How to Fall Asleep
In this article you will discover some simple tips and advice on how to fall asleep. The most common complaint from insomniacs is the ‘racing mind’ syndrome at night. Those racing, relentless thoughts seem never ending and by the time the mind starts to quieten, it’s the morning.
Most of us have probably experienced at least one night of this. However for the insomniac it has become a nightly routine. So what can be done about this frustrating problem?
Well for 40% of insomniacs, medicating themselves to sleep with either prescribed or over the counter sleeping pills seems to be the only solution. But how effective are sleeping pills at tackling the cause of insomnia?
Put it this way, if you continually suffered from back pains at work and knew that the cause of it was due to an unsupportive chair, what would you do? Sure you would treat the pain by taking some painkillers, but it would be silly to continue suffering and treating the symptom right?
Obviously the underlying cause of the problem is the chair. So the sensible thing to do is either replace the chair, or fit a lumbar support.
Eliminate the underlying cause and the symptoms will eventually go. Although insomnia is a far complex issue, the same principals can be applied. Most of us think that if we deal with the symptoms, the problem will go away.
Taking a sleeping pill is about as effective as taking a baseball bat to the head. Sure it will knock you out, but it won’t eliminate your insomnia and you’ll probably feel like you’ve been knocked over the head when you wake up.
Sleeping pills are generally bad news as they will break down your body’s natural sleep cycle and make sleep very difficult in the long term. It may also affect the amount of deep sleep you attain during the night as most major sleeping pills interfere with normal brain wave patterns. Taking sleeping pills is a crude way to tackle insomnia in the long term.
You may find that you wake up feeling groggy, drowsy or tired. Other Side effects include urinary retention, blurred vision, dizziness and palpitations. Sleeping pills may help you get to sleep but with continual use your body will build tolerance, and you may find that you need to ‘up’ your dose to attain the same affect.
Using prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids to catch up on your sleep is generally ok, but should be avoided. You should consult your doctor before taking sleep medication. You should also avoid taking them for more than 2 or 3 nights in a row, as prolonged use can cause ‘rebound’ insomnia.
There are far more effective ways in how to sleep better which do not require medication. You see, insomnia is a learned habit. In this day an age, stress, worry and anxiety are increasingly common problems.
Financial problems, relationships and redundancy are common factors. We often ignore our body’s signal that we are under too much stress. But by doing this it can have detrimental effects on our emotional behavior; being stuck in traffic, having a bad day at work and something as little as burning toast can build up stress during the day.
Again we only seem to treat stress when it becomes a symptom, a headache, migraine or stomach upset. Yet stress is the major cause of insomnia.
We get up, rush to work, spend the day rushing around trying to stay on top of work, go pick up the kids, go to the supermarket, rush home, slave away on the stove, do the dishes, put the kids to sleep and collapse on the couch completely burnt out. At this point we switch on the TV, eyes glazed with a million thoughts of the day and the next whizzing around our heads.
We go to bed carrying these thoughts which seem to trigger a domino effect of thoughts, inevitably keeping us awake. It may be worry or anxiety, but more often they’re just random thoughts spiralling out of control. My mind’s racing just thinking about it! So what can be done?
Well fact is, everyone has the ability to sleep, it’s like breathing, it’s the subconscious part of the mind that knows how. So if you know how to fall asleep, why can’t you? Through bad sleep habits, negative sleep thoughts and stress you’ve reconditioned the mind, your conscious mind becomes too dominant at night.
You find that it’s even more difficult to pass the buck and let the subconscious mind to take over and do its job. You end up trying to will yourself to sleep with the conscious mind (this is obviously impossible).
This in effect becomes your new sleep routine. By taking sleeping pills you are only reinforcing this, because you are no longer relying on your natural ability to sleep. But don’t worry, just like learning to ride a bike or drive a car, the subconscious mind is able to learn how to sleep. More accurately you reawaken and reinforce your own natural ability to sleep.
How do we do this? Well first off we need to tackle the cause and improve our sleep habits. You need to take a step back, maybe even write down a list of causes and work to eliminate them. There are far more advanced techniques and therapies such as hypnosis, EFT, NLP and acupuncture which are completely drug free which work to remove the underlying cause.
For now these are some basic tips you can start applying to begin the process of establishing a good sleep routine:
Step 1: Get up and sleep at the same time everyday.
Step 2: Wind down an hour or so before you sleep.
Step 3: Relax with some soothing music or some chamomile tea.
Step 4: Leave your work at work.
Step 5: Expose yourself to sunlight in the day.
Step 6: Ensure that your bed is comfortable and supportive.
Step 7: Ensure your bedroom is quiet, dark and not to warm.
Step 8: Talk about your problems and don’t let your emotions build up.
Step 9: Remind yourself that bedtime is for sleep and not a time to worry.