Ironically, here I am writing this at 1 in the morning.
I’ve suffered (like seriously SUFFERED) from insomnia since I was seven years old. I’m not sure what the root cause is, I know anxiety is a huge contributor, however I’m not sure what I had to be anxious about at such an early age.
Because I’ve dealt with the illness for so long I’ve tried almost every remedy known to man. As I’m sure many of you know, sleep deprivation can seriously take a toll on your mental and physical health over time. I’ve learned how to function on only 3-4 hours of sleep a night, but even still I don’t enjoy how I feel when I haven’t slept well.
Right now I’m still cosleeping with my son, and therefore I don’t feel comfortable taking any sleep medications while he’s in the bed with us.
These are my favorite alternative sleep aids, although they’re not always effective they work pretty well for a lot of people and they are significantly safer than most medications.
- Lavender essential oil. I love diffusing it next to my bed at night or simply applying it topically, some may prefer to dilute it first but it is a fairly mild oil so it doesn’t irritate my skin.
- A warm bath. I take a bath every single night. I have since I was a little kid. It’s part of my nighttime routine, and it’s quite relaxing, add lavender bathsalts for extra relaxation.
- Routine! On the topic of routines, they’re very important if you have a sleep disorder. Creating a bedtime for yourself will honestly help significantly, but you have to stick to it (I’m not great at this part, lol.)
- Melatonin. I actually haven’t taken it in years, but my husband uses it on occasion and it works wonders for him. However, this is more useful for people who have occasional sleep disruptions, it’s not good to take nightly.
Here are some further tips for anyone who also suffers from my personal hell.
- Avoid caffeine. All the time. Sometimes when I’ve had an especially tough night and I need the boost I’ll drink some coffee the next morning, but usually I regret this. The tiniest bit of caffeine affects us differently than it does most people.
- Avoid nighttime eating. Growing up we ate dinner at an ungodly late hour, usually around 9 PM. I try not to eat a big meal after 7 PM now, and no snacks after 10.
- Avoid electronics around bedtime. I know it’s so tempting to scroll through Facebook or watch TV when you can’t sleep, but unfortunately this is just going to make sleeping even more difficult and keep our brains stimulated.