Thursday, February 6, 2014

Tips for Insomnia

If you're like me, you've probably heard just about every insomnia trick out there - and tried most of those.  If you're new to the game, I thought I'd share everything I've tried.  These have been recommended to me by various friends, medical professionals, and WebMD.  Many of them directly contradict each other because every person is different; what works wonders for you will be someone else's sleepless night.  I am not a medical professional at all; these are just based on my personal experience.

  •  Melatonin (does not work for me, but works great for some)
  • Do not spend time in bed that is not for sleeping.  Do not sit in bed to read a book, work on your laptop, take a nap, etc.
  • Read a book in bed before going to sleep.  Stay up as late as you can - until your eyes can't stay open anymore.
  • Take it easy during the day - don't stress yourself out over anything, not physically, mentally, or emotionally.
  • Work yourself really hard during the day so you are bone-weary at night.
  • Journal before bed to get your thoughts out.
  • Massage your calves. (I haven't actually tried this one, but it's been recommended to me.)
  • Take a quick power nap in the afternoon - no more than 20 minutes.
  • Eat a small snack before bed that involves a little protein and a little bit of carbohydrates, i.e. cheese and crackers, or pretzels and a yogurt.
  • Limit screen time in the last couple hours before bed.
  • Lavender.  Take a bath with lavender bath salts (or soap, etc.) or have something lavender-scented near your bed.
  • Bananas - there is apparently a natural dose of melatonin in one banana. If I didn't hate bananas, I might try this.  Also, avoid apples later in the day, because they are nature's coffee, or rather, sugar-rush.
  • SleepyTime tea - or any other brand's equivalent of that.  It's a blend of chamomile tea and other teas - and depending on the brand, comes in different flavors.  I've just recently started using this (I bought SleepyTime Peach) and I'm finding it works wonders (other than the whole 'drinking a cup of tea right before bed, so I have to get up in the middle of the night to relieve myself' thing).
  • If you have a cold, too, try NyQuil for a night.
  • Exercise - but not in the last few hours before bed.
  • Try sleeping somewhere else.  If you're not sharing your bed with someone else (or if they're really nice and don't mind), turn your blankets and pillows around so your head is at the foot of the bed.  Or try the spare room bed or couch for the night.
  • If you're tossing and turning, try getting out of bed and doing something else.  This one rarely works for me, but may work for you.  Try organizing a drawer, reading a book, or cleaning something.
  • Try going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning.  I know it's hard, but training your body that this is when you sleep can help you build good sleeping habits.
  • Have a bedtime routine to remind your body that it's time to sleep now.  Again, building good sleeping habits.
  • Sleep with a fan or a white noise machine on.  
  • Keep a notepad by your bed to write down those thoughts that are keeping you awake.
  • Wash your sheets and pajamas.  I haven't heard this from anyone else, but it helps me relax; I love the smell of clean laundry.
Finally, if it's been a while and nothing is working, go see your doctor.  Two years ago, I was prescribed a generic version of Ambien that I took for about 5 nights.  After that, I was fine for a few months.  Of course, that's my personal experience; yours could be very different.

In closing, I thought I'd share this pin with you that struck me as so perfect it's both funny and sad.

This is why I can't sleep most of the time. :)  I can't make my brain shut up!

Do you have any recommendations for insomnia other than the ones above?  What works for you when you can't sleep?

Love and A Clean Pillowcase,
Leah Joy

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