If you are having a hard time falling asleep, there are things you can do to help make sleep more likely to happen for you. This article takes a mind-body-spirit approach. This simply means that your mind and emotions play a major part in the process. All ten of the ideas work in harmony with each other, but number one is the foundation.
1. Sleep is a Change in Consciousness
You can pre-pave this state of consciousness from the waking state. Simply put, if you pretend you are falling to sleep, it can help you induce sleep. Your experience follows your imagination and your intention, so this means that you can and do influence yourself to fall asleep. Through words and meditative visualizations you can let go and give in to sleep gradually.
This is a skill you ALREADY have, but you just have to reconnect with it.
Start simple. The first important thing to do is to say this to yourself:
“Sleep comes through a change in consciousness. Falling asleep is possible. I am letting go and letting sleep take over.”
Take a few deep breaths and repeat that intention a few times in a relaxed manner.
The quality of your thoughts and your state of mind has a huge impact on how easily you fall asleep. We’ll be coming back to this foundation idea again.
But before you can fall asleep, you may need to stop “fighting” insomnia.
2. Give up the fight
In order to induce a state of sleep, it’s very helpful to get as comfortable as you can with ‘not being able to fall asleep.’
You are where you are. It’s okay that you are awake and tired! Don’t beat yourself up for being unable to sleep and don’t “fight” wakefulness. You are doing fine.
Just relax. Positive change and sleep do not come through fighting. It’s actually the opposite that helps. Letting go of the fight and the judgments gives sleep a chance to envelope you.
In your heart and mind, don’t fight the “negative situation”
Instead… just move TOWARD the positive. Move yourself into sleep and let sleep move into you. That’s the key.
3. Realize that good diet and exercise will help you sleep
Caffeine obviously can have an adverse effect on sleep. Remember, it is not just found in coffee, but found in soda, chocolate, cold medicine, etc. It may cause insomnia and irritability. Caffeine can increase your mental activity or worry, which makes it harder to sleep. Avoid caffeine and also develop the habit of avoiding sweets several hours before you go to bed, because sugar can give a burst of energy that is short-lived and cause uneven sugar levels.
Even if you do fall asleep with a lot of sugar or caffeine in your system, it might not be very good sleep you have, because what you have eaten may disrupt your sleep cycles throughout the night as your blood sugar levels rise and fall.
To counter balance a poor diet, it can help if you eat magnesium-rich foods because magnesium is a natural sedative.
4. Use natural sleep aids
Lavender and Chamomile tea or aroma therapy are most effective in lulling yourself to sleep. Here is more information about them:
This can come in lotions, baby wash, shampoos, oil, etc. Using it during an evening bath promotes a tranquil and peaceful sleep.
Many people use it as a muscle relaxing massage oil. Rub it into your feet and forehead and it will help you calm down. You may also put a few drops in a vaporizer at bedtime.
This gives a sedative effect for relaxation. Chamomile oil has anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and antispasmodic effects when consumed. Many of the causes of sleeplessness and irritability may be addressed by regular consumption of chamomile tea. This may also soothe intestinal difficulties.
5. Develop Good Sleep Habits
You should establish a regular sleep routine. You’ve gotta take a big picture view with this! I understand you may be having a hard time falling asleep RIGHT NOW. But it is what you do over a period of five or six weeks that can really cure sleep difficulties.
Find what works best for you. Try going to sleep at the same time each night or getting up a little earlier in the morning.
This is only an example and your schedule may be very different, but the point is if you create a good routine schedule, your body clock will adjust to your sleeping patterns. Your schedule will match your energy cycles and your body-mind-spirit will be ready for rest at the right time.
Be consistent with your waking and sleep time even during weekends, if possible.
6. Unhinge Yourself from Worry and Work
Again, success comes back down to intention. Realize fully: Your Bed Is Not Your Office (At Least, It Shouldn’t Be!). Don’t think about work or try to be productive when you are having a hard time falling asleep. Also, don’t train yourself to associate your bedroom with work activity. When you are in the bedroom, avoid using the TV and computer or doing paper work. Save those activities for a different setting and this will help you associate sleepiness with being in bed.
You should have your work space in some other place of the house. Use the bedroom only for sleeping and intimacy.
7. If You Can’t Sleep, Get Up and Be Okay with Your Deciscion
If you really cannot sleep, that is okay! You are where you are. When you can’t fall asleep, at times it might be better to get out of the bed. Tossing and turning or staring at the ceiling only makes most of us more desperate to try and fall asleep. Your body needs to ‘get’ the link between lying still and sleeping.
So get up for a while. Move about. Maybe even do something productive. But here is the key: If you are going to get up, get up on purpose. Be okay with it. It does not mean you “failed” it just means you are up, for now.
If you are comfortable with your decision to get out of bed, after a while you may notice a natural time to get back INTO bed. Perhaps you finished writing an email or doing the dishes. If you just get on thing done while you are out of bed, and if you do it well, you will feel a sense of accomplishement and completion.
That sense of completion is your ticket to a better night’s rest!
It will trigger your body to relax. and… you can also help it along:
8. Practice Meditation and Stillness
Deep Breathing & Visualization Pay Off: Some of the most common relaxation techniques are visualization, yoga and basic stretching exercises. All of these relax the body and there is an obvious link between a relaxed body and a relaxed mind.
If you want to fall asleep now, then start right now. Come INTO your body. Place your attention throughout your whole body. That is the key. Don’t just “inhabit” your mind; inhabit your whole body. This means feel your whole body, from your hair to your toes.
Just breathe into it… Relax..
Say to yourself: “Sleep comes through a change in consciousness. Falling asleep is possible. I am letting go and letting sleep take over.”
Just keep breathing and repeating that.
Stay with this meditation for at least ten minutes.
In general… Make daily exercise part of your routine- Be physically active during the daytime and try to include a workout for at least 20 minutes of your day. Exercise stimulates the brain and helps eliminate or at least lower stress and anxiety. You don’t want to exercise 3 or 4 hours leading up to going to bed as this is a stimulating activity. Being physically active throughout the day makes it easier to sleep at night.
9. Listening to Soft gentle music can help
Let the music wash over you. Just let it surround you. Empty your thoughts.
Music that opens the heart can help too:
10. Enjoy ANY amount of Sleep You Get
When do you finally wake up from sleep, choose to be grateful. Be grateful for ANY amount of sleep you got. Remember, focus on the positive not the negative. Don’t say “That was a bad night of sleep.” Instead say “I got four hours of sleep, and that’s a start.”
Being grateful and seeing some success opens the door to more success.
So rest well. Relax. You are doing just fine.