Updated: Mar 10
The other night, I had a bout of insomnia. I woke up. Wide away, as if I’d had a full night’s sleep. Eyes opened. PING!
But it was 3 in the morning. Even the dog (for once) was soundo. I laid there for a bit trying to get back to sleep. Then I got up to go to the toilet. On my way back to bed, Rocket (my dog) raised his head to see what was going on.
I laid in bed some more. I put my lavender eye pillow on, fluffed my other pillow and lay there.
At this point, the dog decided it was time for him to get up and use the facilities in the garden- and bark at the shadow (Sorry if you’re one of my neighbours reading this).
Normally, when the dog decides he needs to go out in the middle of the night, both my husband and I lay there seeing who can ‘fake-sleep’ the best. The loser is chosen by the dog- who then will keep pouncing on the loser’s chest and bark at them until they get up. Usually, I’m the winner.
I know I shouldn’t turn on the lights to wake myself further, however, my dog is afraid of the dark. So, on came all the stairwell lights and the downstairs lights.
Eventually, we did make it back to bed. Remember- I have a teen and a pre-teen, so getting up in the middle of the night is well and truly behind me. I didn’t think about this when I adopted Rocket, who has the world’s tiniest bladder!
By this point, it was 4 am. And still sleep eluded me.Then I remembered my top tips for insomnia.
My Top Tips to Improve your Sleep
Use an eye pillow. It doesn’t have to be scented. The weight on the space between our eyebrows stimulates your vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is responsible for our rest and digest response (Parasympathetic nervous system)
I only use one pillow under my head. I adjust it so that it supports my head and neck. BUT, I use a second (thin) pillow on top of my head. It rests just at the crown of the head, ending on my forehead. It adds a bit more weight to the eye pillow if I’m on my back, and adds that extra ear muff for if the husband is snoring.
Squeeze and Release. Working my way from my toes to my head, I squeeze different parts of the body for 3-5 seconds, and then relax them: feet, legs, buttocks, belly, arms, hands, face.
Breathing. I exhale for twice as long as I inhale. I start with breathing in for 3 counts, then exhale for 5-6 counts. Sometimes I make my way up to 4 beats in, and seven or eight beats out.
The next thing I knew, my alarm was ringing! I had managed to finally fall back asleep.
Other tips I use to help me get a good night’s sleep, and usually avoid insomnia:
No caffeine after 4 pm
If I take a nap in the afternoon, then I always set an alarm. No longer than 59 minutes.
Magnesium lotion to help soothe any aching muscles and joints, which helps further relax the body.
All the lights in my room are covered or off. I am talking about the teeny-tiny lights from my phone, tablet and electric blanket.
I keep a notebook next to my bed to write down random thoughts or reminders for the next day so that they don’t play on my mind.
I hope this helps you a bit if you suffer from sleepless nights. And if you do have any tips for the dog, do let me know in the comments!