This section explores possible ways to overcome and manage insomnia. It is not exhaustive and you are welcome to suggest any solutions that have worked for you or people you know.
Productive Ways of Overcoming Insomnia
Before finding what works for you, it really helps to understand WHY you are having insomnia.
For an exploration of possible causes, take a read at Insomnia Insights (Part 1).
When you are experiencing insomnia, and it seems so difficult to get to sleep, you could consider relieving yourself of the effort. The act of trying to get to sleep tends to be frustrating, tiring and futile.
If you have tried and cannot sleep anyway, why not make use of this opportunity to understand what’s underneath the insomnia?
Some ways that could help include:
Take a paper and pen and write down everything that is in your mind. The random strings of thoughts, the analysis that is ongoing, the feelings you are experiencing in your mind, emotions and body. Just let them out free flow, in no particular order, onto the paper.
Eventually it starts to make sense. But it needs to start flowing first, and this act of writing helps this process.
If you do not have paper, simply open an empty sheet on your phone or computer to do free flow typing.
2) Act on the Ideas
It is night, it is quiet and you might have some ideas or inspiration. It is a great time to work on these ideas or inspiration without the distractions of daily life. Go ahead, and see what opens up for you.
You might surprise yourself on the quality of work that comes out in this space.
3) Reflective or Mindful Meditation
There are many kinds of meditation, of which not all are suitable for the night hours.
For the night time when you cannot sleep, sitting quietly to reflect or be mindful of your present state helps. You could breathe and notice the flow of your breath in and out of the nose and body, feel the rise and fall of your belly and chest, feel how your body is feeling and relaxing the bodily tensions. For more details on how to do this, you can base it on your experience, search online or join our meditation class.
4) Hoʻoponopono Meditation
Ho’oponopono is a traditional Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. Insomnia may occur due to conflicts in different parts of your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual states.
From my experience and the sharing of other practitioners, this practice is very helpful in easing these conflicts into a state of peacefulness. In the process, you could gain clarity on what is happening in your life, let go, forgive and learn the wisdom.
There are 4 simple steps in the mantra to repeat to yourself (or others if you’re doing it for them):
- I’m sorry
- Please forgive me
- Thank you
- I love you
5) Take a comforting drink (non-alcoholic)
Through the mindfulness exercises above, if you find that what your body needs is some water or food, you could consider to take something small and nutritious, such as almond milk, a healthy snack or water. The key is to give your body what it needs to feel comforted.
6) Comfort the Body, Heart and Mind
Maybe your body needs some warmth, and you can put on the blanket.
Maybe you are feeling uncertain or unsafe. You may gently put your hands over any of the two areas (try it out, see which works better):
- Stomach or lower belly area
- Top of head
- Back of head
- Heart chakra / chest area
The warmth from your hands and closure of the energy loop (hands to body) gives your body, heart and mind the signal that it is safe and you are safe. Once your inner self feels safe, it might be easier to relax and rest.
7) Night Routine
Reflections: How is your mental, emotional and physical state when you go to sleep each night? How relaxed are you as you lie in the bed and prepare to shift gears into the sleep zone?
If you find it hard to sleep each night and this pattern is repetitive, designing and giving yourself a calming night routine might be helpful. Examples of night routines (that have worked for others and myself) include:
- Switch off the Wi-Fi (if you can feel it.. Wi-Fi has a certain energetic vibration that could feel somewhat disturbing)
- Switch off or “Airplane” mode the electronic devices
- Meditate, stretch or do energy healing for yourself to clear the blockages and relax the body and mind
- Put down your thoughts on paper, leave it there, and go to bed.
- Plan for the next day on your calendar or on paper, so you need not think or worry about it during your sleep.
- Create your ideal rest environment: temperature, warmth, bed / pillow firmness, lighting, noise level, scents.
The night routine can be adjusted and iterated as you go along. A night routine creates a pathway to the state of mind or environment that signals – bedtime! for your body and mind to shift gears into relaxation and sleep mode.
What if I wake up in the middle of the night in spite of everything?
If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, tossing and turning, this is a window of opportunity to understand what is behind the insomnia. The more you understand, the better a decision you can make to take the appropriate steps.
If you find yourself reaching the limits of what you can manage on your own, consider facilitated ways such as therapy, counselling, coaching or talking to a friend or family member to facilitate the healing of the internal state.
Wishing you all the best in your insomnia discovery and recovery journey. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your journey and insights!