Sleeping well is essential for feeling healthy and in a good mood. Sleeping well is a natural capacity of the body, that we ALL have. But sometimes, because of stress, internal imbalance, health problems or other reasons … this natural ability can become disrupted. Anyone can become a temporary subject of insomnia which can be very difficult to live and somewhat disabling, with a feeling of self-withdrawal, of failure. Personally, I have always slept well. Except in 2019, where I went through a period of insomnia that weakened me and made me sad for a while. Then, after doing a lot of work on myself and many research online and in books, I came out of it stronger. And I can tell you: now, I sleep well, as well as before. YES, it is possible to sleep well even after experiencing insomnia. What are the solutions against insomnia? I give you all my advice!
Solutions against insomnia, and how to sleep well like you used to
1. The basic principles
It’s the experience that speaks to you here. All that follows, I did wrong at first. And I understood that it was counterproductive and definitely solutions against insomnia. So here’s what to avoid in my opinion, to save time and avoid making the same mistakes as me when and if you experience trouble sleeping.
There are a whole series of principles to respect when you tend to lose your good sleep, in order to be sure that you’re going to bed in good conditions, which are the following:
- no screens at least 1h before bedtime (no mobile phone, TV, etc.). Their blue light disrupts your production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Prefer them a book: reading before sleep is excellent. Or any other relaxing activity (meditation, listening to soft music, cuddling with your darling, etc.).
- no coffee / tea / alcohol or any other exciting drinks after 4pm. Yeah, I see you coming, OK for a small beer or a small glass of wine at dinner but no coffee / tea etc. OK for infusions of course, especially verbena or chamomile that promote sleep.
- no intense sport after 18-19h. Working out is great but prefer it rather during the day, because in the evening it tends to have the opposite effect you want it to have : it excites you and prevents you from sleeping well. In the morning however, or in the afternoon, it will help you spend some good energy! Ideal for sleeping well in the evening. By the way, even if you have not slept well, go to the gym or for a run! Not doing anything because you didn’t sleep is not a good idea. It is necessary to use your BODY doing the day, and not your MENTAL. If you get tired (BODY-tired), you will find sleep easier. In you get MENTAL-tired, you’ll have a flow of emotions in your head that won’t help you sleep in the evening. In addition to this, working out produces dopamine in your body (THE wellbeing hormone) and evacuates cortisol (stress hormone) and therefore CALMS you.
- no self-chosen sleeping pills! Always consult a doctor before taking anything … indeed sleeping pills tend to be addictive. There are other softer solutions against insomnia (like antihistamines for example, but on prescription …) but the best: BELIEVE in your capacity to sleep without taking anything at all. You have done it all your life until this period of insomnia, you will do it again. I promise you.
- Do not look at the time, hide the clocks if possible and stop counting the hours. How long have you slept, how much time left do you have to sleep … All these thoughts keep your brain in a state of beta waves, waves of awakening, physical activity and intellectual state. Beta waves are great for WORKING, but NOT for SLEEPING. To embrace a good sleep, our brain has to go into alpha waves, then delta, respectively the states of light relaxation, and sleep. So, stop feeding your thoughts with calculations and forget about the time! Plus, between you and me, counting the hours is useless, because often, in the case of insomnia, people poorly assess their sleep time. We believe that we did not sleep at night, but in fact, we slept some, we slept lightly, maybe, but we did sleep. Counting hours is not helpful and not accurate, because sleep is much more complex than that. Even lying down at night without “getting (deep) sleep”, but light sleep, rests you. And the way you count is probably not really representative of your night.
- one last piece of advice: try not to stress at night when you are not sleeping. Easier to say than to do, certainly, I know, believe me, I’ve been there. But with the experience I understood something: the more we stress, the more we go away from falling asleep. It’s better to stay zen, stay cool. Even if it takes going out of bed for a relaxing activity, for say… 10 minutes before going back to bed, ready to close our eyes.
2. Listen to podcasts to fall asleep
And it’s me, Miss “I-put-ear-plugs-since-Im-15-years-old”, addicted to complete silence, who tells you this. I would NEVER have thought I could sleep with someone talking to me in my ears, and yet, in my sleepless time, it helped me a LOT.
The podcast that helped me the most against insomnia that has bothered me for a few weeks (mm … months) in 2019 is Sleep With Me. Each episode lasts 1 hour, and the hosts talks about everything and nothing, he does not finish his sentences, his tone is hyper monotonous … it is SO BORING and suddenly, it works! This guy has been helping thousands of insomniacs and people suffering from temporary sleep issues around the world, so try it yourself, it’s worth it. For me, it worked well! I program several episodes in a row before going to bed, and I let myself be carried … it works almost every time!
You have to give this podcast a chance and try it at least 3 nights in a row … sometimes it may take a little while to work for you. You tell me.
Otherwise, other and plenty of solutions against insomnia are possible online (such as ASMR, like Sleep Meditation Podcast ASMR). The free app Google Podcast is great for listening to podcasts. Do not hesitate to try!
3. Read (or listen) to personal development books
I’ve listened to a book in French (La Magie du Sommeil, translated : The Magic Of Sleep, by Isalou Regen) and this book helped me SO much!
First, to NOT feel guilty. After all, finally, as a child I was never a big sleeper and Isalou made me understand it over the tests she proposes in her book. She got inspired by Michael Breus, a Clinical Psychologist and both a Diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and a Fellow of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine. So maybe. actually, I do not really need 8 hours of sleep as I’ve been convinced about in the recent years. I have a chronotype that doesn’t need so much sleep. If you want to learn more about your chronotype, read or listen to The Power of When by this author.
Also, you’ll read about the fact that sleeping 8 hours in a row isn’t really in the human nature. And that it is normal, that sometimes, it gets disrupted since it is not so natural in the end.
Finally, reading books about sleeping, from sleep specialists, helped me understand a simple thing. Fighting insomnia is not the answer, because insomnia is not a cause. It’s a symptom. A symptom of a cause that is common to all those who sleep poorly … Our organism is in a SURVIVAL mode, a mode where we are afraid, where we are stressed, and where our body responds by a whole series of physiological reactions: accelerated heart beat, disturbed digestion, bad sleep. Indeed, when you are attacked by a tiger, you are in SURVIVAL mode, and the priority is not to SLEEP here, but rather to SURVIVE, isn’t it? OK, you’re not in the presence of a tiger, but for other reasons, your body is still surviving. And that’s why you sleep badly. Unlike the SECURITY mode, which is the mode of well-being, inner peace, happiness, of sweetness of life and good sleep. How to leave survival mode and return to security mode? Find back your inner peace. Maybe listening to The Power of When can help you with this.
Otherwise, try and tap “sleep” on the audio book app Audible. They have so many audio books and I’m sure you’ll find one that can help you. With this link, you’ll get your first audio book for free on Audible, because I’m their affiliate partner.
I sincerely hope that these solutions against insomnia that worked for me can help you fight your own troubles sleeping. I wish you lots of sweet nights, and sweet days.
Feel free to react in the comments if you feel like it! It will be a pleasure to share about all this!