We’ve all had those nights where we’ve tossed and turned for hours, and it’s apparent sleep just isn’t coming. It’s easy just to lay there and be angry, which will only make sleep more elusive. On nights like these, it’s ok to admit defeat! Sometimes, that admission, along with a change of scenery to a couch or favorite reclining chair, can be the ticket to finally falling asleep.
If you can’t sleep due to snoring, the room being too warm, or some other factor, try sleeping on your couch or a favorite chair. Bring along a book with a light and try reading for a few minutes to wind down your mind.
As discussed above in the television item, sleep therapists recommend only using your bedroom for sleeping and sexual activity. Anything else desensitizes you to the relaxing nature of the space and makes sleep less and less of a foregone conclusion.
As much as possible, try to avoid reading, doing makeup, or spending too much time on any other activity in your bedroom. You want the space to be strongly associated with sleep and only sleep, so as soon as you enter the room, it becomes an important part of your power down routine.
As mentioned earlier, sleeping tends to be the result of a nightly routine full of chores like brushing teeth, taking out contact lenses, and more. Make this routine into a complete power down ritual by incorporating pleasant, relaxing elements like a cup of chamomile tea or spraying down your sheets with a bit of diluted lavender essential oil.
If you get into an easily recognizable routine that centers relaxation, sleep should ideally come much easier once you actually settle into bed. Be sure to avoid vigorous physical activity, agitating media, or conflict with others while powering down.
While this should be a no-brainer since we follow this advice with our children, we so often fail to apply it to ourselves as adults. Everyone could benefit from a regular bedtime! Not only does that make it part of a routine, as discussed above in the powering down method, but your body knows when to expect sleep and gets into a steady rhythm.
While it may be possible to go to bed at 9 one night and 3 am the next as a college student, as we get older this is harder and harder on our bodies and that instability and unpredictability can wreak havoc on falling asleep and staying asleep.
Ah, if only a weekend sleep-in could make up for the sins of the workweek sleep. Sadly, it is physically impossible to “make up” for a shortage of sleep one night by oversleeping another night. In fact, oversleeping on the weekends can significantly increase the likelihood of insomnia when Monday rolls around, and you overslept on Sunday and can’t fall asleep.
Even though it’s no fun, try to maintain a waking time within an hour of your usual weekday wake-up time. Any more deviation than that and you run the risk of weekday insomnia without gaining any real health benefit from the sleeping in later.
St. John’s Wort, known by the scientific name Hypericum perforatum, is a popular herbal remedy widely used for depression, anxiety, and sleeping issues. St. John’s Wort is a flowering perennial that is indigenous to Europe where it is commonly regarded as an invasive weed. It now grows throughout much of the world.
While St. John’s Wort is widely used by herbalists, it can interact with many medicines, including SSRIs. It can also cause allergies, particularly in people with other flower or hay fever type allergies. As with all herbs, you should talk to your doctor before taking an herbal supplement.