For me, the cure for insomnia is one or a combination of the following:
· When I’m on assignment, I get up at 5:30 a.m., so by the time 11:00 p.m. comes around, I fall into bed and I’m asleep seconds after my head hits the pillow.
· When I’m not working I go to bed when I feel like it. Whether it's 1:00, 2:00 or even 3:00 a.m., if I don’t have to get up in the morning, who cares when I hit the hay?
· The trickiest night is the night before I start a new assignment. After going to bed in the wee hours of the morning, I suddenly have to turn in around 11:00 p.m. and that can be problematic. But I’ve got that covered.
· For starters, I go bowl a few games. There’s nothing like swinging a heavy ball, trying to knock down 10 stubborn pins to get you ready for a good night sleep. The game is both energizing and relaxing at the same time.
· Due to lack of a car, the walk home from the bowling alley is beneficial too. It provides me with more exercise and fresh air.
· Back home I take a warm shower with lavender scented shower gel.
· Fifteen minutes before going to bed, I switch off the TV and shut down the computer. Time to give my overactive mind a break.
· During this quiet time, I eat a tub of yogurt. Yogurt contains tryptophan, an amino acid your body uses to produce serotonin and melatonin, both of which your brain uses to induce sleep.
· In bed I read a few pages of a book. Usually it’s a biography of some sort, but I like a good murder now and then too.
· Last but not least, I play whale songs via a docking station. I read online that while listening to whale songs, most people fall asleep within 15 minutes. And it’s true, these whale songs are so relaxing, you’re off in no time.
Then again, just like people, some whales are better singers than others. There are various kinds of ‘songs’ and while one can be relaxing, another can be downright creepy (like something that wouldn’t be out of place in a horror movie).
I also have bird songs, but those upset the cats too much. One or several of the cats usually sleep with me, and while they are used to the birdies now, the first time those tjirpers filled the air, they were immediately on high alert.
One minute they were sleeping, the next they were on all four, their tails swishing, their heads moving from side to side. It was as if they were silently communicating … ‘What was that?’ … ‘Did you hear that? … ‘There’s a bird in here’ … ‘A bird? Try several birds!’
They jumped off the bed and did a little investigating. They looked under the bed, behind the cabinets, on the windowsill … finding nothing of course, but they were still looking at each other like … ‘Where are those freaking birds?’
Of course, after a while they gave up. My cats are well fed and like to take things easy, so eventually they reasoned … ‘Oh who the heck cares’, jumped back on the bed and went to sleep.
Sleeping with cats has its benefits too. The warmth of their bodies, combined with their soft purring is rather relaxing. Except for Chanel. While Chanel has a very nice purr, once asleep she snores like a pig.
Anyway, back to insomnia.
If none of the above helps you sleep, there still a few other things you can do.
Don’t toss and turn, but get out of bed. Not only can you stretch your legs, you’re giving your mind a chance to relax by no longer stressing about falling asleep.
Once back between the sheets, don’t think of falling asleep but about staying awake. Keep your eyes open, listen to your breathing and will yourself not to drift off. It won’t be long before your eyes are getting heavy and you’re off to dreamland.