A few years ago, I was a full-fledged insomniac. I couldn’t fall asleep and those few times that I did, I couldn’t stay asleep. I attributed this to all of the ruminating about dumb stuff I used to do.
This lack of sleep left me more than exhausted. I was cranky, had trouble focusing and worst of all, dreaded going to bed because… what was the point?
After months of sleepless nights, I sought a little help by doing my own research and getting therapy to find the root cause of my ruminating. Once I learned some effective coping mechanisms from my therapist, sleep returned. Getting a solid eight hours of sleep nightly was a gamechanger for me. My skin looked better, I stopped being snippy in the mornings (poor Ryan!), the eye puffiness lessened and I had this new, weird thing called “energy”.
So, what helped me? Keep reading for some tips that I’m sure will help you too if you are in the same predicament.
Forget Counting Sheep – Keep Track of Your Snoozing
I started keeping track of my sleep using an old Garmin that belonged to Ryan. It showed me how much good, deep sleep I was getting, and how many restless minutes I had while in bed. I also wrote down the times of day when I felt tired.
With this info, you can pinpoint a few triggers that can help you down the road.
Talk To Someone
I was going through a bit of a rough patch and I knew this was contributing to my restlessness. After tucking myself into bed, I would spend hours overthinking events that happened during the day. “What did she mean by that?”. “That person looked at me really funny. I wonder why?”, “I should have said that during that meeting today. I’m such an idiot.”
By nature, I’m really hard on myself but it went into overdrive. I was sick of replaying negative scenarios and silly dilemmas in my head.
After speaking to my therapist, I learned a few really great coping mechanisms to quiet the noise is my head such as:
Distracting Myself: When I started ruminating, I got up, grabbed a book or watched some tv that made me laugh.
Schedule Your Ruminating: Schedule a ruminating session. Chances are by the time the session rolls around, you may not even feel like ruminating anymore.
Talk to someone: When I told Ryan about the ruminating, he made me promise to wake him up and talk about it. That one did wonders.
ID The Triggers: I avoided people and situations that stressed me out.
Make Your Room Super Cozy
Oooh. I went nuts with this one! I redecorated our bedroom and invested in some cozy sheets and pillows.
When my insomnia made a recent return, I tried a quick fix in the form of pillow sprays that help you sleep, specifically, This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray.
This best-seller promises to help you relax and fall asleep faster. I spray a little onto my satin pillowcase, took a few deep breaths and the next thing I knew, Ryan was nudging me awake. “DOM! It’s 8am! We slept through the alarms!” SH*T.
This Works Deep Pillow Spray smells amazing. With its mix of lavender, vetiver and chamomile, it calms you while the day’s worries vanish. This is a nice alternative to drinking two mugs of NeoCitran before bed in the hopes of getting knocked out (do not do this – trust. #groggy).
I’m British, ok? I like tea. I like lots of it, especially the good, strong stuff like Irish Breakfast Tea and Darjeeling. Unfortunately, the three cups I was drinking leading up to bedtime was a real problem. When I limited myself to one cup right after dinner, sleep came more easily.
The best sleep I’ve ever had in my life was when I started personal training at Premium Performance. Leaving the gym feeling completely spent after a great workout was so conducive to a great night’s sleep. Regular exercise makes the world of difference.
Make sure you are not exercising too close to bedtime though. My late night runs would really affect my sleep as I needed time to wind down afterward.
Put Down The Devices Before Bed
The light emanating from your devices “activates” your brain by stimulating daytime hormones. That blue light disrupts the body’s natural nighttime wind down and doesn’t allow your body to rest.
Turn your devices off or better yet, leave them in another room. And try not to use your phone as an alarm clock. Invest in an old school one!
Ahhh Yes. Booze.
Don’t drink too close to bedtime. Alcohol is a depressant and while it can make you sleepy, it eventally distrupst your sleep. Try to have your last drink around 6pm and skip that nightcap altogheter.
Goes without saying – a good romp before bed completely relaxes you and makes for a damn good night’s rest.
I hope these tips help you like they helped me. Have you ever suffered with insomnia? What did you do to get some shut eye?
*Thank you to This Works for the press samples in exchange for my honest opinion.