Written by Agne ☽
I’ve decided to write on one of the most annoying and frustrating things that I tend to experience in my life. If you have read my previous post, you might remember that I mentioned my on-going trouble sleeping in unfamiliar places. It’s not only that though– for the last 5-6 years I’ve had huge problems sleeping in my bed, or anywhere, for that matter – I never sleep in cars, planes, trains and I have no idea how other people do it.
If you have ever experienced insomnia you probably know how frustrating it is. Yes, it is normal to sometimes have sleepless nights due to extreme sadness, excitement, or no reason at all. Sometimes. But when it’s every other night or a few nights in a row, it gets difficult. At some point you realise that it’s a problem that you have – then your brain decides to laugh at you by randomly thinking nope, not going to be able to sleep tonight, I can feel it. A little thought can ruin your rest in 3 seconds, just like that. And although I know that my situation isn’t that bad for the most part, as people are experiencing much more difficult forms of it, it is still something that I have and live with.
There was a time in my life when my insomnia affected my life in a very negative way. I used to have anxiety every evening just knowing that I’m going to struggle to fall asleep today and going to be tired tomorrow, running on zero sleep. Nowadays it’s better, I kind of got used to it, I am not afraid of it anymore, and therefore, it happens less often.
I know that this post might be relevant to a very small group of people, but there are a few things that I do (or try to avoid) to get myself to sleep. And no, I’m not going to say “JUST GET TIRED THROUGHOUT THE DAY” or “DO NOT DRINK COFFEE AFTER 5 PM”. 🙂
I hope some of you will find it useful.
1) Do not panic. Getting anxious is the worst thing that can happen. Try not to think about things that you have to do tomorrow, just chill and tell yourself that you will find some time to nap or/and will try to go to sleep earlier tomorrow. I sometimes think about early motherhood – these women can go almost sleepless for days! It means that so can you if needed – you don’t need to sleep for 8 hours exactly, you are going to be just fine.
2) Night routine and comfortable environment. I must be in a very silent room to be able to fall asleep (I’ve been using earplugs for years now), but for you, it can be anything from the right smell and room temperature to comfy nightwear. Shower, skincare routine, lip balm, hair in a bun. Simple as that – when I finish these steps I feel like my day is over and get my body to relax.
3) YouTube. I know they say that you can’t have screen time before you go to bed – but for me watching Youtube videos help a lot. Of course, some people choose intellectually-stimulating content, but for me works the opposite. I love watching (or listening to) gaming videos, especially people playing Minecraft (I sound ridiculous right now but I swear it’s therapeutic) or people building houses in the Sims. Sounds of nature didn’t work for me, so it’s my version of meditation. 🙂
4) Herbs. Have a chill pill ready – of course, it is not a good solution, but it helps a lot to have some natural medication (like valerian) that helps you relax on the bedside table. It doesn’t mean that you will use it every night, of course, but the thought of having the choice helps me relax.
5) Alarm. I try to set my alarm for the whole week rather than setting it every day before bed and counting the time I have left to sleep, cause it’s a bad bad bad idea.
6) No peeking! After you put your phone down for the night, try not to look at it again. It doesn’t help to see what hour it is or that you have to be up in an hour already. Do not check your social media, it stimulates your mind.
7) Going for a walk? Some people say that if you don’t fall asleep in half an hour you should just get up and do things until you’re tired. Nope, didn’t work for me- if I start reading I can read all night long, if I get up and go around my house it’s even worse. In my case, I just lay there and wait until sleep hits me. It usually does at some point…
8) Not overdoing it. Most of my sleepless nights happened before very important days in my life – these were usually the days that I had to wake up early. If you have to wake up 3 hours earlier than you usually do on an important day, it’s natural that you are going to stress about it at least to some extent. For me, going to sleep much earlier than usual is the worst thing ever. I usually go to sleep at midnight – so, if I try to lay down at 9 pm and fail to fall asleep until 1 am, it’s an official tragedy. My mind will go crazy from just lying there for so long. I hope this makes sense, but try not to overdo it.
Maybe these ‘tips’ are obvious, but hopefully the thought that you are not alone in this will help just a tiny little bit.