5 Steps to fight insomnia and get a better night sleep

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I used to spend hours every night trying to fall asleep and stay asleep. I would finally drift off only to suddenly wake up for no apparent reason. And this is when they come, at night, when it’s quiet and I’m all alone.The thoughts, the worst memories of my life, the important to do lists ( that are really not important at all). The night is spent battling a constant stream of repetitive thoughts. Till once again, the sun starts to rise and I hear little feet marching down the hall to my door. “Mommy, I’m awake, it’s morning!”


“Hell is repetition.”
-Andre Linoge ( Storm of the Century by Stephen King)

If you can’t sleep at night, you’re not alone. According to the Sleep Health Foundation, one in three people experiences some form of insomnia throughout their lifespan. Also, women are more susceptible to suffer from insomnia than men. Insomnia can cause various medical issues such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression, irritability, anxiety, fatigue and in general feeling like shit every day. Sleep is an essential part of life, and we need to be taking it seriously.

Insomnia is a topic that is close to my heart; it’s something I’ve struggled with for what feels like an eternity. It is a disorder that affected almost every aspect of my life. My insomnia started after my first-born four years ago. I tried it all, warm milk, sleepy tea, essential oils, valerian root, melatonin, over the counter sleeping pills, prescriptions, so many prescriptions without any resolve. If you suffer from insomnia then you know exactly what I mean. You will try anything to get a good night sleep.Therefore, I’m going to share some of the products that actually helped me along the way and that I still use till this day because I love them so much.

I use a white noise machine to drown out noise because I swear I have superhero hearing when I “sleep”. I use the Dohm and love it so much I bought another one

I invested in blackout blinds, they were an investment but well worth it. This was a must for me and I don’t regret it!

I use earplugs when my husband is home to drown out his relentless snoring. You’ll need a good pair too if your partner snores like mine.These are by far the best ones that I have ever tried

I read before bed to keep my mind focused until I feel sleepy. If I wake up, then I read some more till sleepy again. Please don’t use a lighted digital device, either an old-fashioned book or an e-reader that has no backlight. I use a special light for night reading because I can’t stand having a table lamp. Like this one

I bought a Nature Bright SunTouch Light, which is a light that is equivalent to the blue skylight in the North Pole. This light is supposed to improve your mood, energy, and sleep. I’m not sure that it helped me sleep, but it made me feel more energized in the morning after an especially long night. This is the one I purchased over a year ago and I love it!

And now for the 5 Steps to fight insomnia and a better night sleep.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It’s a program that helps you identify and shift your thoughts and behaviors that cause or worsen sleep problems so basically being aware of and controlling your thoughts. I will give you a quick break down of each step for you below!

  1. Stimulus control – keep a consistent bedtime and wake time, avoid naps during the day, use your bed for sleep and sex only and if you can’t sleep, get out of bed until your sleepy again.
  2. Sleep restrictions – lying in bed awake can cause poor sleeping habits. Therefore this treatment reduces the time you spend in bed inducing partial sleep deprivation which makes you more tired the next night. Once your sleep has improved, your time in bed will gradually increase.
  3. Sleep hygiene – change essential lifestyle habits that influence rest such as smoking, consuming alcohol or too much coffee or not enough exercise.
  4. Sleep environment improvement – create a comfortable sleep environment for yourself such as keeping your bedroom quiet, dark and cool, no tv or clock.
  5. Relaxation training – Learning to calm your mind and body by including meditation, muscle relaxation or visualization.

If going to a therapist isn’t your thing (it’s not mine, so I did research on my own), there are books worth trying out. I have no recommendations for you, but I found this online for your reference

Or search the net or try an online program.You can search YouTube for guided meditation, or there are numerous apps as well. Guided meditation helps alleviate worries and keeps you’re mind focused elsewhere.

Muscle Relaxation – Start by taking a few slow, deep breaths. Then slowly relax each muscle starting from your head and face all the way down to your toes. I do this every night as part of my bedtime routine because I find my muscles are always tense.

“The 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise”
Exhale through your mouth, inhale through your nose for four seconds
Hold your breath for seven seconds
Exhale for a count of eight seconds
This process equals one breath. Repeat the circuit three more times
This process produces a calming effect on the body. The mindfulness technique helps you to take control of your mind and to change it from a worried, negative state to a calm, peaceful state.

You need to focus your attention on the present moment; be aware and acknowledge your thoughts, feelings, emotions and physical sensations and then shift your focus to relaxing state. I try to rest my whole body with muscle relaxation and think of positive aspects of my life or a beautiful beach with soft white sand, a calm crystal clear ocean, the sun gleaming of the soft ripples of water, anyways you get right?! When my mind starts to travel off course, I steer it back to that peaceful place in my mind and keep it there till sweet darkness takes over.

CBT is meant to address the underlying causes of insomnia rather than just relieving the symptoms. I wish I had tried CBT before going to the doctor to be put on numerous different medications from sleeping pills to several antidepressants. It wasn’t until my doctor wanted to put me on benzodiazepines that I started to take control of my life with CBT. I genuinely hope this helps someone out there as it did with me. I’m not going to say my sleep is 100% perfect all the time, but it is much better now that I am aware of my thoughts.

Do you lie awake all night? Have you tried CBT? If so let me know if it helped you!

This site may contain affiliate links in which I may or may not receive a fee, but I want you to know that any product that I recommend is because I’ve tried it,  love it and hope it helps someone else out there.

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