I have always been a big believer in self advocacy. When you struggle with insomnia, it's important to try out different avenues so that you can perhaps figure out the cause of your insomnia. Here are 6 things you can do to help you sleep better at night.
1) Ask your doctor about your medications: Some medications can change your sleep cycle. If you are currently on any medications, it's important to have a discussion with your prescribing physician about how your medications could be affecting your sleep. But if you don't talk to your physician about sleep patterns, you could continue to struggle with sleep. Sometimes a little self advocacy cab go a long way.
2) Try journaling: Often times, anxiety or worries can bring on sleeplessness. If your mind is spinning around with worry thoughts, it is going to be difficult to get good quality sleep. About 30 minutes to an hour before your bed time, sit in a quiet spot and write out what's bothering you. Some people like to write in full sentences, while others use bullet points. If you're creative, you could even draw how you feel or write some poetry about it. The point of journaling is to wrap up your day and get your worries out on paper, so they stop swimming around in your head.
While journaling, if important tasks for the next day pop up in your mind, it's also a great time to create a to do list for the next day.
3) Avoid alcohol, nicotine and caffeine a few hours before bedtime: It is an erroneous thought to believe that a 'night cap' is actually helpful for sleep. Actually, alcohol, nicotine and caffeine can interrupt your sleep patterns and worsen your insomnia. In the case of caffeine, it has a half life of 5 hours. This means it takes 5 hours for half the amount of caffeine you drink to be fully metabolized (absorbed) into your system. If you drink multiple cups of coffee throughout the day, you are essentially layering more and more caffeine in your body. So, by night time, chances are all that caffeine is still in there keeping you awake.
4) Practice relaxation about an hour before bedtime: The concept is simple- a relaxed mind is calm, and calmness helps you sleep. But a worried and harried mind is a bad environment for sleep. Remember that your mind and your body are connected. About an hour before bedtime, do something relaxing. Some examples are yoga, medication, prayer, stretches, breathing techniques or listening to soothing music. Let's not forget your sense of smell. Try using a drop of your favorite essential oil and also putting on soft, cozy pajamas. It would also help if your sheets are cool, clean and soft. To help your sense of sight, dim the lights or close the blinds, so that your body's sleep mechanism can also be triggered.
5) Take a nap: Many people who struggle with insomnia or sleep disorders often feel a dip in energy in the middle of the day. If your schedule permits, try taking one 30-minute nap in the middle of the day. This helps to recharge you, but doesn't get you so awake that you cannot sleep at night. Although naps can be beneficial, avoid napping in the evening or too close to bedtime. If you do this, you'll be wide awake at night.
There you have it. 5 easy tips to help you sleep like a baby. And if you're a women in Murrieta or Temecula who has struggled with insomnia, and you're ready to sleep soundly again, click here to schedule a free 15 minute consultation call to see if CBT for insomnia is the right treatment for your insomnia. I also provide online sessions for women throughout California.