A number of years ago I read a book called “Managing your sleep”. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the author and the editor but this book changed my life, well…my night life 🙂
At that time, insomnia was my habit. No two nights with a full sleep. It made me nervous and stress would come out the day after. Then I read that book and I got and kept a number of tips that I can now recommend to you:
- Read a book before sleep…in silence
Or meditate ! Whatever time it is, close your screens ! Forget about TV, phone, tablet or computer. Screen must go to sleep too, but not in bed with you ! Music is great but at some point you should be in silence. Silence will appease your senses. Reading will make you dream even before sleep is there. By the way: don’t read anything like business publication or some job report ! Read a novel, something light !
Talking about screens, it’s time for you to “digital detox” ! A number of recent researches showed that addiction to screens excite the brain and lead to bad sleep. If you leave your smart phone open during night, you will unconsciously want to look at notifications. Same for telephone. My recommendation is clear: don’t answer calls, especially professional calls after 10 pm. If someone calls you with problems, you will absorb her (his) problems. If someone is excited about something, you will absorb the excitation. It may be nice but it will damage your sleep. The hour before sleep is for you to be alone with yourself !
- When you wake up in night, don’t try to recover the sleep
So now comes the time when you wake up, generally between 2 and 4 am. You say: “oh ! no ! again ! ” and you start to be desperate. You WANT to sleep, you try to calm down but you can’t. You turn things in your head. Good or bad. No way ! Sleep will not come back easily, whatever you do. So, stand up and do something. Go drink or eat something you like. Enjoy the night instead of fearing it. Night is full of good things. Some fresh air maybe. Or some quietness. Learn to love your insomnia. Don’t think that you’re loosing sleep, think that you’re gaining time of life !
- Don’t open your screens. Read or do something manual
If you reopen your phone or tablet or if you start playing games on your computer, time will spend easily but you will not rest your brain. Remember, the night should be relaxed time. Do things that you don’t have time to do during the day. Maybe listening to easy going music, meditating, exercising some yoga, baking cakes…Anything but soft ! After about 90 min (more or less), you will start to yawn. Sleep works in cycles of 90-100 min. Yawning means that a new cycle will come. Wait 5 or 10 min and let you fall into the arms of Morpheus… Morpheus was the god of dreams in ancient Greece.
- Make your insomnia a creative experience
Insomnia always sounds negative. We say that we “suffer from insomnia”. Actually, it’s been proven that it’s one of the most creative period of time. A number of artists create during night. You’re waking up because your brain is active. Interrupted sleep is a source for the imaginary. You’re in another world, far away from day life constraints. A good way to do is to write down, before sleep, a number of issues you’d like to be creative about. If you wake up, take one and think. Imagine weird solutions. Like in a dream. Anything can be crazy during night. Daylight will bring you to reality !
- Have a little notebook with a pencil to record your ideas
This is one of the most easy and practical tips I used. Most of the time when you wake up at night it’s because you think of tomorrow workload. “I should not forget to do this. I forgot to call Bob. I should think of it tomorrow…bla bla bla”. So, you try to keep it in mind and it adds to your worries. So, do something simple: have a little notebook and a pencil on your night table. When you think of something, write it down. So, your mind is free to forget it. Remember: no screen, no smart phone reminder ! Just paper and pen. After a few days or weeks, the simple fact to have your notebook near you will appease you and you will probably never wake up anymore for “things to do tomorrow”.
- Forget about sleeping at night only
One of the reasons we fear insomnia is that we fear to loose sleep hours and be tired on the following day. To avoid that feeling, learn to make several mini sleep breaks during day. You can do for 20 min (after lunch for example), 5 min or even 1 min (have a spoon in your hand and let you fall into sleep, when you really sleep the spoon will fall on the ground and wake you up 🙂 ). These sleep breaks will have a out of benefits and make you more productive. It will compensate for the time you were awake during the night. Sleep as animals do, little piece by little piece…
Hope this will help you feel better in life !
Be inspired !