In lieu of recent conversations I've had with MULTIPLE people and many Facebook statuses posted at all hours of the night, I have started to question causes of insomnia. I have always thought of insomnia as someone who just can't sleep. Whereas that isn't entirely wrong, insomniacs can also be classified as people who don't get QUALITY sleep; which makes sense for those of us who get a full 8 hours and still walk the world feeling partial zombie status.
I recently downloaded an app called Smart Alarm. It DID cost .99 cents but it is the coolest app ever. It has all sorts of sleep settings. It has music to help you fall asleep--not marriage friendly--or even voice recordings of people talking to get you into a state of deep relaxation. It is hard to explain all of the cool features in this app, but my all-time favorite is that it will record your disturbances through the night. This is where I learned I am probably an insomniac due to lack of quality sleeping. I can get 8-10 hours of sleep each night and not feel rested. My app records me, on average having 135(ish) disturbances through the night. That’s roughly 16 "tosses and turns" every hour...no wonder I’m not rested.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are those that cannot fall asleep at night. This is sometimes acutely my problem, but never chronically. However, I feel for those of you who suffer chronically from insomnia because it is frustrating beyond belief.
From my research, and personal experience, I have found a few great tips on falling asleep and staying asleep.
- SHUT DOWN! As long as your brain is stimulated, it isn't going to be able to fall asleep. Cell phones, computers, televisions, iPods, Gameboys, etc. whatever your electronic vice may be, it is probably keeping you from sleeping.
- Power yourself off. If you're anything like me, you are ridiculous and feel funny without checking your phone right before bed. Welcome to the Y generation. However, like aforementioned, all it does is stimulate your brain and make you wake up. Power off your phone, and power down yourself.... Bedtime Yoga and/or meditation can help work wonders in getting your body to relax.
- Get rid of the rumbly in your tumbly; Winnie the Pooh was on to something when he decided he didn't like being hungry. I remember watching Oprah as a kid and she said she lost weight by not eating after seven. Kudos to the queen of daytime TV, but if your body is slightly hungry, it could be robbing you of essential ZZZZ's. It is good to know what to eat, though. If you're packing down the French fries and burgers minutes before midnight hoping it will help, you're probably going to wind up disappointed. Something light such as an apple or an orange (with cinnamon) can be enough to get the sleepy button in your body turned on.
- Warm drinks. I remember as a kid when I couldn't sleep my mom would warm up milk for me. In hindsight I don't think that was the greatest combination, but something about the warmness certainly seemed to calm me down. A nice chamomile or lavender tea before bedtime will certainly do the trick without needing to unnecessarily warm up a perishable dairy product.
- Read. Remember in high school when you'd be reading that book for English class and wake up a few hours later? Enough said.
- Dim the lights. Back in the day, people’s bodies were programed to calm down with the sun setting. Artificial lights were never on so their bodies were able to relax quicker. About an hour before you're ready to go to bed, start dimming your lights. Try only having night lights or candles lit and begin to calm your body down and avoiding artificial lighting.
As tricky as sleep can be, insomnia is a modern day issue. We have so many distractions and ailments that people hundreds of years ago never had to deal with; making sleep come easier. Get back to basics and start at your roots. Au natural!
Healy healthy sleeping... Sleeping is essential to healing!!