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Bedtime Habits to Combat Insomnia.

Updated on November 24, 2008
I can't sleep at night
I can't sleep at night

True Meaning of Night Terrors

I dealt with insomnia for years before I finally threw my hands in the air and begged my doctor for help getting to sleep at night. When my insomnia first started, I could function well enough to get through the next day. However, I was only 19 years old at that time. As I got older, the lack of sleep took its toll and I started losing energy, I got sick more frequently, and I fell into a deep depression. The more I stressed over getting to sleep, the less likely I was to actually do it. Eventually I got to the point where I dreaded nighttime and cried just thinking of the agonizing hours I would stay awake while everyone else in the house slept. The quiet dark was so lonely that it hurt.

Over the years, I have tried many homemade remedies for getting to sleep and staying asleep at night. During that time, the last thing I wanted to do was take a sleeping pill. I had small children and I felt it would compromise their safety if I was unable to be alert at night if necessary. Now that my children are a little older, I take a sleeping pill to help me get to sleep at night. My depression has diminished, my attitude has improved, and I feel better than I have in a long time. I will share my homemade remedies in case you choose not to take a sleeping pill. The remedies got me through for a few years when I needed them to.

Remedy Number One

The best bedtime habit I created was to put myself on a very strict and consistent schedule. No matter how tired I was from staying up the night before, I made myself wake up and get moving at 6 am. I did not allow naps during the day and I kept myself active. After a few sleepless nights and days, I easily fell asleep at 10 pm. And the next morning, up again at 6 to start it all over. Eventually my body reset its internal clock and I was able to get to sleep easier at night. Then enter...another baby. And anyone who has had a child knows what that means. Any sense of rhyme and reason is lost. Someone else dictates the schedule.

Remedy Number Two

When I had my second baby, all the consistent schedule stuff went out the window with my size 4 pants. I was up every 2 - 4 hours and slept when I could during the day. I was back to my same habits and my internal clock was very messed up, even after I corrected the baby's. I realized a schedule was not going to work this time because I had two kids and I was working third shift two nights a week. I started adding exercise into my day to rid myself of any extra energy, that way I would literally drop into bed exhausted. I also made sure I turned off the tv I once slept with all night. I realized the flashing lights were keeping me up all night. The exercise routine lasted for a while until I got too busy carting the kids everywhere. Then I simply did not have time to exercise!

Remedy Number Three

This is by far my weirdest attempt to cure myself of insomnia, but it worked well for a while! I would set myself on a semi-consistent schedule and then read something very, very boring until I fell asleep. Go to an old bookstore and pick up an accounting book or a biology text and read yourself to sleep. Just make sure that what you pick does not interest you in the least and that it is not something that will cause you anxiety, which may also keep you awake (such as news articles).

Remedy Number Four

Eventually I had to stop reading at night because my spouse (trying to be helpful) would buy me more books, but interesting ones. I would catch myself staying up all night to finish a book. Then I took a cue from my youngest daughter. Anytime she took a bath, even at 10 in the morning, she fell asleep right after. I started taking a hot shower or bath right before bed to help me relax. It helped a lot until I found myself sitting in the tub, with my mind still reeling at 100 miles per hour.

The Final Showing

By time I made my way through all the remedies that each lasted only a while, my kids were bigger. I thought I had made huge strides until I started getting weird physical symptoms my doctor could not explain. It turns out I had become numb to my sleep deprivation and did not realize I still had bouts of insomnia. I started a sleeping pill and I have felt great. I do not regret putting off the medication remedy. The other remedies served me well until my children were old enough for me to feel comfortable taking a sleeping pill.


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    • Ardie profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Neverland

      Hi alocsin :) You're so funny - I have a few Hubs in mind too and that's an excellent way to combat insomn...wait, are you talking about MY Hub?! hahah

    • alocsin profile image

      Aurelio Locsin 

      6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Good tips. I was going to suggest rather than old books, why not read some boring hubs? I'd mention a few but that's going to get me into more hot water. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • Ardie profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Neverland

      Hi Sunshine :) 5-6 hours of sleep a night is NOT enough in my book! I prefer 10-12 hours hahah maybe thats my problem. I dont have insomnia - I just try to sleep way too long. Thanks for reading this old, old Hub.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Interesting and useful hub! I've never had insomnia and hope I never do. I really enjoy my 5-6 hours of sleep each night. This hub is an oldie but a goodie!

    • Ardie profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Neverland

      Hi MissFrost and thanks for reading! Hopefully my Hubs never become "put me to sleep" material hahah

    • MissFrost profile image


      7 years ago from 50% Island Girl, 25% East Coast Girl, 25% Country Girl

      Thanks for sharing this HUB!!! Reading a boring book is a good suggestions...that's what my Mom does when she can't fall asleep!!!

    • Ardie profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Neverland

      Hi catrus! Oy, economics books...yaaaawn hahah Thanks for reading and I hope this one didnt put you to sleep too terribly.

      Hi Posh! My 12 hour shifts dont work for me. I worked 12 today from 7 am to 7 pm and here I am at 1230am typing away! It seems I am like you - I will not get up earlier but I will stay up later to work on hubs

    • poshcoffeeco profile image

      Steve Mitchell 

      7 years ago from Cambridgeshire

      Ardie 12 hour shifts are my remedy to insomnia.My problem is that I fall asleep in the middle of writing a hub. Slump on the laptop then I get woken up by Tracey to go to bed. Then wake up around 4am eyes wide open unable to nod back off until 5.30am. (Don't say it. Get up early and write your hubs before you go to work. Had thought about it. And that was all it was...a thought)

      You tell a great story.

      Vote is awesome.

    • catrus profile image


      7 years ago from Philippines

      It's funny to find someone doing the same thing I did when I was in college. I used to read one of my books about economics which I found very boring. I open the book, flip a few pages, and fall to sleep. Haha. Great hub!

    • girly_girl09 profile image


      9 years ago from United States

      thank you for these tips! I've been dealing with insomnia the last four months or so and some of these suggestions are very unique. I'll give them a try!

    • Ardie profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Neverland

      Hi einron, Im glad you are able to get your rest on the weekends. Perhaps on Friday nights you are able to let go of whatever is keeping you awake during the week. If that's the case, thats great!

    • einron profile image


      9 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

      I do get insomia sometimes and at times I take a pill. That is not a solution. I do not like to sleep early nor do I like to get up early. But on Friday nights, I pray to God for sabbath rest and I do get rest.

    • Ardie profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Neverland

      Thank you riotgrrrl :) I've recently revisited my insomnia problem and need to come up with more ideas as the old ones are no longer working. Maybe it can be an update!

    • riotgrrrl profile image


      10 years ago from Cheshire, UK

      a fabulous hub, i really enjoyed reading through it :-)

      well done!


    • Ardie profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Neverland

      Thank you lgali :)

    • Lgali profile image


      10 years ago

      This is very good hub too

    • sgjerome profile image


      10 years ago from Singapore

      Try to sleep on time and wake up on time, never stay late at night. Why children sleep so well because they always sleep on time and as ones get older we stay late and get sleeping disorder

    • Ardie profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Neverland

      Hi countrywomen :) I too have found myself addicted to HubPages and had to slow myself down so my children wouldnt feel neglected (Im joking). I have been thinking about trying the lavender aromatherapy. The nursing home where my Grandma stays uses aromatherapy for the patients and the nurses swear by it.

    • countrywomen profile image


      10 years ago from Washington, USA

      The number 1 tip to sleep on a schedule never works for me since I am so addicted to hubpages these days. But fortunately I don't have to resort to sleeping pills which can be addictive with side effects. I use aromatherapy like lavender spray on my pillow which is very good. Good hub.

    • Ardie profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Neverland

      Hi Timothy, Thank you for the information on sleeping pills hindering lung function. I had no idea about that. The next time I go to my pcp, I will have to ask her about it.

    • profile image

      Timothy Black 

      10 years ago

      Great hub but be careful and please don't rely on sleeping pills. They affect lung functions and can cause depression if you stay on them too long.

      You don't ever want to get to the point where you can't sleep without them.

      Exercise, even a little. during the day will help you sleep as well as some proper Deep Breathing just before bed. When you rid your body of toxins more efficently via long and proper exhales and cleanse your body with deep diaphragmatic inhales you will zonk out. Usually for 4-5 hours at a tiem. Not a full night but better than staring at the ceiling.

    • Ardie profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Neverland

      watcherbynight, thats a great idea about hubs - and I will admit its one I've used before ;) You are so smart...I never thought to pick up a book I've already read! I will have to try that one now. The closer the holidays get, the more stressed I am right now, and the less sleep I've been getting. Thanks for your help.

    • watcher by night profile image

      watcher by night 

      10 years ago

      Not a cure but a way to exploit your insomnia: writing more hubs...LOL. But that probably is not a good idea except once in a blue moon. A slightly different take on the reading idea is to use a book that IS interesting to you, but which you have already read and re-read many times (if you have any books that match this profile, that is). I can't do this with just any book that I find interesting. But there are a few old stand-bys that I can just flip to a random page, read for several minutes, and it helps to sooth and still the restlessness in my mind. I guess it also becomes part of a bedtime ritual. I have to admit, though, I have mixed results with this method. But my "watcher by night" nom de plume is taken from an insomnia-plagued literary character anyway... LOL...


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