When you just can’t get to sleep it can be tempting to fill your awake time with distractions- many of which are likely to keep you awake even longer. Often the most helpful things to do are not things you actually feel like doing! Your automatic habits are probably going to make you feel wired, stressed and make it even harder for you to unwind and drift off to sleep.
Here’s 5 bad habits that all insomniacs try at some point, why they’re not a good idea, and what to try instead:
1) Playing games on your phone
First, staring at a bright screen is unlikely to send anyone to sleep, but really, most games these days are designed to hook you in and get you to keep playing. It becomes harder and harder to pull yourself away, even when you do begin to actually feel tired.
If you’re a game addict and you’re thinking of playing for a bit when you’re struggling to sleep, try giving yourself a time-limit. Play until your time is up and then try to sleep again.
2) Scrolling through newsfeeds
Scrolling through Facebook, Instragram, Twitter or Pinterest might seem like a good idea to help you get to sleep but, like with playing games, this is actually more likely to keep you awake. All it takes is for you to click on one alluring hashtag and you’ll get whisked down a rabbit-hole scrolling through endless pretty pictures and interesting stories.
We’ve all been there.
As already mentioned, bright screens are not conducive to a natural sleep state. If you’re looking for a way to get a bit of external stimulation that will help you wind down, try reading a book- preferably the paper kind.
3) Thinking about things that you can’t change
Stressing and worrying about things which have already happened or about situations or circumstances that you can’t change is a wasted use of energy. You’re just causing yourself to suffer unnecessarily.
You’re lying in bed, waiting to sleep, and then you get sucked into the trap of thinking about things that you have no power to change. You analyse everything; you over-think all the scenarios from the week prior that you wish had gone differently, playing out your preferred storylines and thinking of witty comebacks that completely eluded you at the time.
When you have no power to change a situation, the best thing that you can do is to accept it and make peace with it so that it no longer has the ability to stress you out.
4) Contacting people
Lying awake at night might seem like the perfect time to see what your ex is up to or to tell your bestie what you really think of her new love interest. Heed my advice: If you are thinking about saying something that you’re not one hundred percent sure of, then DON’T DO IT.
If you wouldn’t say it in the morning then don’t say it in the middle of the night.
Sometimes insomnia is like being drunk. It strips back our inhibitions, boosts our confidence, and distorts our ability to adequately assess risks. Your friends are probably asleep. Don’t hassle them.
If you really feel like reaching out to someone, try this instead: write your message into a note-taking app but vow not to send it until the morning. Re-read it in the morning and send it then, only if it feels like the right thing to do after you’ve had a good night’s sleep.
5) Dreaming of the future
It can be great fun to indulge in fantasies about the future, making plans for your dream house, travel destinations and career success. It’s easy to get carried away and let your fantasizing keep you awake all night.
The best way to pull yourself out of the future, and get yourself into a restful state is to use mindfulness to bring you into the present moment. Focus on your breath and observe your thoughts rather than being absorbed into them.
Follow these tips and you’ll be asleep in no time!
Featured photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/timothykrause/ via imcreator.com