Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What Do You Do When You Can't Sleep?

What Do You Do When You Can't Sleep

Late night scrolls on Twitter lead me to believe that I am not in this alone, yes as you may have guessed I have huge problems with falling asleep. It is not that I don't want to sleep (trust me I do, I really do) but for periods both my mind and body simply seem to forbid this from taking place. I am cautious of throwing around the term insomnia, it is so overused and to an extend misunderstood. Insomnia isn't missing the odd night of sleep here and there, rather it is when you go weeks, maybe even months of never having the satisfaction of a good rest.

What Do You Do When You Can't Sleep

I don't have insomnia but I do massively struggle and it forever seems to be when the seasons change. Pretty much like clockwork, four times a year and for as long as I can recall, my sleep pattern becomes disturbed and for a week or so, I really struggle catching 40 winks. I say week or so, we are now edging into week three with next to no improvement; as a result I am beyond miserable and really falling behind in both life and work. In the past I have used my lack of rest to work, bored of trying to sleep, I would crack open the laptop and type away but at the moment I'm too exhausted to compose coherent sentences for it to be worthwhile. Rather I've become hooked on pod casts, I wish I could say they drift me off into the land of nod but they don't; in fact they are probably counteractive, stimulating my brain rather than helping me to unwind.

With that in mind, I have began turning off all technology (phone included) and curling up in bed with a book an hour before calling it a night. I do feel like it helps to some degree, in that my body feels more relaxed and ready for sleep but more often than not my mind still races away. I go to bed around 11pm and can find myself see 4am come and go. Frustrating.

Being a beauty blogger I have of course tried and tested many a sleep based beauty product: from sprinkling lavender and chamomile essential oils onto a tissue and placing it under my pillow, to sleep mists bedding (I swear by Avon Sleep Serenity Spray).  I've also dabbled with Neom Tranquillity Products - namely the Intensive Deep Sleep Treatment which you apply to the pulse points to help promote a restful evening of sleep. When I remember I also pop a little blend of essential oils into my oil burner, in the hope they will help soothe and relax my mind and body. No such luck at the moment.

So yes, nothing is working and I am at a loss. I apologise for the desperate and slightly whiny post but the circles under my eyes are now of panda like proportions (the main difference is that they are far cuter than I will ever be but we are equally as hairy) and I will probably try just about anything other than sleeping tablets for a blissful, 8 hours of sleep. If you have any tips, tricks, heck even an old wives tale will suffice at this point, please share and enlighten me within the comments.

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  1. These pictures were so perfect!

  2. I went through a stage a month back when I STRUGGLED to sleep - so bad! My mind just wouldn't switch off. Here's the thing, you can actually ONLY think of 1 thing at a time, you can't multi-task lots at the same time, your brain actually has to switch. SO counting down from 1000 is kinda boring, but definitely sleep inducing, if your mind wonderes pull yourself back to the number. Keep counting down and then you suddenly feel all dozy!

    Warm baths before bed, warm milk (theres stuff in milk that helps release sleep hormones) and just anything that will help relax you are all great too :)

    hope it helps :)

  3. You really need to try the This Works Deep Sleep + - it's the best thing I've ever tried! It's clinically proven to make you fall asleep and wake up feeling more rested! I got a sample size and after using it for two nights in a row, I've bought the massive 150ml version as its literally a miracle worker!!!! xx

  4. Keep a colouring book at the side of the bed, rather than picking up something electronic (blue light keeps us awake) or a reading book (I find myself forcing myself to stay awake until I've finished the chapter). A colouring book with some not so intricate patterns and a simple pack of pencils will probably help. The sound of the pencils and the action of colouring really soothes me and helps me get to sleep.

  5. I've had insomnia coupled with depression for the last couple of years so I feel your pain. Lack of sleep continuously is so damaging - if you can just get some decent sleep, things feel so much better. Here's some of the things I do:

    Use f.lux on laptop (removes blue light as the sun goes down).
    I have the Lumie bodyclock Active 250 (great as a nightlight that gradually turns off as you go to sleep and comes on again slowly when you need to get up)
    I use a MadeByZen Aroma Diffuser and put in essential oils like Lavender, Valerian Root, Hop, etc, to wind down in the evening - I love this thing, I'd replace it immediately if ever it broke. I've got about 60 essential oils now so it's great to scent the house depending on my mood.
    Melatonin by NOW vitamins or Jarrow - swear by this, I take one about an hour before bed.
    Pillow sprays - as you say, the Avon one is great and I also love the This Works ones and the new l'Occitane one.
    If your mind is racing, try getting youtube on your phone and search for 'guided meditation sleep' and try some of those with some comfy full size headphones. Mindfulness helps with mind-racing too.
    I've even tried binaural beats on youtube too (try fulllengthbinaurals channel) - I think it's Delta for sleep and you have to use headphones with these as it's the difference in note between left and right ear that produces the wave - very odd but works for me when all else has failed.

    Hope you crack it soon, there's nothing worse!

  6. interesting! my hubby has insomnia really badly, so I wonder if these would work for him?

  7. Mindfulness meditation - the Body Scan technique. I had chronic insomnia (for 7+ years!) and this "cured" it almost instantly. It's incredible. It basically involves channelling your attention to your body and thinking of nothing else (e.g. to stop the mental chatter that is probably keeping you awake). Google it. It's amazing.

  8. I've never tried any sleeping spray or scent, either on myself or my bedding. But i think i will try this now! I'm keen to see how it will go. Anything to cut down on my caffeine intake during the day atm xx

  9. I was just thinking of writing something very similar! I've always been a bad sleeper, or so my parents tell me. What usually helps me, is working out and kind of making myself reaally tired. I've also been trying out a meditation & mindfulness app called Calm lately. It comes with various session for anxiety and sleeping problems and you can choose to play a relaxing rain or ocean sound at the background. The only negative thing I have to say about it is that you have to switch the app off when you're done with the session, which does wake me up sometimes. But it's worth giving a try :)
    Emma xx

  10. I've been a bad sleeper as long as I can remember but here are a few things that have really improved my sleep since I started doing them meticulously every day/evening.
    1. Have regular sleep patterns, go to bed a the same time and get up at the same time. Try not to have a lie in after a long night or if you couldn't sleep the night before.
    2. Do not eat or drink anything that will keep you awake. I have one cup of coffee in the morning and nothing with caffeine after midday. Don't eat any sweets (or anything really) 1 to 2 hours before going to bed. I found this to help most with stopping my mind from racing.
    3. Switch off any electronic devices at least half an hour before you want to go to sleep. I see you're already doing this, it really helps!
    4. Try going to bed LATER! I always panicked if I hadn't gone to sleep by 12 and I always tried going to sleep around 11. Now I read until midnight and then try and go to sleep, it helps.
    5. Make your bed a happy place! Don't stay in bed if you can't sleep and try not to use your laptop/phone in bed at all. Your brain needs to connect the bed with "now I go to sleep!" rather than "now I do some work", "now I read" or similar.
    6. If you sleep with a partner, get two duvets!
    7. Fresh air helps, so open the window before you go to bed. If you get cold, use a blanket rather than closing the window.
    8. If it's noisy, use ear plugs (I can recommend the german brand ohropax - you can get the waxy type of ear plugs on amazon).
    9. Let your mind race for 10 min or so every evening. Just don't do anything other than think and get all the stuff "out".

    I hope these help! It sounds simple but if you do most/all of these, I can guarantee you, it'll get better! Good luck!

    1. These are some great tips, thanks!

  11. Thank you, aubloomiel. I hope that your advice will help me to fall asleep more easily. Even I have nights when I fall asleep at 4 - 5 am, although I go to bed at 12 at night.

  12. The only thing that's ever really helped me to actually get to sleep consistently is lying as still as I possibly can whilst focusing on my breathing. Staying asleep is a whole other story, though.

    Claudia Harriet

  13. I do go through periods of really struggling to sleep and am currently going through one at the moment. It's been about a week now and I don't think I've been tired at all. I've been going to bed about 3am and just hoping for sleep and usually it does happen after maybe an hour or so. I've never tried any of the products that are supposed to help you drift off to sleep because they all appear to contain lavender. Apparently it;s supposed to be relaxing but I can't stand the smell and a few years ago discovered that's probably because I'm also allergic to it x

    Becky @ The Little Blog of Beauty

  14. When all else fails, stop fighting it? Try staying up, past four past six past seven and wait until night time rolls around and let your natural tiredness put you to bed at 11?
    I get pretty terrible insomnia too and sometimes this works for me. A lot of the time insomnia happens when I'm really stressed and I'm thinking too hard about how much sleep I can get if I just fall asleep at xx time.
    Or maybe try reverse psychology haha. Like if you stop thinking of it as "Let me!" And instead start thinking like "Ok body you absolutely have to stay awake!" You might find yourself really sleepy all of a sudden.
    All else fails there's over the counter sleeping teas (Those work better for me than pills).
    Good luck!

  15. When I was little I used to have this problem, until my mum told me how she falls asleep, and for some reason it just works. I will find something I know completely, a TV show, a book, and start at the beginning and try to remember all the details without swaying away from the storyline, I still to this day use the Harry Potter books, I start at 1 and remember all the details, it's boring but it works, your brain gets fed up of remembering things it knows so well so just falls asleep lol... Well it may sound crazy but it works for me! I know my other half does the same but with golf courses haha


  16. I used to suffer from severe insomnia for 2 years and my life was complete hell. In that time I'd been on every sleep medication you can think of, prescribed hormones, seen sleep specialists etc and my circadian rhythm was completely all over the place. Some great tips I picked up over those years were if you haven't fallen asleep within the first 15 minutes of going to bed, get up. If you stay in it longer and your body doesn't go to sleep, your mind doesn't then associate your bed as a place to sleep. Also cutting out caffeine, no big meals late on etc and turning off all technology around an hour and a half before bed to switch your mind off.

  17. I've always been a bad sleeper. It's as if my brain waited for my head to ht the pillow to completely wake up and re-live every moment of that day and try and guess what will happen tomorrow. I find that a few things help: a quick gentle yoga practice before bed, a bath, no technology, herbal tea, a book... I think it is more the ritual. I also like listening to Headspace, which is a mindfulness app, or a podcast. Above all, if I starting telling myself I KNOW I am eventually going to go to sleep, I stop trying so hard and snooze more easily. Hope it helps! Good luck!

    Inma x

  18. Ugh, I am totally in the same position as you! I would love to try using Twitter to keep me occupied but I just haven't been able to get into it. Some things that help ever so slightly for me is an herbal tea and a book!

    xo kayla

  19. Unfortunately my doctor has told me I have insomnia so I know exactly how you're feeling! The whole artificial stimulants have such an effect on your body (coffee, technology, sugar etc). I've been given sleeping pills but I don't want to rely on them and try to fix it myself. I haven't however tried any products to put on my pillow, so I might give some of those you listed a whee look! Would love to see more posts on this if you find any sort of remedy!

    - Louise x

  20. Clipper sleep easy tea (you can get in my in most uk supermarkets) helps me sometimes. I have had similar problems for periods in my life and have tried most of the things you have. I think the tea helps most if you have a really large mug if it (and sometimes I also use the herbal nytol tablets with it) but it does mean I need the loo quite early in the morning.

  21. I get anxious when trying to sleep so I keep a little notebook by my bed and just write for a while, which has been helping

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