I’ve always struggled with insomnia throughout my adult life. On top of that, I’m also a light sleeper and easily wake up through the night. While I don’t believe my sleeping problems will ever be completely cured, I’ve found some ways to minimise sleepless nights. So here are the things I do to ensure I get some rest, even if it’s not a full 8 hour slumber.
I don’t drink any caffeinated drinks close to bedtime since they just over stimulate me and keep me awake. I’m not a coffee drinker anyway, so that one is easy for me to skip during the day. I have a cuppa of regular tea in the morning and it’s herbal teas after lunchtime. Booze, even just one or two glasses of wine, upsets my system and I definitely won’t be able to sleep at all. I still drink wine though and put up with the side effects. You can’t give up everything!
From time to time I use natural sleeping remedies such as valerian drops, magnesium tablets and lavender essential oil. Do they help? I don’t know to be honest. They don’t make it worse and the ritual of taking them helps me to calm down. It might just be a placebo effect, but that’s good enough for me.
It’s good for me to have a bedtime routine in place to get settled down for the night. Usually that means turning off all devices (laptop, phone, TV etc.) about an hour before going to bed. Then I get ready for the night by either putting on a face mask, some bedtime yoga or reading a book. Also check out my tips on how to destress here.
I make sure the room is nicely ventilated, cool and dark. I always use ear plugs and was thinking of getting an eye mask as well. Comfy bed sheets and soft pillows also help to be more comfortable and relaxed. If my mind is racing like crazy, I try meditation techniques like a bodyscan for example or simply focus on my breathing. That sometimes helps me to switch off. There are also some good guided sleeping meditations online.
If all that doesn’t work and I find myself wide awake, I just try not to panic about the lack of sleep I’m getting, telling myself at least I’m resting and that will be good as well. I never check the time or my phone when I wake up in the middle of the night. I’ve learned that only makes it worse and guarantees I won’t fall asleep again. Instead, I try to chill out and think of Tom Hardy, a man worth having sleepless nights over.