me at email@example.com