10 Things for Insomniacs should do in the evening

Check out my list of ten things an insomniac should do in the evenings, to make a good night’s sleep more likely:

  1. Eat Lightly. We all know that we shouldn’t swim on a full stomach because our bodies are busy digesting the food; the same is true for sleep. If your body is too busy breaking down a massive dinner complete with pudding and all sorts, it won’t be in a good state for relaxing and sleeping.
  2. Avoid Caffeine. If you are a coffee drinker and an insomniac, that’s not a winning combination. Consider cutting out coffee (or cola, if that’s your poison) altogether if possible. If you can’t bear the thought of that, at least give yourself an early afternoon cut-off point to stop drinking it, and move over to water instead. Your body will thank you!
  3. Drink Relaxing Teas. These days you can get all sorts of wonderful concoctions from your supermarket shelves. Camomile is always a good bet, but experiment with the different flavours on offer. Go for organic though so hopefully there will be no nasties in there!
  4. Switch Off! I know these days our lives revolve around Facebook, Twitter, email and whatever else – but too much of the light from your computer screen is not helpful for melatonin production. Consider switching off by 7pm and see what a difference it can make.
  5. Switch the TV Off Too! If you have trouble sleeping, be strict about switching the TV off at 8pm. All that stuff on the news channel is not goo for relaxing the mind. Why not read a book instead?
  6. Read Something Relaxing. Everyone loves a good thriller, but when you’re trying to sleep, you don’t want something that’s going to get your heart and mind racing. Choose a book that will help to relax your mind, nothing too taxing. Reading for an hour before bed can have a very positive and lasting effect on our sleep.
  7. Avoid Heavy Conversations. I know heart-to-hearts always seem to happen late at night, but they’re really not good for those of us who need to sleep! Avoid any heavy conversations, or making plans – in fact, why not go one better and have an evening of silence? Just allow yourself to be with no demands on you to think. More often than not, it’s the thinking that keeps us awake.
  8. Prepare Your Bedroom. Some people think I’m bonkers when I say this, but having a cluttered bedroom really can stop you from relaxing. Have a good clear out, get rid of all the junk and replace it with some scented candles. I really like Neom Organics’ “Scent to Sleep” range – it really smells heavenly and has me nodding off in no time!
  9. Turn The Lights Down Low. Like with TV and computers, bright lights shining in our eyes help to keep us awake. Great in the mornings when we’re having trouble waking up; not so great at night, when we’re trying to get to sleep. Again, candles can work well here – do away with the overhead light all together, and go for some soft, mood lighting. As the light reduces, your body starts to produce melatonin and helps you to move towards sleep.
  10. Practise Belly Breathing. Lay on your back for 30 minutes, and breathe slowly and deeply into your belly. I wrote a post not long ago about the benefits of real deep breathing; have a quick read through, and put this into practise before bed each evening. It sounds so simple, but the relaxing power of the breath is truly amazing.

So there are my top ten tips for insomniacs. None of them are expensive or particularly outlandish; although it might be difficult to get into the habit of doing some of them, I am sure that if you can give it a try for just a couple of weeks you will notice a positive change.

Let me know how you get on!