Do you feel sleepy but can’t sleep? Don’t worry, you are not the only one facing this. It is believed that almost one-fourth of the urban population suffers from sleep-related disorders. But, not all of them raise the issue with any medical practitioners. And, only those who do, are termed as insomniacs!
Don’t be afraid of this term. It is not even a serious medical or psychological problem, while you would have been told otherwise.
There are various causes of this problem. At times, to cure it, you just need to eliminate the causes. While most of the times, you may just need to make some simple lifestyle changes to deal with this problem and make your life better.
As one myself, I can always empathize with fellow insomniacs. And, I have lived with this issue for years now. I tried various remedies to be able to sleep well. So, just wanted to share the ones that worked for me. Though I do believe that everyone can have a different way of dealing with it.
The first and foremost reason for not being able to sleep is that your mind is constantly thinking. As soon as I close my eyes in an attempt to induce sleep, my mind gets cluttered with thoughts. These range from what I should be doing tomorrow to even what better I could have done in my work today! And, no matter how hard I try, I am not able to sleep.
No, it is not an illness. Some minds are more active compared to others. Moreover, this may or may not have been caused due to stress.
The best way to manage a hyperactive mind is to avoid distraction while you are trying to sleep. Well, it is easy to say, but hard to practice when the mind is hyperactive.
But, the practice of deep breathing, developed through Pranayam, is one of the only things that has helped me in clearing my mind of the unwanted thoughts when I am trying to sleep. You can also try it!
The thought process is a vicious circle. When your mind is filled with thoughts all the time, you feel stressed. You keep thinking about the same issues over and over again. And, it usually doesn’t solve any problems but increases them.
The cycle continues. And, while you are busy in the day-time, you can still divert your mind to other things; but the same annoying thoughts cloud your mind again when you are lying on your bed, and trying to sleep.
I am sure most of us can relate to this. But, what is the solution?
Well, it’s simple. Break your thought cycle by practicing meditation. Meditation has nothing to do with any religion. It is just a practice of relaxing your mind and diverting it to something calm.
If you are spiritual, you can read the religious books for diverting your mind from the stressful thoughts. And, if you don’t want to do that, simply do some breathing exercises.
Any daily workout routine helps to manage your metabolism. Though I never recommend vigorous exercises, it is important to do any simple ones, but daily. Even ten minutes walk daily is good for the body.
A healthy body keeps the mind calm and improves your sleep.
Now, this is a critical issue as you do not want to change your food habits. But, sleep disorders are caused and worsened by irregular eating habits.
I am not into smoking or drinking alcohol. So, as a teetotaller, what was wrong with my food habits that could have worsened the sleeplessness? I learned it the hard way.
But, finally, there is something that did help me. Well, I reduced the consumption of tea or coffee to the minimum. I just have a small cup of tea, once in the morning with breakfast. And then I completely avoid taking any of these drinks throughout the day.
And, did that help? Of Course, it did! Tea and coffee are largely used by students and professionals to keep their minds active. This is because these drinks affect sleep! Everybody has his own response to these. And for some, the effect is so pronounced that even a single cup of tea or coffee in the afternoon or evening can alter the sleep pattern for hours. It is particularly so when you consume tea or coffee at night, as the effect might last whole night and wouldn’t let you sleep at all.
Similar is the case with chocolates! I know you are shocked to read this. But, chocolates also give a kick to my mind and so I have reduced the intake.
But then, as a water-totaller, what do I have if I don’t consume hard drinks and tea, or even coffee? Well, I tried some lemon juice in water. Depending on your sodium and sugar needs, you can add these to your lemon water. But, make sure that the mix is mild. Just half teaspoon of lemon juice in a glass of water is usually enough!
Also, have enough water throughout the day. And, to prevent dehydration, do take enough electrolytes!
Regulating your meals and taking them on time is a simple and good way to improve your sleep patterns.
Music & Reading
I know many of the insomniacs are fond of reading. They believe that reading helps in inducing sleep. To some, it definitely does! But, you must not read very engaging material that could further activate your thought cycle.
I am more fond of listening to music. But, I make sure that the music is soft. It is better to listen to instrumental before going to sleep as lyrics can also trigger your thought cycle!
Winding it up!
Getting a night of good sleep is the path to great health in later years of life. But, not everyone enjoys this privilege.
Instead of just cribbing and nagging over your sleep patterns, you must do sincere efforts to reduce the problem. Yes, it does involve implementing some change in your lifestyle. But, why not, if these simple things can make your life better?
I have suggested some solutions that worked for me. Do share in the comments if you also have ideas that can help!