You’ve just gotten into your comfy jammies after a nice hot shower and an equally nice hot cup of tea. You’re snuggled into bed, getting ready to turn the light out after reading a chapter of your book or scrolling through social media. After you turn out the light and settle in for some much needed rest, you just can’t seem to fall asleep. Every position is uncomfortable, you’re too hot and then you’re too cold, your mind is racing. As hard as you try, you just can’t seem to fall asleep, or maybe you can’t stay asleep. Ah yes, insomnia.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, insomnia is difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, even when a person has the chance to do so. Some of the symptoms of insomnia include the normal difficulty falling asleep, waking up during the night, and feeling tired after waking up, but also include low energy, difficulty concentrating, decreased work or school performance, and mood disturbances. Clearly, sleep is important for a healthy, functioning body and mind.
There are two kinds of insomnia: acute and chronic. Acute insomnia is brief and usually occurs when you’re dealing with something stressful, like a test or job change. On the other hand, chronic insomnia occurs at least three times a week for at least three months in a row. This can be caused from environmental changes, stress, unhealthy sleep habits, or medications/medical conditions, among other things.
Here are some of my favorite resources and tips for dealing with insomnia:
I love it and use it maybe once a week when I’m having trouble falling asleep. Scooter, the host of the podcast, tells a bedtime story using meandering sentences and monotone voices with a hint of comedy to put you to sleep.
This brew is caffeine free (caffeine will stimulate your brain…not good for winding down) and uses the key ingredients of chamomile, spearmint, and lemongrass to help you relax before bed. I like to pair it with a PB&J, which for some reason, helps me sleep at night. Other foods that can help you sleep are almonds, turkey, kiwi, and white rice.
Avoid bright lights and naps
Bright lights, like from your phone, will stimulate your brain, which means falling asleep will be harder. Try using the “night mode” feature on your iPhone, which dims the back light and makes it more yellow than white. Additionally, taking naps will give you a boost of energy, but once it’s time to fall asleep, you won’t be tired.
Meditation, stretching, or breathing exercises
This will help you calm down and unwind before hitting the hay. A relaxed person often has less trouble falling asleep than someone who is caught up in the thoughts and anxieties of today and tomorrow.
This is an over the counter supplement that I occasionally use. Melatonin is a hormone that helps you sleep. It’s ill advised to use this every time you have insomnia since you can develop a dependence on it, but it’s otherwise very safe.
Sweet dreams my friends, I hope this helps.