Insomnia, when it strikes, is one of the most irritating experiences a person can have. It usually arrives the night before a very important early morning, and periodically berates you with reminders of how long you have to drop off in order to get any amount of sleep before the alarm. Most of us, aware that we have a 5am wake-up ahead of us, have at least once considered just staying up all night because we’ve given up on ever falling asleep.
Dealing with insomnia is a tough issue to crack, but it is something that we absolutely need to do. As we will see below, getting enough sleep is absolutely fundamental to functioning well, and if we have a long day ahead where you need to remain clear-headed, every minute counts. So if you struggle with insomnia, the following is essential reading
Any sleep is better than none
Nobody wants to face a day on the back of 30 minutes’ sleep – it feels like trying to bail out the Atlantic with a sieve – but it is better to get those 30 minutes than none at all. Giving up on sleep when you’ve been struggling to nod off may seem like an acceptance of an unpalatable reality, but if you’ve been struggling for a couple of hours, change something. Don’t imagine that you’ll fall asleep by lying there cursing everything.
A bedtime routine really works
One of the most prized things in adulthood is the ability to stay up as late as you want and forget about bedtimes, but honestly… a bedtime is a good thing. You can set it when you want, even after midnight, as long as it’s regular. Then make the hours before it into a powering-down routine, muting your phone, taking CBD, applying blue-light filters everywhere you can. If your body learns the pre-bedtime steps, it will learn when to relax.
Build naptimes into your day, if possible
One of the great myths about sleep is that if you doze off during the day, it will stop you sleeping at night. There is absolutely no proof that a day nap per se will affect your nighttime sleep. It is important to ensure that you time it right, though. Dozing after 2pm is more likely to bring on slow wave sleep, which can affect your body rhythms in negative ways including making it harder to sleep at night. But if you can find a quiet place, grabbing ten minutes around lunchtime can make you far sharper as the day goes on.
No caffeine within six hours of bedtime
If you’ve set a bedtime for yourself, then mentally demarcate a time six hours before that (so, 6pm if you’re aiming to bed down at midnight), after which no caffeine may pass your lips. It takes time for your body to process it, so if you’re slumping in the mid-afternoon, you’re well-advised to have a strategic espresso to help you through. Too close to bedtime, and it’ll still be making its way through your system, making you jittery when you should be peaceful and still.