Self Care June 26, 2020

Dealing with insomnia

Potatobucket

Hey guys,

It is currently 2:50am here and as you could tell by my title I have insomnia!! I have tried so many different methods such as: tea, staying up all night, waking up early, melatonin & what not but my insomnia been so bad for the past weeks or maybe even month!

Any useful tip or trick that helps you when you have insomnia?

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    The first thing to say is everyone is different. A lot of advise just won't work for you but will work for others. I'm saying that as I've spent 15 years with sleep issues and I've not found anything that quite works all the time.

    I first try and work out:

    • How much sleep you need - I've found I need 5-6 hours a night to function normally. Any of my sleep decisions I base around that. I don't try and go to bed at 9pm (and wake at 9am) as that's just not going to happen
    • Why you can't sleep - Not just on a certain night but a general reason. For example people often have self doubt with old situations they focus on or can't sleep due to stress. I personally always try and 'fix' things so most of the time I can't sleep it's because my mind is racing with new ideas and trying to solve issues. The issues range from things in my personal life to some code I've been writing.

    Then it's all about trying to get a routine and trying to combat why you can't sleep (not always directly). For things like stress this can be hard to do but you want to work out the underlying issues.

    • Stop trying to think you need to be productive 24/7 - I've always thought working hard for as long as possible will fix everything but it's OK not to be going at 100% all the time. I still often think "Hey I've been lying here trying to sleep for 2 hours, I could have been doing productive things in this time". Try not to think like that as honestly you probably won't have been as productive as you think at 4am half asleep. It's OK you are not working, relax. (I've not mastered this one yet)
    • Try and get up at a certain time no matter how much sleep you have had - This is hard but I
      try and never let myself get up after 9am. Even if I didn't fall asleep until 7am. This starts the base of a routine. If you have a full time job you are doing this anyway.
    • Don't do anything in your bedroom / on your bed except sleep (and other 'extracurricular' activities...) when possible - This means no TV, video games, laptop time etc. It helps to separate in your mind that bed is for sleeping and helps you brain disengage when in bed. The perception of your bed environmental should be it's for sleeping.
    • Get out the house / exercise - I just do a little after I have woken up, before I start doing any work. I use app called
      Loop Habit Tracker
      to track it and force myself to do it
    • Try and get less screen time before bed - This is not just about trying to cut out blue light etc as for me it didn't make a difference when I turned on night shift on my laptop. It is all about trying to turn my brain off work mode / problem solving mode. I always try and do something that chills me out with a few mind numbing chores. For example do the washing up and listen to an audio book. It helps you relax and feel good about getting a job done.
    • Minimise lights - I'm not sure if this one is working but I try not to use the main lights later at night. Turn on a lamp or side lights to keep everything low
    • Get some plants - this sounds odd but it makes my flat feel less 'harsh' and it's honestly removed some stress and helped me relax a little over time. No idea why.
    • Talk to people - If stress is getting you talk to other people about it
    • Attack your issues during the day - Work out why you can't sleep, confront it and have a few hours in a day going at the issue. If it's stress then work out the underlying cause and hit it
    • Lists, lists, lists - Get things out of your head and onto paper and / or a notes app. Try to keep as little in your head as possible before going to bed
    • Realise this takes work - I've been trying different techniques for years and my sleep quality seems to go in cycles. This isn't a quick fix, there is no magic bullet and it's all on your to fix by make changes.

    My sleeping has been terrible in lockdown / covid-19 times as well. I'm quite a social person and I'm actually starting to think my brain needs social interaction to relax and tire itself out. This isn't really a point, just something I often think about.

    I feel like I've missed a load of bits but can't think of them right now. I hope some of that helps in some way

    1. 1

      Waow this is beyond amazing!! Thank you so much for these helpful tips & tricks, I appreciate it. I hope you fix yours as well, best of luck

      1. 1

        A little late to reply but happy to try and help. Keep working on it dude 👍