Have you ever Googled “how to fall asleep” or “how to beat insomnia”? You’re not alone.
With open eyes at 3 a.m., falling asleep seemed like a dream to me. I would scream some days, and keep staring at the ceiling other days; wondering, why was I not able to sleep?
We all feel sleepless at some point in our life, a matter of days, weeks, months, or even years. Well, I had been experiencing sleepless nights for years.
But, what happened all of a sudden that helped me to turn from a sleepless night owl into a purring sloth? (And do sloths purr?!)
I’ll reveal my secret to a good night’s sleep in this article. But first, let me tell you about the different things I tried to in order to overcome my insomnia and get a peaceful sleep.
Putting Worries into a Dark Corner
Do your thoughts engulf you as soon as you get into bed? It’s natural.
I’d think about the future, the past, my pending tasks, and all other weird things, lying in bed sleepless.
What helped me to overcome my worries and panicky thoughts was making a plan for the next day before going to bed, so that my mind was peaceful when I lay down.
Though it is hard to get over your worries and inevitable mind-tics, you’ll get used to it soon if you keep trying.
Making Bed Sleep-inducing
I didn’t notice how a sleep-inducing bed could help one fall asleep faster until I experienced it.
Too soft or too hard bed mattress and pillow may induce muscle pain and headache. I had been experiencing massive back pain due to the softness of my bed mattress. Likewise, misalignment of my neck to to my body due to a hard pillow was another sleep barrier. But, trying a different mattress and pillow made me comfortable and relieved all pains.
Also, make sure your sleep environment is soothing. Control temperature, noise, and light to make your bedroom conducive to falling asleep faster and staying deeply asleep.
Relax and relax more! That’s one thing that really helps relieve stress and fall asleep faster.
We all breathe, but we don’t focus on our breathing pattern. Relaxing through focused breathing or meditation can help your body to rejuvenate and bring your mind to rest.
I didn’t realize how peaceful breathing could be until I practiced meditation. Bringing my mind into the present and focusing on my breathing patterns gave me clarity of mind. I felt more relaxed and more peaceful.
Meditation didn’t work for me in the early stages, but now I am enjoying its benefits not only for falling asleep more quickly, but in other aspects of life as well. I’d recommend starting with basic meditation, then practicing Chakra sleep meditation.Thank me later 🙂
Practicing Stimulus Control
We all do it; distracting ourselves in bed and not actually stimulating sleep. I never missed a chance to watch TV, scroll through Facebook pages on my phone, or watch videos on YouTube when lying in bed. Saying that I was addicted to exploring YouTube in bed wouldn’t be wrong.
But one day I thought, this might be a thing that is keeping me from sleep. So, I tried to adopt the “bed=sleep” mantra. I would do nothing in bed but just sleep. I tried to control my impulse for activity that had nothing to do with sleep.
Though I felt a bit restless for a few days, eventually it was helping my mind to stay calmer and my eyes to panic less.
Beating Insomnia in Mind
Though stimulus control worked for me, insomnia was still there in my thoughts. I kept lying in bed, worrying about my not sleeping and thinking I can’t sleep, ever.
But then, I promised to challenge my thoughts and turn from thinking “I can’t sleep” to convincing myself “I can sleep.”
One piece of advice I’d give is; try keeping your mind empty when you’re in bed. Sometimes, it’s insomnia in your mind only – try to beat that.
Not falling asleep? Get up
You may practice stimulus control and thought-challenges, but the question is; what to do if you are still not able to fall asleep? Well, I used to think the same way. But, I found a solution to it – practicing sleep restriction.
It may sound silly, but it is effective. In sleep restriction, I practiced limiting the amount of time I spent in bed sleeplessly. Apparently, I was sleeping seven hours a day. But, it was actually three hours of sleep, and the remaining four hours I’d keep lying in bed awake.
However, doctors recommend spending five hours in bed, if not able to sleep, and then getting up. But I used to get up after two hours. I’d complete my pending tasks or do some other work, when awake, to make myself tired so that I could fall asleep faster.
Ok, you have tried different things, and maybe you have succeeded in sleeping as well. But there comes another problem that happened to me as well- what if your sleep is not sound?
It is natural for certain people that they can’t sleep in one big chunk. I am also one of them. I take naps. Even at night, I wake up every 2-3 hours, do some tasks, and go back to sleep back 2-3 hours.
Well, that’s quite normal and even beneficial for your health, according to science. So, if you’re sleeping in 2 or 3 big chunks, don’t fret. That’s ok.
However, trying to sleep in a big one chunk is even more beneficial. Polyphasic sleep may lead to sleep deprivation, constipation, moodiness, and other health conditions if you get addicted to it.
My Secret to Sleep? Be Consistent
As I said earlier, I am going to reveal my secret to falling asleep. So, here I am.
Well, the combination of all the things described above is my secret to healthy sleep. I started it one by one and tried to maintain the former when trying a new practice. This all collectively helped me to beat insomnia and sleep peacefully.
Poor sleep routines may make it hard for you to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. You have to be your own teacher and train your mind and body to stay consistent and stick to a routine.
Don’t be lazy, try different sleep-inducing practices, follow what works for you, and keep at it. Or just ask a sloth – and no, they apparently don’t purr, only squeak in despair when awake!