Five things I do for a better nights sleep

I have suffered from sleep problems on and off throughout my adult life, but the worst episode I had started 3 years ago and went on until last year. It is so debilitating and exhausting when you can’t sleep and trying to explain that weird ‘trapped’ feeling when your staring at the ceiling at 4am waiting for the sun to come up is impossible. 

Personally, I have decided to stay away from medication and try self care remedies.  I have managed to overcome my sleeping issues myself and although I know these steps won’t work for everyone they really helped me and now I can get off to sleep quickly almost every night. Here are a few simple tips and lifestyle changes that I have made which have really worked for me.

Go to bed earlier.

This may sound strange but this is the thing which has helped me the most I think. My acupuncturist told me that at 11pm we (humans) get a burst of energy and endorphins (this is where the phrase ‘burning the midnight oil’ comes from and why many artists and writers insist they do their best work in the middle of the night!).  We can avoid getting this burst if we are already asleep by 11pm! It might sound like the opposite of what you want to do if you have trouble dropping off but simply changing my regular bedtime to 10.30pm has made a really big difference to my routine.

Sorry, no lie ins!

Everyone’s insomnia is different and I know a lot of people can’t sleep in at all, but with me if I had a day off or late shift the next day I would often lie in until 10 or even 11am trying to ‘catch up’ on sleep. By forcing myself to get up at 6am every weekday for a workout and 8am on the weekends I have established a kick ass routine and by the time the evening comes around I’m shattered from getting up so early so fall asleep easier! You know when parents pack their kids’ weekends full of activities to ‘wear them out’ – well it works for us adults too!

A little bit of exercise every day.

I know it’s so easy to say but doing some exercise everyday has helped me to become a fitter, more active person and has definitely improved my sleeping, and my well being in general.

Stop trying too hard.

On the occasions I do go to bed and I can’t drop off I don’t stress about it like I used to. I leave the room (nothing worse than a deep-sleeping partner’s heavy breathing when you can’t drop off!) and usually have a bath or read a book. It doesn’t take long to start getting heavy eyelids.

ASMR.

This is a new one for me, but in someways has made the biggest difference. Sometimes there are some nights when I just can’t shut my brain off and when I close my eyes my head is buzzing with thoughts and stresses. This is when I get out my Ipad (on low brightness), plug in and listen to some ASMR videos on Youtube. I won’t go into too much detail as I’m no expert but ASMR ‘artists’ create videos using special microphones and sounds to create a sense of deep relaxation, and it really works! It’s sooooo relaxing. These videos have really helped me when all else fails and they have me drifting off in no time.

You can read more about ASMR here.

I do understand that these won’t work for everyone but I really hope that this might help someone – because I know how frustrating it can be! In our busy lives sleep is often the first thing to go and more and more doctors and researchers are proving just how important it is to our physical and mental health. If you are really struggling make sure you ease the burden by chatting it through with someone you are close to or your doctor.

Have you guys found any self-help methods for sleeping that really help you?

51 Comments

  1. Michelle August 15, 2016 / 9:43 am

    I beat insomnia in the following ways:
    1) Get up or at least wake up at the same time. My alarm goes off at 5am and I get up and play my instruments if it’s a work day. I find it easy to get out of bed, no matter how early, if I have something fun to do and breakfast planned.
    2) Drink warm milk an hour before going to bed.
    3) In bed, before sleeping, think about the Medulla region of the brain for no more than 5 minutes. Thinking about it sends extra blood flow there. It’s the area of the brain that regulates circadian rhythms. Almost always sleep soundly if I do this.
    4) Exercise. I like swimming regularly personally. If you’re staring at the ceiling, go for a run (if it’s safe to). Or do step ups. Or stretches.
    5) If it’s a chronic insomnia time, forget sleeping pills and try anti-anxiety. Works a treat. Also you can keep Xanax in a drawer and take one, or half of one, before a big day the next day.
    Good luck! Cheers!

    • Jessica Emily August 15, 2016 / 9:50 am

      Thank you for your comment! Sounds like you’ve done great beating your insomnia, I felt so happy when I worked out a routine that really works for me! Thanks for reading. x

  2. Kate March 14, 2017 / 8:24 pm

    Whenever I have lie ins it always ruins my sleeping pattern. Need to start going to bed early and getting up early! X

    Kate// itskaterose.com

    • Jessica Emily March 14, 2017 / 8:59 pm

      Totally agree! Sticking to a routine is so important for me x

  3. Chelsea March 15, 2017 / 8:19 pm

    This was an interesting read for me because I am actually currently having sleep problems – I’ve been battling it for about a year now. I went to see a doctor about it not too long ago, and strangely enough, she advised me AGAINST Insomnia medication, too many side effects apparently. She actually advised me to take over the counter sleep aids.. Kinda odd to hear form a doctor, but she told me to take them every single night if I have too..so that’s sorta what I do now, it helps, but it’s not something I want to do EVERY SINGLE NIGHT, so I’ll try to use some of these tips of yours, thanks!

    • Jessica Emily March 15, 2017 / 8:57 pm

      I agree, I really think medication is a last resort because it does have so many unfortunate side effects. Over the counter and herbal remedies can work, I’ve also been seeing an acupuncturist which has worked for me if your into that sort of thing! So glad you found this helpful and I hope you find something that works soon ☺ xxx

  4. Corinne & Kirsty March 15, 2017 / 8:22 pm

    I used to have insomnia coz I was on my laptop until right before going to bed and also coz I was really stressed out. So I decided to switch off all devices on hour before going to bed and read instead. It’s quite efficient. I guess establishing a new routine would help having a better sleep. They are all great advice. xx Corinne

    • Jessica Emily March 15, 2017 / 8:58 pm

      Yep turning off screens is a great one and very common 👍🏻 personally I don’t find screens before bed effect me but I know it does a lot of people ! Thanks for reading ! Xx

  5. Stacey March 15, 2017 / 8:23 pm

    This was such a useful post! I’ve really struggled lately getting to sleep because I’m so stressed so I’m definitely going to give some of these a try to help me drift off!

    • Jessica Emily March 15, 2017 / 8:58 pm

      Stress is such a big factor and cause of insomnia – I hope you find some of these help you lovely! Xxx

  6. Abi March 15, 2017 / 8:34 pm

    I totally agree with no lie ins! I used to have a terrible sleeping pattern but since I’ve started getting up early I have been sleeping so much better! Loved this post, has some great tips!

    • Jessica Emily March 15, 2017 / 8:59 pm

      Thanks lovely! Lie ins are a killer to the routine – unfortunately!! Xx

  7. EmmaLanglands March 15, 2017 / 8:35 pm

    I have never had insomnia but I’m all about earlier bedtime and getting up early!! It helps get into a routine, and makes you feel so much better xox

    • Jessica Emily March 15, 2017 / 8:59 pm

      Yep it’s all about a steady routine for me, it’s helped me so much in all areas of my life! Thanks for your comment ! Xxx

  8. A Love Affair with beauty March 15, 2017 / 8:35 pm

    This post has been really useful. I have trouble getting to sleep most nights, mostly my brain just won’t switch off and stop thinking about all the stuff I need to do or have already done! Going to give the ASMR a go. Thanks!

    • Jessica Emily March 15, 2017 / 9:01 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment, I hope you find something that works for you. I often feel like I can’t switch my brain off and ASMR videos really help me! There are so many videos and such a wide range so it takes a while to find something that relaxes you but I think it’s great! Xxx

  9. Lydia March 15, 2017 / 8:38 pm

    I’ve been dealing with really bad insomina for the past few months – it’s so bad I can’t even lead my normal life. I’ve tried everything but I don’t seem to be able to sleep. I’ve even tried self hypnosis via YouTube vids! They work sometimes, but only if im already quite tired so want to go to sleep But if I’m wide awake then they are no help!
    I hope this stops soon – I’ll defo be trying some of these tips😩

    • Jessica Emily March 15, 2017 / 9:02 pm

      I’m sorry to hear you are struggling Lydia and I really hope you get it sorted soon! It’s so tough I know exactly how you feel. Stress is such a factor and the more stressed we get about sleeping the worse it gets right! I hope some of these help you, but if not please chat to someone about it ☺☺ xxx

  10. Nusha March 15, 2017 / 8:42 pm

    Haven’t heard of ASMR before, but would have ti check that out now ! Great tips btw xx

    • Jessica Emily March 15, 2017 / 9:02 pm

      I love ASMR – it always works for me xxx

  11. Rachael March 15, 2017 / 8:43 pm

    I did not realise that about the 11pm thing! I’m totally going to start trying to go to sleep earlier! My mum always told me lie ins make you sleep less!
    PaleGirlRambling xo

    • Jessica Emily March 15, 2017 / 9:05 pm

      I know I was amazed! It’s seriously been a revelation haha! Thanks for reading xxx

  12. Cydney March 16, 2017 / 9:41 am

    So true about excercise, I always sleep better when having done a workout. Also I’ve banned my phone from the bedroom the past week and I sleep so much better!

    • Jessica Emily March 16, 2017 / 9:50 am

      Glad you’ve found something that works for you!! Thanks for commenting xx

    • Jessica Emily March 16, 2017 / 6:56 pm

      Exercise is so good for everything! Once you get going it does so much good xx

  13. Elly March 16, 2017 / 5:20 pm

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time, I’m absolutely useless at sleeping properly at the moment. I’ve been trying to go on evening runs for gentle exercise to try and wear myself out a little bit, and little things like not using my phone in bed or reading in bed because your body ends up connecting your bed with not sleeping!

    • Jessica Emily March 16, 2017 / 6:59 pm

      So glad you liked it and hope you find some of this helpful. You’re not alone with sleeping issues I feel you girl! It’s hard but you’ll get there 🙂 xx

  14. Megan Lisa March 16, 2017 / 5:28 pm

    Great post! Needing to get up early for my job every day has really helped me get into a routine and fall asleep much quicker because as you said by night time you are exhausted! Totally agree x

    • Jessica Emily March 16, 2017 / 7:01 pm

      I really think routine is the answer! It helped me a lot when I started working full time too 🙂 xx

  15. Candice March 16, 2017 / 5:32 pm

    I think I need to try some ASMR! Great neat post on sleep tips.

    • Jessica Emily March 16, 2017 / 7:01 pm

      I know it sounds pretty odd but I love it! Sooo relaxing xx

  16. Chloe March 16, 2017 / 5:34 pm

    These are some really good tips, Jessica! I tend to only sleep 7 hours a night, as anymore is too much and gives me horrific headaches. Also, I find that if I stay in all day, I tend to feel more sluggish and cr*ppy for ot going out and it does affect my sleep. I’ve heard quite a bit about ASMR, but never really looked into it properly. Great post!

    – Chloe
    chloetommo.co.uk
    xoxo

    • Jessica Emily March 16, 2017 / 7:03 pm

      Thanks so much Chloe. I agree about staying in all day I tend to do it very rarely. Even if I’m working from home I’ll go for a quick walk at lunchtime to clear my head. It’s a great tip! Thanks for reading x

  17. Lizzie March 16, 2017 / 5:41 pm

    I’ve been having so much trouble going to sleep lately it’s driving me insane. My mind is always active even though my body is tired, so I’m going to have to take a leaf out of your book and listen to some ASMR music!

    • Jessica Emily March 16, 2017 / 7:03 pm

      It’s so tough when that happens. I really hope it works for you xx

  18. amber March 16, 2017 / 5:45 pm

    I always try to stick to a routine and go to bed/get up at the same time but lay ins are my weakness! great post

    https://letsgotravel.blog/

    • Jessica Emily March 16, 2017 / 7:04 pm

      hehe I allow myself one lay in a week – on a Sunday! Thanks for reading Amber xx

    • Jessica Emily March 16, 2017 / 7:05 pm

      Absolutely agree! I’ve started weekly yoga lately and it’s hard but I’m feeling the benefits. Great tip. Thanks for reading! xx

    • Jessica Emily March 16, 2017 / 7:06 pm

      I have to be pretty strict with myself, there always seems to be something better to do in the evenings than sleep! But my body thanks me in the morning if I’m in bed by 10pm 🙂 Thanks for your comments xx

  19. Jadirah Sarmad March 17, 2017 / 7:04 am

    This has been my biggest struggle for years too, and I am grateful that you shared this. I have heard of ASMR before but have never tried it for bed. xx

    Jadirah Sarmad | Jasmine Catches Butterflies ʚϊɞ

  20. Poppy Mayy March 17, 2017 / 1:25 pm

    What a helpful post. I don’t necessarily have trouble getting to sleep, I just have problems getting up. So maybe if I implement these tips I could see some improvements…

    • Jessica Emily March 17, 2017 / 8:08 pm

      Yeah I do think a routine has helped me with getting up too! But mysteriously not on a Sunday morning though .. 😂 I wonder why! Thanks for the comment x

    • Jessica Emily March 19, 2017 / 6:12 pm

      Wow – thanks so much for the support Lisa! x

  21. Felicia-Juliana March 22, 2017 / 12:48 pm

    These are great suggestions especially ASMR, i suffer from anxiety and when it was at its peak that was the only way i could unwind and get some shut eye. xfjx

  22. Helena March 22, 2017 / 2:02 pm

    These are some great ideas, im in the habbit of catching up on my sleep and then not being able to sleep that night!

  23. olivia March 29, 2017 / 10:16 pm

    great tips! I’m such a bad sleeper i go to bed too late and can’t stay off my phone!

  24. Holly Shannon April 4, 2017 / 11:13 am

    I go to bed early enough, but stay awake watching tv or reading on my phone (I have special light filter so it doesn’t keep my brain getting all hyper) but I need to stop doing that and just go to sleep instead!! xx

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