Monday, March 30, 2015

Things to do when you just can't sleep!

What to do when you just can't sleep!?

I'm sure many of us experience insomnia at some point in our lives. I decided to compile a list of things to do when you just can't sleep. Of course, I wont be able to list every possible thing, but I'll list as many as I can think of and include links where I can. Hopefully this will help some of you. And, of course, please share any suggestions you have.. let's keep the conversation going!

  • Prayer
  • meditation- just focus on your breath. Also, there are plenty of great meditation tracks on youtube as well as cell phone apps
  • count sheep or just count your breaths
  • try deep breathing- breathing exercises
  • have a calming mantra- a word you find calming and repeat it in your head while you breathe
  • listen to relaxing music- (also for iPhone and android)
  • progressive muscle relaxation- instructions here or try YouTube
  • read a boring book
  • listen to a boring book - Audible free trial
  • flip through a magazine
  • alternate nostril breathing (Nadi Shodhan) - how to or youtube
  • gentle stretches- especially the neck
  • try a few yoga postures- child's pose and legs up the wall can work well- yoga poses for sleep
  • this DVD helped me a lot! It includes: yoga, self-massage, guided meditation and diet tips and recipes- my favourite DVD for sleep & relaxation
  • yoga DVD for sleep and relaxation (another personal favourite) - yoga DVD for sleep
  • self-massage- especially the neck and forehead and temples
  • try reflexology 
  • journaling- get your thoughts out of your head- 10 tips
  • to-do list- update or make one 
  • write down the things you are thankful for
  • write an email or letter- if you're upset with someone, write it down (just don't send it!)
  • play a game you find boring- maybe solitaire
  • massage your earlobes (this is known to induce relaxation)
  • easy hand massage (reflexology) 
  • try acupressure points for sleep- acupressure
  • pet your pet (a proven stress reliever!)
  • If you're too cold, grab some socks or a heating pad (just don't fall asleep with the heating pad on)
  • watch a boring TV show- I prefer to keep off lights and electronics, but if all else fails..
  • have a snack- preferably a protein and carbohydrate mix to get the tryptophan through the BBB (blood-brain barrier)  eg. nut butter with 1/2 slice whole-grain bread, warm milk, sliced bananas in milk, to name a few..
  • try golden milk- golden milk recipe
  • take some magnesium - natural calm works like a dream!
  • sip some relaxing tea- Some of the sleep teas at the supermarket are great, Celestial makes some good ones!
  • use essential oils- add to your hand cream or put a few drops on a cotton pad beside your pillow- lavender, jasmine and chamomile are a few good ones. One of my favourites is badger's sleep balm 
  • keep some homoeopathic remedies on hand - coffea cruda and bhi calming are good ones!
  • inositol powder in some water can do wonders to shut off the mind!- Powdered Inositol
  • liquid calcium/magnesium can also work wonders- liquid cal-mag
  • clear the clutter, just don't start a full-on cleaning!
  • try some melatonin if you have at least 8 hours before you have to get up 1mg time released melatonin helps me!
  • if restless legs are keeping you up, you could be low in iron-  make a note to check with your Doctor
  • catch up on your favourite blogs or start one!
Lastly, I came across this interesting article on cooling the brain for sleep and decided last minute to add it to this post. I've heard many different thoughts regarding keeping the feet warm vs cool for sleep and similarly with the head. Chinese medicine refers to this a lot.

These are just the things that came to my mind as I compiled this list. It just takes finding the right thing that works for each of us. I hope you will try some of these if they are new to you and hope you find them helpful.  I would love to hear any tips or tricks that you have.

As always, please check with your doctor before implementing any of the supplements I have mentioned.

Sleep well!

xo Amy

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