I have had difficulty sleeping throughout my life. My difficulties falling asleep are not physically or emotionally caused. My active mind simply wants to stay active during the night, even though I am tired and want to sleep. Sometimes, my mind just won’t quit. I know from my own experience how difficult it is to be awake and wanting sleep to come. Sometimes I am thinking about some past event that isn’t resolved. I can replay this event as if replaying the event will aid in the resolution. Perhaps you have done this. When worry keeps me awake in the night, it seems useless in solving any problem and by not sleeping it is difficult to be effective in my waking hours.
We all know that children fall asleep easier with a bedtime routine and a bedtime story. As an adult you may have forgotten the importance of turning off the lights of the mind by developing a routine to help you to unwind before you actually go into your bed.
You may know much of this information but it is helpful to review this from time to time and to review what your practices and activities are before climbing into bed.
1. 30 minutes (one hour is even better) before bedtime, I suggest turning off all Computer, phone, and/or TV devices. Experts believe that the light from these devices can hinder sleep.
2. Look around your bedroom, is it conducive to sleep? Notice the temperature, the amount of light, the colors and serenity of the room. Your space provides an invitation for the quality of inviting sleep to happen: shades or curtains that darken maybe helpful. Or, maybe an eye mask will help if there is light in your bedroom, or earplugs if there are sounds that disturb you in any way.
3. Wear bedclothes that are comfortably loose and nonrestrictive.
4. Sometimes it is necessary to have what’s called “White noise” playing softly in your room. These might be soothing sounds of falling rain or ocean waves. Soft music and dim lighting can also aid in setting the scene for a good night’s sleep.
5. It is best to limit activity in your bedroom to intimacy with your partner and sleep only.
What you are doing during the day is also important, but I would like to cover that in a future article.
Remember that worrying about inability to fall asleep doesn’t help you fall asleep. I invite you to think about the time spent in bed as restful time, whether you are sleeping or not.
Also, Search your smart phone for one of the breathing or sleep APPs available:
Room to Breathe Meditation or
Sleep Soundly in God’s Care (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.pauline.sleepsoundly)
Georgiana Lotfy, LMFT
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