We’ve all struggled through a restless night’s sleep at some point in our lives and it’s especially bad after a holiday weekend. For me, it happens more than I’d like. I hate spending the wee hours tossing and turning, being unable to shut off my brain and basically evaluating everything wrong in my life.
I’m one of those people who avoid taking medicine if possible, so I never even tried sleeping pills. I’ve heard how wonderful sleeping pills are and I’m afraid I’ll be hooked on them instantly. Just like I was with chocolate-covered pretzels and watermelon Jolly Ranchers.
So I went on a quest to find a more natural alternative to overcome insomnia without using sleeping pills or watching TV until I crash. Binge watching Orange is the New Black is a great way to catch up on all the latest drama, but it doesn’t help my work performance or the huge bags under my eyes. So, after much research (but no medical degree or ANYTHING like that, just me, not sleeping and wanting to sleep). . .
Here are my suggestions for four natural ways to cure insomnia:
1. Meditate: It’s calming, soothing and good for the soul. The challenge is getting past my inner chatter so my mind can become quiet. I try to focus on my awareness and breathe. I’m aware that I’m sitting in lotus position. I’m aware that my knees are killing me. And I’m aware that I have nothing to do but sit still and wait for the sleepiness to settle in. Waiting can be boring. If you don’t believe me, just remember the last time you had to stand in line at the DMV. When I’m bored I get sleepy, and that’s when I stop meditating and turn in (here’s a simple beginner’s guide to meditation if you want to start.)
2. Take a warm bath: I know many of you will say that a bath is relaxing. Especially bubble baths. But after ten minutes or so, the bubbles have fizzled out, the water temperature has dropped, and my fingers are pruning by the second. The key is actually to take a warm bath, not hot, because a warm bath will trick your body into artificially having to cool down and make you drowsy in the process—when we sleep our body temperature drops, so if you warm up your body by a few degrees (not to the point of HOT which will make you feel too hot for too long), and then get into a cool bed, you will fall asleep faster.
3. Read a boring book: Forget those riveting page turners, people! The key to zonking out like a pro is to read a boring book. Technical manuals are my go to. I’m currently in the middle of Mac for Dummies and I find it so intellectually mind-numbing that I can’t seem to get through the first chapter before my eyelids clamp shut. If I wake up in the middle of the night with a burst of energy, I just lift the open book off my chest and continue reading. Who needs teddy bears when you’ve got the entire Dummies series?
4. Foot rubs: I don’t know much about acupressure, but if you can make it through this video, there are some actual points you can rub on your ankles and feet that are supposed to help you sleep.. It only works for me if my boyfriend rubs my feet, and he doesn’t like giving massages that often. But when the dark circles under my eyes make me frighteningly unrecognizable, and I look like I’m going to eat his brains, then he’ll generously offer to massage my feet so I can conk out and get some much needed beauty sleep.
So the next time you’re suffering with insomnia, forget the sleeping pills and try one of my suggestions. What the heck, try them all. Relax in the tub and read the car maintenance manual while your boyfriend rubs your feet.