Life

5 Ways to Cope with Insomnia*

It’s not a secret on my blog that I struggle with insomnia. The first time I ever remember having it I was 13 and it was the summer before I started high school. I was so anxious that I couldn’t sleep for weeks on end. My parents took me to the doctors and I was giving some herbal drops. I used to have to sleep on the sofa so I wouldn’t wake my sister as we shared a room. I remember a low of falling asleep in a cafe. A lot of people tell me at 13 I couldn’t possibly have insomnia but believe me, it went on for weeks, not just the odd night. Once I started school I got back into a sleep routine but now whenever I’m stressed or anxious, back comes the insomnia and now as an adult, and a parent I seem to have a really unhealthly relationship with my bed. I guess these days I’m always anxious and stressed.

Thankfully over the past 16 years I’ve come up with ways to help me cope with those really bad nights. The ones where it’s starting to get light and I still haven’t slept. There are times when I get so anxious over the fact I can’t sleep it does completely take over but on the whole, that’s only once or twice a month. However, that doesn’t stop be still being away at 1:30am most nights knowing I have to be up at 7:30am to get LM ready for school.

Anyway, these are 5 ways I’ve found that help me cope with insomnia;

Take a Bath
It’s an old cliche but taking a bath does help me to chill IF I have it just before going to bed. If I take a bath earlier in the night then spend an hour or two fussing around it actually doesn’t help in the slightest. Some of my best night sleeps have happened when I’ve climbed out the hot bath and into bed. I find having the lights off and burning candles instead also helps me to relax, along with some scented bath products.

Background Noise
This is a slightly weird one but since the root cause of my insomnia is a noisy mind (aka over thinking) I find that having some sort of Netflix show on with the sound turn down, the brightness low and my sleep mask on helps me sleep. The sound of the show overrides whatever i’m thinking about and then I eventually fall asleep. I know some people who use sound machines or play music for a similar effect.

Invest in a Sleep Aid
I’m not talking about some sleeping tablets (I’ve had them before, they’re highly addictive with awful side affects, do not take!) I’m talking about a herbal sleep aid. The Independent Pharmacy is a great place for picking up my favourite Nytol One a Night tablets. I swear by them for helping calm my mind before I sleep which is what is usually the cause of my insomnia.

Have a Warm Drink
After my most recent bout of Insomnia I found going downstairs and making myself a hot drink helped. Hot chocolate, tea or hot milk are favourites of some family and friends but for me it has to be a herbal tea with some sugar. You can even buy specialist sleep tea that is supposed to help but I’ve not tried any yet, I just have bog standard green tea with lemon at the moment which is also great for detoxing.

Be Busy During the Day
My favourite way to cope with Insomnia? Be really busy during the day so that by the time you hit the hay you simply pass out. This happened to me the other weekend when I was in London. I was so busy during the day with walking, catching the tube and sight seeing that as soon as I got into bed in the hotel I was out like a light. No fussing, no worrying, I just lay down and shut my ears. Is that how normal people sleep all the time? Anyway, if I know i’m going through a rather anxious patch I try to keep my days busy to distract myself and then at night I’m too exhausted that I don’t even get the chance to worry about not sleeping!

I’m sure there are loads of ways to help you cope with insomnia, A new memory foam pillow for example, but if you’re like me and have it, you know that sometimes you can do everything and still be lying awake at 5am, it’s just the way it is!

Do you suffer from insomnia? How do you cope with it?
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