From Counting Sheep....
With so many of us struggling to fall asleep or even to stay asleep, whether this is due to mental or physical problems, I can empathise.
I’m not a medical expert in any shape or form, but here are my top tips which I turn to when the insomnia kicks in.
As I continue to look for ways to help us fall asleep, I’ll share them with you and look forward to your thoughts and comments!
Try to stay awake
That’s right – try to stay awake. Think about all the times that you want to fall asleep, you stay awake, right? On the other hand, trying to stay awake often sends you into the sweetest slumber.
It’s all about reverse psychology. Tell your brain that you can’t have something, and it often reacts in a surprising way. An article from the Business Insider website corroborates this phenomenon: Tell me about Staying Awake
Take a hike
Not literally. This was one of my mother’s go-to sleep solutions.
Think about a lovely walk that you’ve done – was it on holiday, is it a favourite dog walk, or simply going somewhere familiar? Take yourself there in your mind and take time to recall small details en route, savour any memories and think about the happiness that awaits at your destination. Try and imagine the sunlight dappling through trees, the sound of your feet on a rocky path, the squelch of mud as the dog gallops past you. Are you with someone else, or on your own? Is it warm or cold? Can you smell fresh mown grass on a cricket pitch? Coffee brewing at your local cafe? Wet dog?
Once you get into the detail, you will naturally relax as your mind narrows in on what you want it to focus on. Surround yourself in a warm glow of positive thoughts, and you’ll probably find that you fall asleep before you even get there.
Relax your muscles
Lying down is supposed to be comfortable, but if you are like me, suffering from daily lower back pain, you may find that bed is not the relaxing haven that it could or should be.
There are a huge amount of phone apps available, and I have recently turned to the Sleep Cycle Analysis app (no, I’m not on commission!) I find that the guided meditations are a great way to put myself into another world. Some of the dialogue is fru….strat…..ing…..ly…..sl….ooooow, but persevere and see if you can find one that works for you.
My current favourite is one that takes me through a muscle relaxation exercise – a combination of tensing muscle groups in turn, guided breathing and muscle releasing, led by the honey-voiced Kina Nyma. It is a 35 minute exercise which turns off automatically - I have never made it to the end - I always fall asleep.
Have a Knees Up
This last option is not meant to be a long-term solution, but is great for some short-term relief.
I find that putting a pillow or bolster underneath my knees just takes the pressure off my lower back.
This article from the University of Rochester really helps to explain the importance of sleep posture: Tell me about Sleep Posture
If you are in a Struggle to Snuggle, I hope that something here clicks for you and that you find yourself catching Z’s before too long.