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- Self-Help for Sleep Issues & Sleeplessness
11 Ways to Get Rid of Insomnia
Let's Get Personal
All of these methods I will be listing, are my own personal ways of falling asleep. They may or may not work for you. Sometimes these methods work for me, sometimes they don't so read at your own discretion, and no I'm not a doctor.
I am a serious insomniac, and it gets especially worse during the holidays. But instead of sleeping like I'm supposed to be doing, I'm sharing my methods to fall asleep with you lot, aren't I just the nicest samaritan?
10. Warm Milk
Ah, the old wives' tale, studies have shown that milk contains a special little enzyme called tryptophan, which helps you fall asleep. Although, that's a load of bull, the amount of milk you'd need to drink to actually get any effect from the little bit of tryptophan is absurd, not to mention that it'd have to go directly to your brain instead of your stomach. The real reason milk helps people fall asleep is because it's comfort food, the psychological association with milk and your childhood relaxes the psyche and helps lull you to sleep. Of course, this varies from person to person, if your lactose intolerant, and the thought of milk gives you the rumblies, well that's not going to do you much good. Just grab your favorite childhood treat, (nothing sugary) munch it down and let your mind relax.
9. Get Rid of all the Technology
Don't deny it, staring at a television screen or your phone and laptop doesn't really help you fall asleep. All the blue light emitting from these devices stimulates your brain, basically tricking it into believing that it's day time. I know, I know, it's addicting, you just need to write that next Facebook status, or type out a tweet on how you can't fall asleep. Seriously just put that stuff away and let your brain relax. Even the little blinking on your monitor or internet modem is distracting, so make the modem face the other way, or place a piece of tape over it to block out the light.
8. Take a Hot Shower
If you have a harder time to fall asleep in the summer, well, there's a very good reason for that, when you're body is too hot, you'll be sweaty, uncomfortable, and you're body will be working harder to keep you cool rather than trying to sleep. The same goes for when it's too cold, of course, it's easier to fall asleep in slightly cool temperatures, but if you start getting goose bumps, well now your body is putting in effort to warm up. The best way to keep your body temperature in control is to take a warm shower, this helps it far more than just adjusting the thermostat. By taking a warm shower you're heating up you're body, then when you walk out and crawl into bed, you'll slowly cool down. This is actually what your body intends to happen every night when you sleep. So get into the habit of showering or taking a bath before bed.
Here's a fan to lull you to sleep
7. White Noise
Turn on a fan, or if it's raining, even better. This is called white noise, white noise helps our mind drift off and focus on the sound of the noise, have you ever tried sleeping with absolutely no noise at all? The silence is more disturbing than relaxing. It also helps cover up sounds that would be disturbing, like people talking outside, or a dog barking loudly. Next time you can't get your mind to (or someone else) to pipe down, turn on that fan and focus on it's buzz.
6. Reverse Psychology
Every wonder why when you try and stay awake all night (for whatever reason), that you end up blinking and boom next thing you see is sunlight. Our brains are really really weird, and for some reason we can actually trick ourselves with reverse psychology, So next time you have insomnia, just keep telling yourself to not fall asleep, or do everything that you do when you try to stay awake, you'll blink out faster than a light.
Sleeping pills... To help you sleep.
5. Actually Stay Awake
If reverse psychology is not your thing, then try to actually stay awake, (no tricks attached) by forcing your self to stay awake one entire night and day, you'll be way too exhausted to even think about your insomnia the next night, although I don't suggest doing this on a school night, or when you have work the next day (yikes). Stay awake all Saturday, then when Sunday night comes, go to sleep early, yes early, you want to make sure you get enough sleep to pay off the sleep debt of the previous day, and be refreshed for the next. This should also keep your clock fixed for the next couple of days, that is if you follow the routine and go to bed at the same time every day. (This is more of a common sense thing...)
4. Stay. Still.
Tossing and turning in bed is not going to help you fall asleep, just stay still, best way to do this is to lay on your belly with your arms and legs sprawled out comfortably, if that's too hard than just focus on your breathing, or think about all the tedious things you did today. By laying on your belly, your stopping yourself from moving around too much, and by thinking of all the things you did, you keep your mind busy from thinking about how your not moving... by thinking of other stuff.
3. Don't Count Sheep, Don't Count At all
Counting or thinking of anything that requires effort, even if it may not seem like effort, will stimulate your brain, of course this doesn't apply to everyone, some people feel relaxed by counting sheep, because they've been doing it all their lives to fall asleep (kind of like drinking warm milk, it's more of a psychological association). However, if you've never actually tried counting sheep before, best chances are your brain will probably be more distracted by it than relaxed.
2. Follow a Routine
Your body, like all other animals, loves patterns. if you go to sleep everyday at the exact same time, your mind will learn that said time is when it needs to shut down. Birds are actually a great example of this, as soon as it's sunrise they begin chirping, and once it's sundown they immediately stop, in order to protect themselves from prey. For them, once the chirping stops, the sleeping begins.
If you have an imagination, use it. The best way to occupy your mind, not only will you stop thinking of all the reasons you can't sleep, you'll be able to trick yourself into sleep by actively thinking of relaxing thoughts, okay I know I said no more tricks but trust me, this works every time. All you have to do is think about what makes you happy, you could even try to imagine yourself in a bed falling asleep, your mind will follow. Number two can apply here too, just imagine the same thing every night, and you'll doze off in no time. Remember, the key word here is "imagine" not "think" that means you need to visually imagine a scenario.
Which of these methods work the best for you?
Did any of these methods work for you? If it didn't it's okay, even for me, sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. The key is to just relax and focus your mind away from trying to sleep, the more you force yourself, the longer you'll stay awake.
Here's a video from AsapSCIENCE to show what will happen after too much lack of sleep, just to make you feel better.
Update: 11. Use Apps!?
Okay, I know this goes against the whole "turn off technology bit", however recently there have been many applications that you could use to help you fall asleep.
Well, there is an app called Relax Melodies, it has multiple sounds/melodies that are relaxing enough for you to fall asleep to them, they range anywhere from the sound of rain, to the sound of city life during night time or even the melody of a piano softly playing a lullaby. Lets say you like multiple sounds, then you simply click on each one that you like to play it simultaneously and create your own little personal lullaby.
The free version of the app as 48 distinct soundtracks, that you can mix and match together, and there is also a sleep timer you can use to control the duration of the melodies. Buying the premium version unlocks more soundtracks and the isochronic tones as well as the binaural beats which separates one soundtrack into multiple sections that follow your sleep stages.
Here is the link to the free version for Android