Today’s post is a little less fluffy than some I’ve been doing lately (in line with my blogging goals, yo). You might or might not remember, but in November I broke up with my boyfriend of nearly four years. Even though it was the right call, I found myself so stressed out for a couple of months afterwards, and with this came insomnia. I’ve had insomnia before, I’ll probably have it again. Even now I have nights where I scrape by on two hours sleep but overall, I’m back to a regular sleeping pattern for the most part.
Everyone’s insomnia journey will be different, but there are a few things that helped me establish a near normal sleep routine. When you’re tired and stressed, the last thing you want to do is embark on a tedious journey to find the cure for insomnia so hopefully having these tried and tested methods will help you to sleep better like they did for me!
Sleep Well App
For the first few weeks of not sleeping, I tried listening to chilled music, tried listening to nothing (except my manic brain), and eventually I decided to try what is essentially a hypnosis app. This was the first one I came across, and I can’t rate it enough. The free version takes you through an informative, slow talk about what insomnia is, and then goes into a hypnosis session taking you through tension and relaxation exercises. The first night, I made it to the end. The second night, I fell asleep after about 30 minutes. Now, I put it on and unless I’m particularly stressed or awake, I don’t even make it past 15 minutes. Download it here or search Sleep Well in the Apple store.
I learnt about these in my psychology degree so picked them up when I was struggling to sleep. Essentially the precursor to hormone serotonin, the mood and sleep regulating hormone, I take these tablets around an hour before bed and find I sleep through the night easier than when I don’t take them.
I know I shouldn’t check my phone when I wake up at god knows what hour, but I do. I’m addicted, what can I say? And I hate not knowing the time. Turning the screen brightness down around an hour before bed, and keeping it that way until I’m up in the morning, means I’m not subject to the blue light which triggers our wakey hormone (and simultaneously avoids burning my retinas out at 4am).
Avoiding bed unless sleeping!
They say you are meant to treat your bedroom as just a place for sleeping, but with my room being so beautiful (see for yourself here), I have my room as my chilled out sanctuary for anything that isn’t upbeat. My bed, however, is only gotten into when I am going to sleep or having a nap. If I really can’t sleep at stupid o’clock in the morning, I’ll get up, have a bath, or read downstairs until I’m tired enough to get back into bed and sleep.
Turning off my laptop
So BI (before insomnia), I used to always watch TV in bed. I’d put my laptop on a timer and fall asleep to Friends or How I Met Your Mother. When I had insomnia, I stopped falling asleep – I just watched episodes and episodes until eventually I turned the TV off at 2am. I don’t watch anything or use my laptop at all now at least the hour before I want to go to bed – instead I put on some chill out music and get ready for bed at a steady pace. Although it has seriously cut back on the amount of TV shows I get to watch, I’ve definitely noticed getting to sleep is much easier. I’m really into Hart of Dixie at the minute and ended up forcing myself to stay awake until 3am because I was hooked, proving TV before bed is a bad idea.