You go to bed at a decent hour. You think, “Maybe I’ll sleep the whole night thru tonight.” You fall asleep, but wake up at 3am needing to relieve yourself. You go, come back to bed, and it starts.
The mind chatter that is. It’s like a faucet that won’t turn off. You just want to go back to sleep, but it starts gushing.
The more you push it away and want to go back to sleep, the more the mind chatters…”I need to sleep. If I don’t get enough sleep I’m going to be really groggy and pissed off tomorrow.”
It’s now been one hour, perhaps two, and you’re still laying in your bed, wide awake, staring at the faint light coming in through the window wondering if the sun is coming up soon so you have a reason to get out of bed.
Yet you know you still need more sleep. So you get more frustrated and irritated that you’re laying there awake. Maybe it’s the 5th night in a row, or 5th week, or 5th month, or 5th year.
You’re tired of it.
I know this routine well. It started in 2007. I had always slept so well before that. I could sleep in a car, on a plane, in a raging snow storm. It didn’t matter. Sleep was easy.
Then insomnia started. But I didn’t call it that for a long time. It was just when I woke up during the night, laid awake for 2 to 3 hours, then went back to sleep…eventually.
Many people I know experience it as well – perhaps you too. Nationwide, 1 in 3 people have it in the U.S., women are twice as likely to have it than men, and 10 million people in the U.S. use sleep medication.
From my own personal experience and in working with people, here’s what I see causes it:
- Anxiety (fear)/stress/depression
- Conflict: with others or internally between ego and intuition
- Loss: loss of relationship, job, house, health, the familiar
- Death of a loved one
- Creativity (I’ll talk about this more later)
You’re probably ready to be insomnia free if you experience it. I hear you.
Here’s what I’ve done for myself to work with insomnia:
- Meditate sometime during the day. It helps calm the mind. Even 3-5 min. before bed is really helpful.
- Get some sort of exercise or movement of the body.
- Take a hot shower or bath before bed.
- Get off all technology for 1 hour before bed. Any technology will create “wired” energy in your mind. Get off this stuff. This includes computers, cell phones, i-whatever devices, and the television. In fact, get rid of your television. It’s a waste of your life.
- Have a quote book or other inspiring material next to your bed to read before you close your eyes. It will leave your mind in a state of rest before you sleep.
During the night:
- Lie on your back or sit up and take deep breaths in and out thru your noes. When your mind wonders bring it back to the breath, over and over.
- Have some soft meditative music ready to listen to that will calm your mind.
- Read a calming book (not the latest sci fi thriller) – kindle is great for keeping the light low.
- Lay and simply watch all the thoughts come and go. Watch with objectivity and see the entertainment of it all.
- Watch for anger and resistance to what is. One of my biggest breakthroughs with insomnia was when I decided I wasn’t going to be pissed about it anymore. It’s what was happening, so why add the anger and frustration to it?
I encourage using these tools before trying sleep medications. But use meds if you’re having trouble functioning in your daily life to get back on track, while incorporating these other tools so you can eventually taper off the meds.
Most insomnia comes from fear. Fear of change, the unknown, loss, money, home, safety, control, etc. The more you can go right to the root of the cause, the better chance you’ll have in getting a solid nights rest, instead of just treating the symptom.
Here’s the exception: Insomnia due to creativity. Sometimes my best ideas or clarity come at 3 in the morning. There are no distractions, it’s just me and my thoughts. The creative ideas start flowing and it’s like an excited child who can’t wait for the day. That’s what I experience now. I actually love it. It’s fun and interesting!
Categories: Health & Happiness