Hello to all the night owls in the room, can I get a ‘twit twoo’?
Recently I have had real trouble sleeping, to the point where managing to go to sleep before 3 am is an early night. It’s bad, I know. The worst part is that I don’t even feel tired and when needs be I can get up and start my day on 3, 4, hours sleep and function relatively normally, even if I feel like I have no soul. Then, when I get home, I still can’t get to sleep before midnight, even if I lay there in the dark trying… or not trying, as I am always told not to if I want to fall asleep.
After several weeks of bad sleeping habits, I have discovered some of the worst things to do, for me especially, when I am trying to go to sleep:
Do not, I repeat DO NOT, allow yourself to get sucked into the youtube void. In fact, turn off the computer completely. If you find yourself starting to tap that youtube app on your phone or tablet, or start to type the address into your browser, ABORT, ABORT, ABORT! Watching short videos that you constantly are scrolling and flicking through is far too stimulating when you are trying to get your brain to chill… even the funny cat videos are too much!
2. Listening to your favourite song/artist/album.
For me, this usually consists of cast recordings from musicals, but listening to it gets me pumped and wanting to sing or dance. If you want to listen to something try calming music or sounds, or something that always helps me is listening to an audiobook.
3. Bingey TV.
DO NOT watch something you can easily start to binge watch. I understand the want/need to watch something to try and get your brain to relax. I do it all the time with films when I am feeling sleepy but can’t switch off. I find watching a film I enjoy, but have seen so many times I know it off by heart, is a good thing to look at. It is enough to occupy your brain away from any lingering thoughts or worries but not engaging enough for you to need to concentrate and follow it.
4. Start a new book.
Sometimes, watching something or sitting on the computer are too stimulating and just makes things worse, so reading a book is the next best option for me. I find that it helps to relax me, make my eyes tired, and get me feeling sleepy. Recently, however, I started a new book that evening and I was up for hours reading it. Even if I can’t get into the book, I then have to find a book I can get into and enjoy… then end up sitting up and getting into it and enjoying it! Wait for the morning. Maybe re-read a book you have already read, just for the evening.
5. Allow yourself to overthink.
This is one of the worst things for me. I can settle myself, all ready for sleep, and then the little thought demons arrive and have me sitting up for hours worrying, over thinking and getting anxious. At this point I definitely do one of the following depending on how anxious or worried I am feeling:
– Put on a comforting film and focus all my energy and attention on that.
– Write everything that is worrying me down to get it off of my chest.
– Reason and reassure myself. Even just telling yourself, out loud, not to worry or that things are not as bad as your brain is making out, can be helpful sometimes.
– Listen to an audiobook. It almost drowns out the bad thoughts until you are in the right frame of mind to think about them clearly.
Have a hot drink (not something with caffeine though), maybe some toast if you can and are hungry, since trying to fall asleep hungry is the worst and I’ve heard carby stuff makes you sleepier than other food groups (believe that if you want to but toast is a tried and tested method for me!) Settle yourself, turn out the lights and try and relax your mind. It isn’t easy, but I find if I can clear my mind, or focus myself on something that will allow me to drift off, then falling asleep gets a little easier!
Sweet dreams everyone!