- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Bedtime Habits to Combat Insomnia.
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.