In Part 1, I talked about some of the issues I’ve had with insomnia in the past, as well as what I thought the possible reasons were. Below are three things that have helped me when I am suffering from troubled sleep patterns. So, they are not the things that I actively practice every day, although I do believe they would help me more, if I used these strategies more often.
If you have tried and tested strategies that have helped you it would be wonderful to hear them.
Write down what you’re going to do the night before in order of importance
Warning: this is definitely the most ‘boring’ tip of the three. If you’re don’t like lists you might want to skip this one. On the other hand, if you’re really suffering from lack of sleep, why not give a try? This tip actually comes from author-turned-politician-turned-general-social-media-loudmouth, Louise Mensch (formerly Bagshawe).
I do this by having the first and important ‘must do’ list, of which there might be three or four items. Then the other categories follow in a more general order from this. These might be related to a specific work project, or broader things such as 'writing', or 'family'.
The first list contains the things that are both important and timely. If items on the minor lists haven’t been completed, they simply get bumped up or rolled over to the following day.
This might seem more of a time management activity than one that combats sleeplessness. However, in Part 1, I mentioned that one of my anxieties around sleeplessness was fear of a lack of time. This activity gives me a feeling of accomplishment before going to bed, and a sense of looking forward to what I will achieve the next day.
Wake up early
Well they say that you're either a morning person or you're night person. I always say that I'm a morning and a night person, and it's true. What I'm not, however, is a late afternoon person, and this has caused me some noticeable problems when working fixed-hours jobs, such as in an office or in retail.
The book 'Daily Rituals' by Mason Currey lists the daily routines of a great number of celebrated people; writers, philosophers, musicians, scientists, etc. Of course, they don't all get up early (I'm talking earlier than 6am), but a significant number of them do.
For me, waking up early has the clear advantage that by I'm usually tired by 10pm and looking forward to sleeping, and this goes some way to eliminating my fundamental fear of sleep.
Sleepy Time is your friend.
I love Sleepy Time; a great app that tells me when I should go to sleep for the time I want to wake up, which is usually how I use it. However, it can also tell me when to wake up based on the time that I'm going to sleep (if you see what I mean).
I don't use it every day mind you, nor every week. I habitually use an alarm clock, but use Sleepy Time for when I have to wake up at a ridiculous hour for something very important (usually plane travel, but could be a meeting involving any kind of travel, or just any morning meeting. I also use it if I'm having trouble sleeping in the following way. Maybe I have been listening to music or watching a film, or reading. When I've crossed over the line into way past my bedtime territory, Sleepy Time is great at telling me when I should aim to put the book down and go to sleep, and still be fresh in the morning. It has never let me down.