Had too much caffeine? Stressed? Or can't sleep and you don't know why? Here's some ideas to get you through the (long) night. Image courtesy of 2nix at freedigitalphotos.net
Have you had the experience of either not being able to sleep at all, or waking from slumber prematurely? Tonight is such a night for me! It was about 11.30 p.m I awoke and itís still only 1.30 in the morning.
Normally, this is a sign I do not really need the extra sleep for a particular reason. For example, this evening I went to sleep at what seems a ridiculous time, 6.30 p.m Ė however I was exhausted and listened to my body.
Tonight, unfortunately, is different. My body and my drooping eyes are giving me all the signals that I need further sleep. However, after about six attempts sleep continues to elude me.
Frustratingly I realise itís going to be Ďone of those nightsí where the clock will go oh so slowly until morning comes.
To make things more difficult, being the middle of the night means I canít do a lot of things to fill in the time until morning because of noise that will wake my neighbours Ė for example television, jumping around to my Zumba dvd and doing a workout!
I cannot say, but I am guessing many of us have experienced insomnia before, which is resistant to attempts to feel soporific once again.
Anyway, this is not the first time Iíve experienced unwanted wakefulness at an inopportune time. For others that have had similar experiences, I thought I might share some ideas of how to fill in time until the sky lightens and the birds herald the beginning of morning.
1. Read a book. I have found that the concentration required to read can have the effect of making me feel drowsy.
2. Crossword puzzles, Suduko Ė again the puzzles may wear you out because of the strenuous thinking involved.
3. For selfavenue-ers, write an article! You can make the most of this time, while you don't have any other expectations upon you! (Yes, there's always a positive!)
4. You may find some experience of rest by just closing your eyes and focussing on your breathing. Clear your mind of any thoughts and try to create a state of Ďmental stillnessí.
5. Search the web: I am not going to pretend I personally feel I have the energy when Iím an insomniac of searching for anything that worthwhile! However, many people may have time to do a google search of anything. Hey, itís the middle of the night. Even hop onto facebook and reply to those messages you donít have time to during the day.
6. Have a hot shower. It is unlikely that this will wake the neighbours. This may induce a state of drowsiness which may even give you the sleep you need.
7. Donít keep looking at the clock Ė I have found the night just goes slower.
8. If you have one of those mindful colouring in books, this can be a worthwhile time to colour in. The relaxed feeling that I find often results from this activity can help me feel peaceful, which may be a prelude to sleep.
9. Often, when I am experiencing insomnia, frustratingly I continue to feel tired, though sleep will not come. In such cases, I am not sleeping nor have the mental energy to awaken to a sufficient degree to do the above exercises. If you can relate to this, you may have the patience to close your eyes. Unfortunately I find my mind keeps going and the night can seem interminable.
10. Finally, donít force sleep. When you try to hard to sleep and it continues to evade you, this can cause feelings of anxiety and frustration, exacerbating the problem. If you think about it, is sleep ever really forced? I find anyway that it just occurs naturally at some point and I am not aware of the time the unconscious state of slumber falls upon me.
We all experience insomnia time to time. Donít worry too much even if it doesnít dissipate giving rise to sleep. Your bodyís innate wisdom knows when and how much sleep you need. Trust that if you close your eyes, or preoccupy yourself with another activity if your body knows it needs sleep, it will come.