Sleepy Time: Help for Insomnia
Do but consider what an excellent thing sleep is: it is so inestimable a jewel that, if a tyrant would give his crown for an hour's slumber, it cannot be bought; of so beautiful a shape is it, that though a man lie with an Empress, his heart cannot beat quiet till he leaves her embracements to be at rest with the other, yea, so greatly indebted are we to this kinsman of death, that we owe the better tributary, half of our life to him: and there is good cause why we should do so, for sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.
-- Thomas Dekker (1572-1632)
It's been a long day that's left you tired, bushed, beat.
Yet it's happening again--you lie in bed, awake in the middle of the night, your mind churning and churning--but the bedside clock keeps ticking, and you know you need sleep before facing another day.
I found these solutions in a book of home remedies, and they have worked for me:
1. Keep the same sleep schedule 7 days a week wherever possible. Don't sleep in on weekends--it messes up your circadian rhythm, making sleep on Monday night more difficult.
2. Get some excercise, late in the afternoon or early in the evening, every day if possible It doesn't have to be much--just a walk, or some housework, or yoga. That releases endorphins and stretches your muscles. People tend to overwork their minds and underwork their bodies, and that interferes with the body's sleep.
3. Set aside some quiet time before bed. This is good time to pray or meditate or read a religious or inspiration work. The idea is to change the channel from your ordinary daily worries.
4. Avoid stimulants after twilight. Coffee, cocoa, tea, caffeine of any kind, in soda: even a nightcap or alcoholic beverages have a bad effect on sleep.
5. Eat a piece of bread or a cracker before going to bed.
6. Soundproof your bedroom or get used to wearing ear plugs and get blackout curtains, to eliminate light and sound as stimuli when you're trying to get to sleep.
7. Turn off your mind by focusing your thoughts on something peaceful. I've found whale sounds help; harp music; meditating or doing relaxation exercises--begining with your toes and working your way up to your face, concentrate on relaxing one muscle at a time.
8. Take a warm bath. That always helps me--I love my baths. I make them as luxurious as possible; that's my time --in the bath before I go to bed.
Insomnia ranks right behind the common cold, stomach disorders and headaches as the most common ailment. In a Gallup poll, more than one-third of adults complained of lack of sleep.
In our hectic, busy world, it is getting harder and harder to form regular habits that are conducive to good health and good sleep. Most of the above list of tips to conquer insomnia is about forming good, regular, healthy habits. Your body will thank you. You will live longer, be healthier and happier if you can implement even some of these good habits.
Doctors have found that over-the-counter medication is unhealthy to depend on for a good night's sleep, and that the quality of sleep initiated by a sleeping pill is not quality sleep. It is more like being rendered unconscious by lowering a person's heart rate artificially. Most doctors now DO NOT recommend a sleeping pill as a sleep aid--instead, they recommend the above list of healthier habits.
They work--they really do. You'll feel better and look better and be readier to tackle the next day, whatever it brings.
Goodnight and God bless. Sleepy tight and don't let the bedbugs bite!