I am an insomniac. But not really.
Starting from my O’levels till the first year of my med-school I was a through and through insomniac. I would go days without getting more than an hour or two of shut eye and four to five hours of sleep was my max.
And while as a med student it should have been a blessing. it really wasn’t. on fact-like any insomniac would tell you-it sucked.
You are tired all the time, but you cant sleep. ” I need to sleep, but I cant for there are three thousand things clogging my mind, yet I am not fresh enough to study for it wont even retain, so I might as well just lie here and stare at the roof…” and on goes the monologue.
It was apparent that I needed to do something, make a change, go to a doctor-anything, to be honest-which would help me sleep. So I began asking around, began researching, for tips and tricks to help me. I came across the worst of them, the funniest, the creepiest-but in the midst of it all, I came across tricks that actually did help me. Here are six of the best of them.
1. Put it away.
I used to go to my bed as I would go to an island I was about to be stranded on. Prepared. My mobile charged, my laptop revved, with snacks on the bedside and the novel I was reading that week with me.
I had a ritual of blogging in bed followed by some Insta-ing and then I would read till the words blurred-but I couldn’t fall asleep even then. But once I had gotten the same tip from every direction, to “not to take my gadgets to the bed”, I finally gave it a try. I began by leaving my laptop in another room, so I wouldn’t be tempted to reach for it. Then I stopped taking my novels to bed and began the habit of putting my phone on charging cutting it off before I felt too drowsy. And it has helped. All of it. All the gadget use was interrupting my sleep patterns, and the continuous retinal excitement was not letting my brain shut off. But without the added stimuli, the sleep takes over more easily.
2. Cut off the caffeine.
No, I am not talking about decreasing your cups ( I haven’t much yet mastered the art of that), rather I am suggesting to avoid it later in the day-along with heavy dinners-right before you go to bed.
I try not to have anything that’s stimulating after 7pm (for me that includes coke and energy drinks too) and try not to go to bed with a full stomach, for both make sleeping harder and the former keeps my neuronal circuits too jittery for me to feel calm.
3. Take a soothing bath.
This is one of the few things that you should do before going to bed, but I used to do the opposite. However, the habit of bathing later in the day has helped me a lot. I don’t know if it is the warmth of childhood memories (being put into a warm ironed night dress after a long bath) or if it’s my tiring bathing routine, but either ways, it feels nice and relaxing getting into bed after a bath.
4. The bed is for relaxing.
We associate things with not just past memories, but the emotions we were undergoing when we were interacting with them or when we were in particular environment. Prepare for exams enough in your bed, and it stops being inviting despite its soft warmth. Instead it entices tension in you. Stay lying awake thinking through your problems, and anxiety will become your most frequent bed partner. So next time, you are thinking through something hard, preparing for a test or just fighting off a bad mood, this is another reason why you shouldn’t take any of it to bed. Your bed is just for relaxing, let it stay so in your subconscious.
5. Keep the clocks away.
Staring at the time or checking it every ten minutes isn’t going to be any help, rather it will make it all worse. It does for me, for it is either too late and it seems pointless to sleep then or it is too early and sleeping then seems ‘childish’.
6. Tailor you therapy.
Some things work for you, some don’t. So you need to ensure the final therapy is specific for you. For me a welcoming environment grew essential and I looked to through the rooms of my favorite get away for inspiration. I got bedding that was comfortable, easy on the eyes and tugged at my heart (and which I always spritz with me favorite perfume). I added some lighting that reminded my of the said rooms and added some scented candles (aroma therapy is the best) which are just brilliant to wake up to. And lastly? I try and go to bed happy, which works like magic.