I can only imagine... you're wide awake at 3am, on the Pinterest app, scouring the sleep boards for natural insomnia solutions. And how many pillows filled with weird substances have you bought over the years because the website promised it would "get rid of your insomnia forever!"
How many times have you been given a simple solution like "just stop drinking coffee", or "wear an eye mask that smells like lavender," or handed a CD of classical music (and a handful of good intentions) that "should put you right to sleep."
Are you tired of being given simple solutions to an enormous, troubling and exhausting issue?
THE PROBLEM STARTS WITH THE DEFINITION OF INSOMNIA
The current definition is difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, even when a person has the chance to do so.
Really? Pardon my language, but are you f'ing kidding me? My guess is the person who came up with this definition has never struggled through a week of sleepless nights or tried to function through the following 9 hours at work!
How long has it been since you've had a great night's sleep? How many hours have you spent lying awake in bed? How many days have you stumbled through, barely functioning and desperate for a few hours straight of quality sleep?
Would you define your pain and frustration as a difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep?
If your treatment and solutions up to this point have been based on an outdated and misleading definition, then there's the second big problem. We've been treating the wrong issue!
YOUR BRAIN IS PART OF THE PROBLEM
You can take a pill to help your body relax, but if your brain is still in overdrive from your day's events, sleep isn't happening, right?
A quick solution in the form of a pill or a memory foam pillow or a decaf coffee doesn't address all the thoughts and worries and plans swirling around in your brain when your head hits the pillow every night!
So how can we rewrite the definition of insomnia, as the people who have lived through it and experienced it firsthand? We can identify the struggle that comes when sleep isn't happening as the difference between and insomniac and a normal sleeper. Many people have a difficulty falling asleep, but if they're not experiencing an internal battle, they're not feeling the pain and frustration that someone with insomnia deals with.
So what's the secret to ending insomnia?
ENDING THE STRUGGLE!
1. Stop fighting against your over-active brain, your bedtime worries, and your racing thoughts.
Accept the thoughts that flood your brain every night as part of the process. The less you fight them, the easier it will be to relax and fall asleep. Your thoughts do not control you!
2. Learn to focus on and enjoy rest.
Push sleep off its pedestal, and make resting the new goal. If you can be okay with lying awake in bed, you're removing the struggle that makes it harder for sleep to happen.
3. Change your relationship with your sleeping environment.
Who doesn't love an extreme makeover!? It's time to invest in the softest sheets you can find, cover your bed in the coziest blankets, and make your bed your new favorite place! When you crawl into bed every night, you should let out a happy sigh.
4. Create an enjoyable and calming evening routine.
You've heard me say it before, and I'll keep saying it! You can't just jump into bed after a crazy day and expect your body and brain to go from 1000 to zero in ten seconds. You need to wind-down gently, and prepare yourself for bed. Dim the lights, find relaxing activities that you enjoy, practice deep breathing.
Whatever slows you down and makes you feel calm is the perfect practice for your evening ritual.
I CAN HELP!
There are many ways I can help you find relief from your insomnia symptoms:
LISTEN TO MY PODCAST - The CALM+COZY Podcast can be found in iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. It's full of sleep tips and solutions for people who struggle with racing thoughts and bedtime anxiety.
FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM - @sleepcoachbeth for all things sleep, rest, self-care, and mindfulness.