2 a.m. The house is quiet. The room is dark. And you're WIDE AWAKE. What’s worse than lying in bed, unable to keep your eyes closed for more than a few minutes, while the rest of the world is sound asleep? The National Institute of Health estimates 1 in 3 adults has occasional insomnia. And it’s a chronic problem for 1 out of every 10 adults.
We’ve all heard the golden rules. No TV or electronics in bed. Avoid caffeine in the afternoon. Limit distractions like pets and kids in the bedroom. I don’t know about you, but if I’m awake at 2 a.m. I’m already distracted…by the fact that I’m awake at 2 a.m. And turning the TV on is the only thing that keeps me sane when I can’t sleep. The pool of prescription sleep aids continues to grow. But many of us aren’t comfortable going that route. So what else can we do? Here are a few natural tips and tricks.
Plan a little time to do nothing before bed. Your mind needs a few minutes to deactivate and turn off the stress of the day. In fact, Sleep HealthCenters in Boston has a great suggestion. Before you head off to bed, write down all the things you need to worry about and then do your best to leave them behind for the night. After all, there’s likely nothing you can do about them until morning. So why let the worry keep you up?
Try developing a ritual. Parents often use bedtime routines to help kids make the transition from active and energized to relaxed and ready for sleep. Adults can benefit as well. Try a cup of tea, a warm bath, a lighthearted book, any restful activity you can perform nightly to tell your body and mind it's time to wind down.
Be wary of that late night glass of wine. As the alcohol is metabolized overnight, it can fragment sleep.
If you just can’t get to sleep, don’t dwell on it. Worrying about the impact of your sleepless night is often what keeps you up. Accept it and try to relax.It may take some time to find just the right mix of tools and lifestyle changes to conquer your insomnia. But don’t give up. At Soaring Heart, we truly believe sleep is one of the most important elements to a healthful and happy life. Give your sleep the attention it deserves.