We all know the typical responses to how to cure insomnia; have you tried cutting out caffeine? Don’t nap during the day! Just stop being so stressed… Have you tried counting sheep? Obviously, these are things you will have to do but they may not get you to sleep still, more steps like these below will help you fight insomnia and get you sleeping again.
But be sure to keep doing those other practices, especially counting sheep. Mostly because you get to imagine sheep and they’re just so cute! Plus that will help influence what your dreams will be about rather than letting your imagination run away to bad dreams with all the things that are stressing you out and keeping you up at night.
Sheep are your friends.
Changing your diet is a great place to start getting a better night’s rest, and this includes eating more fruit because they are high in antioxidants.
Antioxidants are needed in your body, they help fight off any free radicals that could be damaging your cells while also boosting your immune system. Obviously this takes up a lot of energy performing this process and thus contributes to making you feel sleepy after consuming antioxidants.
You can find them in fruits like kiwis, cherries, most berries like blueberries and blackberries, as well as grapes (which technically means that wine is an antioxidant… do with that information as you please).
Stretching 30 minutes before you go to sleep is a great way to signal to your body that it is time for bed, and will also help relax your body. Doing just a couple of these stretches will help improve the quality of sleep you get as well as help in getting you to sleep faster.
Some effective exercises include a bear hug to stretch out your shoulders, as well as the child’s pose and having your legs flat up against a wall. Even if it doesn’t help directly with your sleep, it has been proven that there are links between stretching and an improved quality of life which will help with some of the underlying issues, causing your insomnia.
Just be sure to focus your breathing as you do these stretches to get the full benefits. The yoga instructor always whispering at you to ‘breathe in… and out..’ was making a point!
3. Create Habits
Let your body know it is time for bed by creating a habit every night. If you were lucky enough to have parents that read you stories before bed, they were doing just that—creating a routine so that you and your body would know it was time for bed.
As an adult, it may not be possible to have someone read you a story before bed, but you can read to yourself, or create other habits like having a hot shower to relax your body beforehand.
The habit that we have right now is probably scrolling through Facebook, Twitter and then Instagram, and checking on all your games. However, that doesn’t signal to your body that it is time for bed because you can be scrolling for hours, and we all know the blue light from our screens is hurting our eyes making it harder to fall sleep.
So perhaps, another habit to create is to put the phone down 15-30 minutes before you head to bed so it signals to your body you’re getting ready.
4. Lullaby Music
I find I can’t fall asleep without music, I need that soothing melody to switch off all the thoughts that are running through my head. And it may be a method that works for you, but I have specified lullaby music because I can’t imagine anyone being able to nod off to the latest club hits or remixes.
I’ve been told instrumental music is best because otherwise you are focusing on the lyrics of the music rather than falling asleep, but I find that the lyrics help me more because I’m thinking about one thing rather than a million other things.
Find what works best for you, and the music that soothes your soul most, if that happens to be listening to ABBA or ACDC, then fair enough.
5. Warm Foot Bath
I normally suffer from cold hands and feet, to the annoyance of my boyfriend, but a warm foot bath will help you in falling asleep quicker. Having a higher core temperature in your hands and feet compared to the core of your body has been proven to reduce the time it takes for you to fall into a deep sleep.
It’s worth giving it a try to see if it helps you in your quest for sleep, and if not, you’ve got toasty feet in this chilly season so it’s still a win.
6. Water Intake
We all know dehydration is bad. It inhabits a lot of our functions if we don’t have enough water in our body including stopping our brains from resting. So what do we do? The answer is, we actually start drinking the recommended amount of 2 liters a day!
I know that sounds like a lot but when you actually start drinking. it becomes easier, and you’ll see an improvement in many other areas of your life as well. That includes fewer spots and breakouts, which is always a positive. You’ll just have to deal with needing to pee more.
7. Evening Jog
I know it seems counterproductive to do a big workout before bed but a light evening jog will actually help you in the process of falling asleep because that jog will be using up all the excess energy you had left over from the day. This way when you go to bed you should be exhausted enough to fall asleep.
If you don’t like running then a brisk walk will work the same but you may have to cover more distance.
Like I said, it’s been programmed in us from a young age that a story before bed is our time to wind down and get sleepy. So reading a chapter or two before bed will do the same now, and it is good for you to look at the pages of a normal book rather than the bright light of any screens. Obviously a kindle isn’t going to help in these situations so stick to an actual book… (can you tell I’m a book snob?)
9. Clean Room
That pile of clothes that is building on your chair, the laundry thrown everywhere, the desk that is covered in all your books, makeup, and brushes—clean it away and you may be able to create a space that is comfortable enough to go sleep in.
Changing the sheets and going to bed in fresh pajamas after a shower will also help you in finding peace before sleep. Being clean and being in a clean space will aid you in relaxing and decreasing anxiety, helping in a small way with your insomnia. And it will give you one less thing to think about cleaning when you’re in bed.
10. Breathing Techniques
Breath in through your nose while counting to 5, and then breath out through your mouth while, again, counting to 5. Repeating this will have you in a sort of trance that will help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Taking deep breaths will reduce your heartbeat which slows down your body process bringing you eventually to a sleepy state.
If you pair this with the music, you’ve got yourself a very relaxing environment to settle your body down into for once. Let your mind escape with your breaths.