I used to be an insomniac. I'd feel so tired and couldn't wait to get into bed to go to sleep, but when I'd get there I'd be wide awake for hours.
Really brain? .. You have to think about my life meaning right now?
Then you start looking at the time and start to stress because you can't get to sleep and you have to be up in 4 hours, which keeps you awake even longer. ARGH!
Then when you finally get to sleep it seems like only 5 minutes before your alarm goes off.
But I'm happy to report to all you insomniacs out there that I sleep like a baby these days. As soon as I decide to sleep I do, and I'm out like a light. So there is hope for you and the reason you aren't sleeping could be due to something that can be fixed. Either way I know you are willing to give anything a try at this point.
1. Do you exercise at night time?
When we exercise essentially what we are doing is putting stress on the body (in a good way). Our body responds to stress by releasing a hormone called cortisol. High cortisol levels will keep you wired. So try switching to training in the morning or at lunch time.
2. Do you drink coffee, black tea or green tea after 3pm?
Caffeine will definitely keep you up at night and affect your sleeping habits. Unknown to most green tea and any black teas contain caffeine. So try switching to a herbal tea that will assist your body to relax such as camomile, peppermint or a sleepy time tea.
3. Are you on your iphone, laptop or tablet before bed?
All these electronic devices emit a blue light which tells our body that it's not ready to go to sleep yet. Our circadian rhythm determines our internal clocks. Some people can have longer sleep cycles than others or shorter ones but daylight usually keeps the rhythms aligned.
So the blue light confuses your body as traditionally we sleep in the dark. Try switching off a couple of hours before bedtime. I know it's hard and I have so much trouble with this one but I don't check my phone after a certain time.
4. Are you eating just before you go to bed?
To go to sleep your body needs to turn off basically. But if you have just eaten and your body is still digesting food technically you still need to be "turned on" which means you can't go to sleep yet. Try to have your dinner a few hours before you go to sleep.
5. Are you skipping meals during the day?
If you skip meals throughout the day your body will start to run off adrenaline which will also increase your cortisol levels. Remember what I said earlier about cortisol? Cortisol keeps you wired and will prevent you from sleeping. Try eating regularly. Eat 5-6 times per day to ensure you give your body the fuel it needs.
6. Do you drink alcohol?
Even though it can seem like alcohol can make you go to sleep easier what actually happens is you bypass the first stage of sleep called Rapid eye movement (REM) and go straight into deep sleep. Once the alcohol wears off though your body can come out of deep sleep and go back into REM which is easy to wake from.
That's why you often wake up just after a few hours of sleep. Deep sleep is what allows your body to restore itself. Try either drinking way before bedtime and allowing time for it to wear off. Usually it takes one hour per unit or don't drink at all say during the week to allow your body to rest properly.
7. Are you stressed or under a lot of pressure at work?
We go back to our friend cortisol again. Remember when you are stressed your body reacts by releasing the hormone cortisol which will keep you wired. Also if you are stressed out you most likely are thinking about everything while you are lying in bed which will not allow you to go to sleep.
This is where you either A. need to work the stress of the day off by exercising regularly or going for walks and B. learning the art of quieting the mind. This is why yoga is so popular. It will teach you how to relax and just stop worrying and stressing. You can also try hypnosis apps you can download on your phone or meditation tapes.