How do you all spend your time when you can’t sleep? For most of my life i’ve been an insomniac and having grown up in a family which was very homeopathic in it’s remedies I often find myself just accepting the wakefulness and finding ways to occupy my time. I also absolutely hate the feeling of swallowing pills or even just using a pharmaceutical remedy for something so small such as the inability to fall asleep when I know it’ll remedy itself once my body reaches the point of being so exhausted it just passes out. I’m aware that’s not the most healthy thing to do but i’ve become used to it. Anyways what remedies do you usually employ when you’re struck by a sense of restfulness and the kingdom of sleep eludes you?
Now having decided to avoid the pharmaceutical route I ended up scouring the net for a variety of different ways and well, most were unsuccessful there were a few I found merit in. That age old counting sheep trick has never once worked, actually now that I think about it i’m not sure I even know anyone that it’s worked for, huh.. Kind of odd. Well moving on, one of the most effective ones I found was surprisingly a focus exercise. All you need to do is get in the position you usually find most comfortable for sleep and get all your blankets nicely positioned, now visualize a candle surrounded by shadow. What you’re going to do is try to synch the flickering of the flame with your breathing, feel the shadows grow stronger every time the candle flickers, slowly over time the idea is to diminish the light your candle gives off until eventually it winks out and the darkness reigns supreme. By the time you’re swallowed by the darkness you should be asleep, or at least that’s the idea. This one while being more successful than the others is still rather unreliable; however i’ve found most sleep techniques to be unreliable so that’s not saying much.
A great one that I stumbled across which I pretty much always employ even when sleep hasn’t been eluding me is to lower your room temperature, which in most parts of the year translates to sleep with an open window. Not only does it seem to improve quality of sleep but that fresh air is really noticeable especially if you live with other people, in which case it’ll probably make your room smell better then theirs. It may not actually smell better or that different, but the comparison between the stale air from most of the house to the fresh air you let in from outside will most certainly be noticeable. In college I was often told I had the best smelling room in the house even though fresh air was pretty much my main secret for that…well okay that and an essential oil diffuser but regardless that natural air makes a difference!
I often came across sites screaming that if you used the “4-7-8” breathing method than you could learn to always fall asleep in under a minute. Puh-lease, maybe that trick works for some people but I barely noticed it having any effect. I will recognize though that if your problem is that you can’t seem to relax before bed than this may actually help you. Maybe. It gets you to place your tongue behind your front top teeth and exhale enough that you make a ‘whooshing’ sound, inhale through your nose to a count a four before holding it for a count of seven, then exhale for eight seconds through your mouth making that noise from before, essentially you’ve now done the technique and you’re just supposed to rinse and repeat until it works. Personally i’d say if you already have the control over your emotions to maintain a relaxed/calm state of mind then this will probably do absolutely nothing for you.
Yoga and meditation are both extremely useful for calming your mind and working through a bit of your excess energy so that you can just crawl under your covers before succumbing to sleep, although other times I find meditation will keep you awake so it can be kind of hard to find the correct balance. Also a lot of people tell you to avoid looking at your clock as it can give you anxiety over your sleeplessness, while in some cases this may be true it really doesn’t matter too much if you can lower the importance of time in your mind. Accept that sleep will come when it comes or it simply won’t, any stressing done over it will simply keep you up longer so release time of it’s importance. After that looking at the clock doesn’t really matter, but you also won’t be inclined to look at the clock for the same aforementioned reason.
My personal favourite activity for getting to sleep when it’s eluding you is to go through your usual nightly routine, get all curled up in bed, and then begin to read. Try and pick something that interests you but not to the point of interest that you’ll keep yourself up until dawn trying to finish it. If you’re like me and speed read everything try and slow that process down, really savour each and every word you can allowing (over time) that drowsiness to settle in. Eventually you’ll probably reach a point where you’re ready for sleep, give into that drowsiness and let yourself drift off. Especially because if you power through that drowsiness you’re likely to read until morning utilizing a fresh wave of energy and that’s really not what you wanted from this. Now while this is certainly a personal favourite and one I almost always employ, you should be aware that it can be a long time before that drowsiness sets in, sometimes even two to three hours. Even then its not assured.
Of course there is one technique which almost always cuts right through my insomnia letting me sleep, sleeping with someone else. Now i’m not saying that in the more lewd expression of the phrase although that would most certainly tire you out, but in the more innocent but still physical way. Cuddle up with someone. I’m not sure about the exact science to it but this will almost always work for me, it’s warm, cozy, comfortable, safe. You can zone out to the hypnotic rhythm of their breathing or the beating of their heart. Some part of me always realizes that I could wake them up through tossing and turning so i’ll try to remain still as much as I can and usually that stillness transforms into unconsciousness. I’ve never had the chance to find out aside from once when I passed out on a couch cuddling with a cat, but i’m fairly certain that the presence of an animal also has the same effect to a certain extent.
I didn’t mean to wait so long in the day to make this post but sleep was proving rather elusive last night so my schedule is a bit off. However i’m certainly going to try my best not to get too far off schedule with this blog, currently i’m trying to post on the daily with the occasional day having multiple posts but we’ll see how that changes with time. I want to keep doing daily posts, and I will but i’m going to keep an eye on how things go for the few first weeks so I can try to avoid burning myself out. If anyone has any suggestions on how they keep themselves from running out of things to post about while staying within a niche, than I would love to hear them. I mean i’ve got some ideas for how things are going to go but it’s always nice hearing about the process of others.
Peace, love, and tranquility,