Frustration at insufficient sleep is a normal response in times of stress or grief but insomnia, the chronic inability to fall asleep and remain asleep for an adequate length of time, can be debilitating if it is frequent or severe. If your insomnia seriously affects the quality of your daily life, you should consult a health professional
Insomnia occurs when the body and mind are not in balance, within themselves and with each other. In the same way as ordinary hygiene is vital in keeping a healthy body, sleep hygiene is vital in maintaining healthy sleep patterns, and thereby maintaining physical and emotional wellbeing.
Removing work or hobbies from your bedroom to keep sleep-destroying thoughts out of your mind at bedtime is as important as washing your hands to keep health-destroying germs out of your food at mealtimes.
Avoiding things that make you less likely to have a good night’s sleep is balanced by putting in their place those things that make you more likely to sleep well.
Tips for sleeping well
But do so at least a few hours before bedtime.
Every day, especially in the mornings.
Try allotting a specific "worry time", at least a few hours before bedtime. Get unresolved worries in check. In order to resolve worries, it often helps to write down options and discuss your worries with others. You can also practice Relaxation Techniques for Stress Relief.
Caffeinated soft drinks, chocolate, nicotine, too much food or fluid at or near bedtime.
At or near bedtime.
Or sleeping late, if at all possible.
Try to stick to it, ideally between 9pm and 11pm.
Allowing no more sleep than you need.
So that you can't check the time during the night.
Develop a standard ritual of preparation for bed (e.g. a comforting drink such as warm milk or herbal tea, having a hot shower or bath, (this raises the body temperature, inducing sleep as body temperature falls,) and changing into cosy pyjamas. Pay attention to the place in which you sleep, making sure your room is quiet, (ear plugs dulls noise,) smells pleasant, (lavender enhances the quality of sleep,) is dimly lit, (an eye mask blocks light,) and your bed is warm and comfortable.
Learn some simple stretching and breathing exercises which encourage sleep. Yoga classes are an option.
A multipurpose room has distractions which are not conducive to sleep. Sex, reading relaxing books and listening to soothing music are the only exception to the non distraction rule! Take your computer, current assignment, and television to another room, or make sure they are not within reach.
If you have been lying in bed for about half an hour and are becoming distressed, get up for a while, but avoid bright light, caffeine and any activities that might increase your alertness. Do something pleasant, but not energetic, in another room until you begin to feel tired.
Think of sleep coming to you and not you going to sleep. Be comfortable in bed, focus on your breathing, and allowing yourself to drift with “no mind.” If an important thought sneaks in, keep a pen and paper beside your bed and make a note of it so that you can let it go till the morning.
(1) Asleep at the wheel. Aaron Jacobs. Image retrieved from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/aaronjacobs/64368770 Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic