Someone was dissing people who ask for advice on FB because of the flood of tips you’d get. So, whose advice do you take? How do you know what works best? Experience truly is the greatest teacher and so we each share what has worked - for us. That said, my take on insomnia is mostly experiential, but with a generous sprinkling of professional expertise. I’ll start with this quote:
“You cannot separate the mind from the body.
And you cannot separate the individual from the environment.”
Dr. Gabor Maté on YouTube
I learned, after a yearlong illness, that symptoms are not just features of disease, they are a message from my body. She’s speaking to me. I learned that my body was talking to me, had been for years. I hadn’t been listening was not even aware, and now she was screaming. I needed to stop everything and listen to her. Ask her questions, check in with her always, see how she’s doing. She's your first "child".
Insomnia (chronic sleeplessness or inability to sleep) is a symptom that’s telling us something. It’s showing me that something needs to stop, change, or go. I’d say to first tune inward and ask your body, what’s the matter, what do you need? And then listen and do. I say this because we all have tips about what works for us. Keywords: ‘for us’ meaning it may/may not work for you. We’re all different. So, when deciding which of the tons of advice to choose from I’d say go with your gut, do what your body says.
In addition to what you sense you need, here are a few tips that have worked for me. These moves (action steps) involve the whole “system”, (you, your body, mind, environment, food, people, etc). Some may work instantly but most take effect over time.
1. Practice Clean Eating: think healthy food, non-processed food especially meat, high-fiber, greens, juicing, smoothies, etc. If this feels overwhelming start with just one thing, change 1 food item. Build from there.
2. Choose Natural Products: organic cosmetics, hair care, home care (cleaning agents, laundry detergent, dishwasher.
3. Use Essential Oils: Roman chamomile tops the list of oils that support sleep. Years ago, I struggled with insomnia from chronic stress after trauma, I used to wear a diffuser necklace containing chamomile & vetiver essential oils, it helped me cope at work. At home, I would diffuse chamomile, and even added chamomile in my homemade body butter. Other oils that promote sleep are lavender and bergamot. doTerra has a beautiful restful blend called Serenity® oil. I highly recommend it.
4. Take Water-based Drinks: herbal teas, warm water, non-dairy milk/substitutes like Almond milk, Oat drink, etc. Please note that some herbal teas cause nausea for some people, certain brands of chamomile may cause headaches in others. Yogi teas ( I usually get mine from iHerb) especially Bedtime , Chamomile, Soothing Caramel Bedtime, & Honey Lavender Stress Relief are great staples! BarleyCup is a great substitute too & it works.)
5. Choose Ease: be intentional about replacing anything that stresses you with easier options. Believe, there’s a key to every door. There’s always an easier way to do stuff. Find it.
6. Move, Sis Move: dance when you wake up in the morning, avoid sitting for long periods, stand up at your desk, walk, cycle, swim, jog. Use productivity apps to help remind you to move sis, Move!
7. Nurture Sleepy Habits: bring a cozy, sleep-inviting ambience to your space. Use soft dimmable lighting after 6 PM (turn off fluorescent/LEDs), use colored bulbs LEDs or halogen in bedrooms and bathrooms. Play ambient music (nature sounds like rain or waterfalls, sleep meditations (my older son loves Abide Meditations), keep regular sleep/wake times, avoid screen time 2 h before bedtime, and install protectors on computers to reduce blue light (I use f.lux).
This is a lot but most of us will see great improvement with just 1-2 forward moves. Plus, self-care in one area often has a domino effect on other areas. If that isn’t incentive to take one small step …
Let me know what tips you use and do share what sleep tips have worked for you.