Stopping fighting has been the most critical factor in my personal progress. This has meant acceptance but not surrender. It has meant that I carry responsibility of the healing myself.
When I stopped fighting, I started healing.
I do think healing is a personal combination of many things and happens step by step. Personally I don’t believe in one-trick-pony fixes or turning into good sleeper overnight (or then you weren’t a poor sleeper in the first place) or drugs in the long run. But I do believe that we can all sleep better, but the we have to carry the responsibility ourselves and unfortunately this can’t be outsourced or delegated.
I have found following things most helpful:
- Daily worry moment and to-do planning moment. Worry and plan your routines at day – not at night. Even 5 minutes daily will make a big difference.
- Breathing exercises and yoga. I needed to relearn breathing which is a big unknown problem with many poor sleepers. When I got pneumonia I finally got it.
- Rest moments during the day. This is precious me-time. Can be a little walk, short nap, restorative yoga (legs up the wall), meditation, etc. Must-do.
- Regular exercise during the week. Nothing can beat that endorphin! Just follow Your instinct: what feels good, does good.
- Slower responses to negative events. Oh boy, this really requires some nerves but the reward is sure worth it. Patience – in general – is the name of this game.
- Working with my fears. I have feared a lot: losing people, diseases, robberies, bankrupt, just name it. Working with my fears has meant calmer nights.
- Less alcohol. Teetotaller is the best lifestyle for poor sleepers – at least in an acute phase. Nobody wants to hear this but this is the brutal truth. More in here.
- Dropping off some irritating allergy foods. For example I can’t tolerate citrus fruits. First they make me swollen and then, during the night, I pee every second hour…
- Keeping gratitude diary. Reminding me on good things in my life keeps my mind positive, clear and grateful. I love this habit now, and also reading back my thoughts. Very revealing!
- Sleep props. Unhealthy routines are not welcomed but as I quit all medicine following props have given me support: eye patch, ear plugs, hot water bottle (for my cold legs), reading pen, etc..
This can seem like an overwhelming list of this and that but that’s not how I feel about it myself as changes have taken place gradually. Every step has brought better sleep. Some bad nights still exist here and there, but it’s no longer an unstoppable chain reaction. Everyone, even the very best sleepers, sleep occasionally badly. I will make no exception and I trust better in myself now. I also try to avoid set up stiff routines, because then I am ‘addicted’ to my routines. This said, I have noticed that when I have enough rest and zest day time, I also have more sleep and peace night time. A more visual presentation on my top ten tips in here.
Everybody is shouting about the latest ‘correct’ treatment (89% success rate) or product (113 % success rate) that will rescue your sleep. I suggest that you learn to listen to yourself and test and find your own way. There are as many causes as there are right treatments. Friedrich Nietzsche puts it nicely: “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way and the only way, it does not exist.”
What is your work-in-progress list for better sleep? Please do share!
What really helped me as well, was the information. When I understood more about sleep (and myths), I was able to set more realistic goals to myself. More about sleep myths in my next blog – stay tuned!!