Insomnia or sleeplessness is when someone has trouble sleeping. It might be hard to fall to sleep, or maybe waking up in the middle of the night and not able to get back to sleep.
I have always loved my sleep, never have I had trouble falling asleep at night (unless I’ve had too much to drink) and never had issues waking up through the night. That is until December 2018 when I got the keys for my new studio…. Since getting those keys I’ve had 2-3 sleepless nights every single week, 2-3 sleepless nights for over 12 months.
You might be thinking what the hell, a yoga teacher who can’t sleep, she should be zen and at peace all the time… wrong, I feel stress and anxiety just as much as the next person, the only different is I have the correct toolkit, to help with those feelings and emotions. I have spent the last year experimenting on my insomnia evenings and I think I’ve just cracked it!!!
Staying up later than your usual bedtime
I’ve tried this one several times, you can ask Adam how annoyed her gets when I’ve got myself out of bed at 2am to go watch tv to try and tire myself out. This one doesn’t work. I’ve seen 5am a few times trying out this.
Chamomile tea has been around and used for thousands of years, used as a herbal remedy for insomnia. The theory behind this is that chamomile can fight the unwanted feelings of anxiety and depression which go hand in hand with insomnia, it is also a great solution for upset stomachs, and can aid digestion, another reason for insomnia.
I’m not going to lie, I really don’t like the taste chamomile, I bought it, drank a few cups, and really didn’t enjoy it. I love a proper cup of English breakfast tea, so I’ve switched my tea to decaf. I only have caffeinated tea first thing in the morning, and the rest of the day is decaf. I’m not a coffee drinker, but if you prefer coffee maybe switch to decaf.
Over the counter sleeping pills
I’ve tried night nurse and sleepeeze, and yes, they make you sleep, but why would you want to put a pill in your body every night just to get some sleep?! I’ve resorted to these only in the worst times when I am beside myself and so upset because I’m physically and mentally shattered.
I don’t think sleeping pills should be the answer to insomnia, all the warnings say not to use them for longer than 3 days in a row as they are highly addictive.
We’ve all been there after a big night out or a few glasses of wine at dinner, you feel sleepy and usually fall asleep as soon as your head touches the pillow. Alcohol is not an insomnia cure; it does the opposite to your body as it is a stimulant.
I rarely drink alcohol now, but on the times I do I usually wake up in the middle of the night and get a disturbed sleep.
Consuming alcohol to get to sleep won’t help.
Bedtime yoga is great for relaxing and calming down after a long day, it will also help with digestion and getting you into the right frame of mind to sleep.
Restorative Yoga or something gentle like Yin can aid this relaxation response that we all trying to find before bed. Try to stick to passive postures, set a timer for up to 10 minutes in each pose so you don’t stay in too long. Use pillows, blankets, dim the lights, burn essential oils like lavender or clary sage and cover up the eyes with an eye mask, eye pillow or flannel. Try to make bedtime yoga part of you nightly routine.
This works, 100%. However, we lead such busy lives, and we have so much to do on an evening, getting this down time before bed is hard to get used to. Try doing it once per week, and then start to practice a little more frequently.
We breathe all the time, but when do you stop to notice and bring awareness to the breath?
Focus all of your attention to the nose and the nostrils and become aware of the cool air coming through the nose on the inhale, follow the air as it moves down the throat, into the lungs and chest and all the way down into the stomach. Then feel the air move back out through the body, bringing warmth to the nose. You can add a count if your mind is prone to wondering. Count 7 on the inhale and 7 on the exhale.
Connecting and concentrating on your breath instantly brings a state of calm to the body, it also keeps your mind occupied, and as insomnia is quite often brought on by over thinking then this is a great technique to adopt.
I downloaded Calm over 2 years ago as there are daily mediations and music on there which go hand in hand with teaching yoga. The great thing is a about Calm which I love, is Sleep stories.
As a child who didn’t love a story before bed, I know I did, and even at 33 when I go home over Christmas I always ask my dad to read me a story, haha not that he ever does.
Calm, owns hundreds of sleep stories just for adults. They are between 15minutes and an hour in length, and most nights I never hear the end of the story as I’m already snoozing away. There are non-fictional stories about our solar system and the constellations and fictional stories about giants, and glass slippers and even sleep mediations that you can listen to which help you concentrate on your breath and your body, as you gently fall asleep.
There are lots of other apps out there, which I’m sure are great but I’ve only ever used Calm.
I’ve just started taking this and wow what a difference, less anxiety, less over thinking and more concentrating on the task I’m doing. Since taking CBD oil I’ve had no insomnia 😊
You can read up on benefit of CBD oil here https://cbd.co.uk/
Get into a bedtime routine
We have a tendency to have a routine for the mornings; wake up, breakfast, shower, get ready, get kids ready/walk dog, pack car, go to work, but why don’t we do the same at night?
We want to be aiming for at least 7 hours of sleep every night, so your bedtime should reflect what time you’ll be getting up the next day.
In my 12 months of insomnia the routine is the best cure for insomnia (and CBD oil).
I know so many of you suffer form insomnia, it’s one of those things that never gets spoken about, but I know what you’re going through and how frustrated you must be. I hope that I’ve given you some ideas to get you back into great sleep habits, and go easy on yourself, new routines take time.
Lots of love