I often find myself jealous of those individuals who can fall asleep within minutes of hitting their pillows. Of course, there are benefits to having to put more effort into falling asleep. For example, I have never worried about accidentally falling asleep when I was driving or sitting in an important meeting. However, sleep is still vital. I have spent lots of time reading helpful tips for falling asleep when you feel restless. There are plenty of ideas to help you fall asleep out there, but I personally have only found a few that have helped me with insomnia. Everyone is different, but here are some tips that have actually improved my ability to relax and get to sleep. (Note: I am not a doctor and do not have a background in a medical field, so you may want to check with a physician before trying these ideas.)
1. Take melatonin 2-3 hours before you go to bed. This is helpful if you are a night owl who doesn’t get sleepy when you need to go to bed. You may want to start at a low dosage such as 3mg and increase it if necessary. I found the lower dosages were not very effective for me.
2. Lie completely still for as long as you can. I did not realize how much I squirm when trying to fall asleep. It’s no wonder I would stay awake so long.
3. Take a deep breath and continue taking them. This can help you relax while distracting you from whatever is occupying your thoughts.
4. Think about something that involves no stress. Sometimes, I think about the cute thing our dog did earlier in the day or something similar that I can focus on for a few minutes.
5. Say a prayer to help you calm down, but don’t lie there repeating the same prayer. In my experience, praying over and over for a sense of calm just caused me to focus on the fact that I couldn’t sleep rather than helping me give it to God.
6. Do something relaxing that will consume your mind just before bed. This could be reading a book, watching a TV show (but avoid too much suspense or drama), or doing a puzzle. This helps me forget the stress of the day, even if it means going to bed a few minutes later.
7. Stop looking at clocks if you know you are going to worry about the amount of sleep you will get. We actually cover the clocks in our house after a certain time so that it’s harder to worry over the amount of time there is left to sleep.
8. Trust that God can actually get you through the next day even if you don’t sleep. If God has something He wants you to do, He will give you the strength and energy you need. Any success you have comes from Him anyway. Your ability to have a good day tomorrow does not depend on how much sleep you get but in what plans God has for you.
If worrying is an area you struggle in, I would suggest the following book by Perry Noble: Overwhelmed: Winning the War against Worry. It gives a Christian perspective of his very real struggle with anxiety and how to fight against it.
Have you found ways to calm yourself and get to sleep at night? Please feel free to share your tips in the comments below.
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