There are many ways to improve your sleep and relaxation that are natural and healthy. Obviously, the first step to alleviate your stress related insomnia is to reduce stress. But once you can’t sleep, try these ideas to get your rest and feel refreshed.
Nine Ways to Get to Sleep
- Pretend you are sleeping. When you have sleep problems, remain lying down with your eyes closed. Pay particular attention to the wonderful night noises and give thanks for being awake and blessed with experiencing the night.
Do you Listen to the ‘Experts’?
Many experts advise getting up when you can’t sleep and doing some quiet activity. “There’s no point in tossing and turning,” they say.
I have found this advise to be silly and this tip is the exact opposite. Experiment. See which works for you.
Staying down is directly opposite advice that many specialists give, but in the morning, I find that I was not really as awake as I thought. I was actually dosing off and on all night and by staying down, I could take advantage of my little naps. I have also observed this in other people when they say “I was awake all night”.
If you get up, you are definitely not sleeping and will be tired in the morning. Try pretending you are asleep and see if you can grab a few winks.
- Intend to tire your body. If you must get out of bed, do it with the intention of tiring your body for rest.
Working at night is fine if you enjoy it, but with insomnia, your goal should be sleep and relaxation. Don’t get to work on your to-do list, and don’t get sucked into a movie you have always wanted to watch. Your purpose is to tire your body and get back to bed. Do a quiet activity only until you can sleep again.
- Keep a pen and paper next to the bed. When your mind is racing or creativity is flowing, keep a pen and paper next to the bed in an easily reachable place. If you have a “to do” thought, write it down, but keep your eyes closed. Do not turn on the light. Stay sleepy but write down your thought and erase it from your mind.
When creativity is flowing, and a great story idea or poem scrolls through your head, write it down too. If possible, write it down in the dark and make an effort to lie back down right away and go to sleep. Try not to fully awaken.
- Child’s Pose. This advice for sleep and relaxation was born when I was pregnant and insomnia because my belly was too big. Lie in your bed in the yoga pose “child’s pose” until you fall asleep. This pose never fails.
There is one caution: this method is only for very fit people. When you fall asleep in child’s pose, your circulation to your legs is cut off. Eventually you wake up slightly and roll over, but your legs tingle and burn as the circulation returns. If you have circulation problems, don’t try this technique.
- Homeopathy. Homeopathy works great for improving your sleep and relaxation. Hyland’s makes an excellent sleep remedy called Calms Forte (affiliate link).
Homeopathy is based on the idea of “like cures like.” When you take a remedy of a plant which can cause symptoms like insomnia, it will cure insomnia. In Western medicine, this a bit similar to how vaccines work, but with homeopathy the doses are incredibly minute, so dilute that they are almost nonexistent. Homeopathy is safe and very effective.
You can find Calms Forte at most health food stores that sell homeopathy.
- Drink warm milk. Milk has calcium which can help you sleep and relaxation. Plus grandmothers have been advising this for years. I find it works well. Try adding a little vanilla extract for flavor. You may find this better than teas because it doesn’t make you pee right away.
- Herbal remedies. There are many herbal remedies, teas, supplements and tinctures which can help your sleep and relaxation. Try chamomile, catnip, hops, kava kava, valerian or passionflower. If you don’t know what to try first, go to the health food store and see which remedy pops out to you. Often your intuition is the best guide.
- Melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone which naturally occurs in your body. This remedy is particularly suggested when your sleep problems are due to a disruption in your regular sleep schedule. If you have worked late or have jet lag, try melatonin. Take the supplement 30 minutes before bed.
- Ignore your mind. Sometimes your thoughts are so busy marching around in your head that you can’t sleep or relax.
Practice ignoring them.
Notice when your thoughts take you to your typical story, the same old dialogue, your regular worries. When you see this pattern direct your attention back to the quiet of the night.
Notice how your feet feel. You can not be able to simultaneously feel your body and fret. It is likely that you will have to repeat this over and over, just like teaching a child, but eventually, you will become more skilled at keeping your thoughts quiet.