How can I Overcome Insomnia?
Insomnia can create a vicious cycle. Stress can cause a lack of sleep, and the inability to sleep can make that stress even worse. Now that we know the benefits of getting a good night's sleep, we can talk about how to break that cycle and get to sleep. Stress-reducing techniques can help get our minds and bodies ready to sleep – and get the rest we need.
Below are self-calming exercises to use during the day to help relieve stress so our minds will be clear at night. You will also find other techniques to implement shortly before bed to make it easier for your head to hit the pillow and be ready for a full night's rest.
This paced breathing exercise is designed to help you move out of a stressful, emotional state and into a calmer, more balanced state. Research shows that generating positive, emotional states creates emotional changes, increased access to intuition and creativity, cognitive and performance improvement and favorable changes in hormonal balance.
Here's how to do it:
- Slow your breathing rate to 5-7 breaths per minute by breathing in and out for 5 counts
- Try to focus on people, places or activities that you love and appreciate
- As you think about these people, places and activities, make sure you focus on the feeling of love, happiness and appreciation
When having trouble falling asleep, stress can begin to mount. Our brains start thinking about the consequences of not sleeping and our muscles start to tense up. By using progressive muscle relaxation, we focus on easing tension in specific muscles and making it a whole lot easier to drift off. Listen to audio of a progressive muscle relaxation walk-through to help ease tension and fall asleep more quickly.
Create a healthy bedtime routine that starts an hour before going to bed. Try including things like avoiding caffeine at night and turning off blue screens like cell phones, tablets and laptops.
Download our sample sleep schedule to get an idea of how building a nightly routine can make it easier to fall asleep at night and avoid the stresses of insomnia.
One of the things that can keep you from falling asleep is thinking of all the things you have to do the next day or the fact that you just can't seem to fall asleep. To help stop your mind from wandering, listen to our Moving Into Stillness meditation exercise as you go to bed. It will help you be more in the moment, rid your mind of stressors you've experienced throughout the day and be more aware of your body as you drift off into sleep.