Sleep is something that your body craves, but also something that everybody struggles with periodically. You’ve tried to cure it the right way. You stopped drinking caffeine late in the day; you didn’t eat a heavy meal right before bed; you made sure that the lights were off; you’ve tried to keep a definite bedtime schedule consistently. And yet, as you lie in bed sleepless and frustrated, none of this really seems to matter. When insomnia hits, you could spend hours stressing, or try a few new things to ease you into a peaceful slumber.
Difficulty falling (and staying) asleep is a common problem. As an important source of energy for the body, sleep is a valuable commodity. If you have been lying in bed for a while and can’t sleep, get up. Don’t just stay in bed and worry about not having enough energy to get all you need to get done the following day. Do something tonight to encourage the Sandman to appear a little sooner:
Go for a soak
Go relax in the bathtub. This soothes both body and mind. Try adding some sleep-inducing scents, like lavender oil, into the tub. You can also put a few drops of these oils onto your pillow to pacify you in bed as well. Don’t make the mistake of taking a shower. This can actually awaken your body. Opt for a warm bath instead. Couple this with some candles and calm music and you’ll be set.
Drink it up
Have a glass of warm milk. You thought this was just an old wives’ tale, but it actually works! Heating up milk really does have a tranquilizing effect on the body that can calm you down and prepare you for sleep. In fact, the same amino acid that gives turkey its reputation for causing drowsiness is also found in milk, and it causes more serotonin to be released in the body. Can’t stand the idea of warm milk? Add a drop or two of vanilla extract. Still not sounding tempting? Try some chamomile tea. A number of people think that having an alcoholic drink right before bed does the trick. Although this might initially make you sleepy, it doesn’t prep you for sound sleep, and chances are, you’ll toss and turn during the night.
Find an activity
Do something relaxing out of the bed. Try some light reading—although an action thriller probably wouldn’t be the best choice for these purposes. Watch something a little boring on television at low volume (think the Learning or Home Shopping Channels). Don’t watch anything that will wind you back up. Looking for other ideas? Sew, scrapbook, or write a letter. This activity should be easy, nothing that will key your nervous system back up. Once your eyes get droopy again, hit the sack.