It’s one of the worst feelings in the world; tossing and turning in bed, watching as the red glowy numbers tick by. You’ve tried it all – counting sheep, taking a hot bath, drinking warm milk – and for yet another night you find yourself unable to shut your body and mind off.
I used to suffer from insomnia. I would not be able to fall asleep and then stress about not being able to fall asleep, which made me not able to fall asleep. It was a vicious, frustrating cycle that I finally broke free from. I sleep solidly every single night now and even have turned my night owl tendencies to waking up early, refreshed, motivated and productive. I did this all using natural methods, no prescription medicines or even the ever popular Melatonin supplement. Here are eight things I do to help ensure that I get a good night’s sleep every single night. I don’t even remember the last time I had insomnia.
1. Get on a Schedule
Try going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. When I was a new mom, I put my baby on an eat, play sleep schedule as soon as she was old enough. She began sleeping through the night at six weeks. So why not an adult? I used to sleep in until 10 or 11 on weekends and then wonder why my body rebelled when trying to go to bed early Sunday night, so I’d be ready for work at 7 am the next day. Now, my body tells me I’m tired at about 10:20 every night and I try to make it into bed by 10:30 pm on weekdays; 11:00 pm on weekends. My alarm wakes me up at 5:45 am every day, though if I allowed myself, I could sleep till about 7 am (which tells me I should probably add an additional hour in there).
2. No Caffeine
The funny thing about getting enough sleep (and eating properly) means you have enough energy to sustain you throughout the day. This means you don’t need caffeine to wake you up in the mornings or to keep you going at around 2 pm every day. I was never really a fan of coffee, but I used to be addicted to Dr. Pepper for the sugar and the caffeine right about the 1:00 hour. My body has always been super sensitive to caffeine, and so I would find myself wide-eyed at 11 pm. If you must, drink your caffeine before 1 or 2 pm to give your body enough time to process it.
3. Drink Magnesium
We’ve depleted most of the minerals in our soil and food. One mineral that is very important that most everyone is lacking is Magnesium. Magnesium helps your body function optimally – from your heart to your bones. Every night, as part of my bedtime ritual (which includes a shower, some reading, maybe a TV show), I drink a cup of Natural Calm Magnesium. It’s warm and relaxing and gets me ready for a restful sleep.
4. Turn Off All Electronics
The light emitting from our phones, TVs, laptops, and tablets could actually be contributing to our inability to fall asleep. The devices stimulates your brain and signals the body that it’s not time to sleep yet. I’m terrible at following this rule, but I have found that the less I am on electronics about an hour before bed, the quicker I fall asleep and the more quality sleep I get.
5. Get Some Curtains
I used to think I was weird because I needed total darkness and silence when I went to bed. But actually even though your eyes are shut, your skin still can sense light. Studies have shown that even having the glow of an alarm clock can disturb sleep. The moon and sun shining brightly into your window can be the cause of your insomnia, so invest in nice, dark curtains to keep your room light free.
6. Get Some
I’m just gonna come out and say it; sex can put you in a very relaxed state, which of course, helps you sleep. So if you can get some, do it! (pun intended).
I love exercising in the morning. It wakes me up and gets the task out of the way, so I don’t have to think about it again that day. Some people like to exercise right before bed. Exercising raises your body temperature. Your body temperature needs to be lower to get drowsy. If your schedule only allows you to exercise at night, try something relaxing like yoga or barre, but try to do it a few hours before bedtime.
For an awesome yoga class, check out Yoga Shakti
For an awesome barre class, check out Xtend Barre Seal Beach
8. Stress Less
Easier said than done, right? Find ways to quiet that mind of all the things you have to do tomorrow or have to worry about. For me, it helps to write out my schedule for the next day the night before, journal and then stop thinking about it. If there is a lot on my mind, I’ll get up and write it out – whatever I am thinking about. Also, I work on my breathing. I’m not great at meditating, but when I feel stressed or am trying to relax, I make sure I stop, breathe deep, hold my breath for a few seconds, and exhale completely. I do this a few times to center myself and become more aware in the moment. Often I do this right before I close my eyes and drift off.
Beating insomnia was accidental for me. As I began to pick up better habits, make healthy choices and become more aware of myself, I found that soon I was sleeping peacefully, like a baby.
What is something you do to help you sleep better? Comment below. I’d love to hear from you!
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