For the greater part of the last 6 months, I had been suffering greatly from insomnia that was progressively getting worse. Over the last month, I have successfully broken that cycle and I believe it has had to do with making many small changes. I am now sleeping better and longer without taking Valerian, melatonin, nor any other sleeping medications (though I do supplement with magnesium, I’ve done so for years). While I was generally able to fall asleep well, I was unable to remain there for more than 3-4 hours before waking. Some nights, I was unable to return to sleep at all. I was not a happy camper on those days!
This calendar year involved a slow progression of changes for me, perhaps if I had made them closer together, I’d have broken the cycle sooner. Here are the things that I did that made the biggest changes to my sleep (from my morning routine to my nighttime routine):
- Adding Macaccino to my morning coffee has given me a more even-keeled energy boost without the jitters nor keeping me up if I choose to have some mid-afternoon.
- Reducing the full-caffeinated A.M. coffee to 1/2 to 1/3 by mixing my grounds with decaf. There are some half-caff buying options, as well, but not if you want 1/3 caff…
- Changing my thoughts during the day & at night:
- I discovered how I was often thinking “how horrible I slept.” So when I noticed those thoughts, I changed them to gratitude for sleeping (even if it was not great, I found gratitude in what sleep I did get).
- Whenever I wake up before my alarm, I avoid focusing on the fact that I’m awake; now I usually just roll over and go back to sleep. Really.
- Turning on the “night shift” on my phone after 8:00 P.M. and reducing my night-time screen time (the blue light of electronic devices has been linked to extending wakefulness)
- Taking Epsom Salt soaks at night before bed after stressful days – magnesium helps to calm the body and we do not store it, so we need to get it in somehow. Magnesium Sulfate = Epsom Salt and it is absorbed through our skin as we soak.
- Unplugging my clock and not looking at the time on my phone when I do wake up.
- Using a folded wool blanket after reading the benefits of heavy blankets for sleep (it’s folded on top of a sheet, so I can easily push my foot out and cool off if I get too hot). Wool is also supposed to help with “earthing,” or grounding of our energy, too.
- Hanging up blackout curtains and some nights even using a sleeping mask.
- Magnesium via Ionic Liquid Magnesium (it’s quite salty in liquid form, they also have tablets) OR the more tasty, but tart Natural Calm
- Meditating before bed.
- Avoiding alcohol at night. I found it actually caused me to fall asleep and not stay asleep.
- Listening to “sleep stories” on the “Calm” app. There’s even a story about sleep science. I’ve never heard the whole thing. It puts me right to sleep!
By sleeping well at night, I’ve had more energy during the day. I’ve also been writing more and, in general, I’ve been a much happier person.
I hope that these suggestions are helpful for anyone who is having difficulty sleeping. Honestly, I found the less sleep that I had, the more obsessive I became about sleep and the less I actually slept. Shifting my thoughts created a huge impact, but many of the small things listed above also added up to break the insomnia cycle.