Updated: Nov 11, 2021
Ever since I can remember I have dreaded going to bed. I used to say I wish I had a switch to turn off all my thoughts at night. It wasn’t so much the bed part I suppose but rather the dread of being alone with my own thoughts part. You know those people that can fall asleep once their head hits the pillow? Not me. Once I am down all the thoughts come flushing in. It doesn’t matter how physically exhausted I am - my mind has the power to keep me up for hours. Sometimes it is excitement, but often it is worry. Sometimes it’s anxiety but other times its just the caffeine. Sometimes it’s fear but occasionally it’s just noise. Regardless of what it may be, the struggle to find peace at night is a constant battle I’m learning to overcome. So in case you can relate, here are some ways to tackle your insomnia + create better sleeping habits to restore your peace and revive your soul.
Set a Bedtime
Bedtimes are not just for kids. Setting + keeping up with a bedtime every night will support lifestyle consistency + help create better sleeping habits overtime. Try setting a ”wind down” reminder prior to your bedtime if you have trouble staying accountable. Just like you set your alarm to get up in the morning (to make sure you are on time for work) or you schedule time for lunch in the afternoon (to make sure you have enough energy for the rest of the day), it’s just as important to schedule time out for sleep (to make sure you are mentally + physically restored for the days to come).
...says the coffee addict. Personally I went a month or so without coffee + guess what? I’ve never slept better in my entire life. Problem was that as much as I loved getting more sleep, I missed the simple enjoyment of coffee in the mornings. So if you are unable to ditch the caffeine all together like me, try limiting your daily dose to 1-2 cups a day. It also helps if you can avoid coffee after noon or later in the day so maybe try something other than caffeine if you’re in need for an afternoon pick-me-up.
Ditch the Screen
Although I’ve heard the lights may have something to do with keeping us up, I think the real issue is the unexpected distractions. Screentime is definitely a great way to avoid the things we should be doing (i.e. scrolling instead of sleeping) and what happens when you get a late night email from your boss with a list of to-dos? Or a friend texts you trying to make plans for the weekend? Stress, anxiety, excitement...anything but help the mind relax for the night. Try silencing your phone or simply leaving it in the other room once you are done for the night. Chances are, those emails and texts CAN wait for the morning. Sleep on the other hand can not.
Pray or Meditate
I’ve realized I’m that person who can have an amazing day but when I lay down at night, all I think about is the one negative thing that happened and how I’m going to fix it. Let me tell you, it’s not very relaxing. So for me, prayer has been a huge tool. Praying for my own peace of mind, praying for my family + friends, and praying for the world that we live in gives me a renewed sense of hope + comfort. It also provides a great distraction for the mind, similar to meditating. Focusing your thoughts on all that is good because staying up worrying is not going to change a thing (other than robbing you of much needed sleep)! If you have trouble controlling your thoughts at night, I suggest listening to soothing music/sounds or looking into an app such as Headspace for guided meditation + breathing exercises to help you wind down.
Other Tips to Try
From personal experience, I have found sleep masks to be very helpful in attempt to block out any surrounding light (fun fact: I sleep with a pillow over my head for this same reason), eating an early dinner to avoid digestion discomfort, reading or doing a puzzle, and recently was told if you don’t move for 30 minutes your body will fall just asleep. It’s hard to do but it really has worked!
Do you suffer from insomnia? How do you find peace at night?