This post first appeared on Mona Andrei’s personal blog, Moxie-Dude.
I was lying in bed recently, tossing and turning and trying not to pull a muscle, when I got to thinking about the many ways I trick my body into falling asleep.
Now before you go and accuse me of plotting against my own body, know that I’m of the quasi-belief that my body is my temple. (And by temple I mean well-loved shed.)
I’m mindful of what I eat (most of the time); I exercise (at least once a month); and I listen when joints yell at me (knees can be very bossy).
And if you insist on pointing the finger, my body is the one who initiates the tricking – usually between 8 and 9 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time), when it starts to complain. (“Hey! I’m tired. Let’s go to bed.”)
And since my body is the only body I have, I obey by commencing the evening ritual.
I take a shower … I floss … I read … all with the intent of winding down until I’m finally ready to climb into bed so that my temple can rest and recover from the long day. I wouldn’t say that I “pamper” my body, but I do all the things I should and then I settle underneath the blankets knowing that I’ve done all that I can.
And when all through the house, not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse, I hear my body again.
“Just kidding. Let’s go write something.”
Suddenly the ceiling fan in my bedroom becomes the focal point of my frustration and I realize that my body had no intention of ever going to asleep. It tricked me!
This is usually about the time that I start plotting because apparently insomnia and my body are best friends and all they want to do is stay awake for the rest of my life.
This is also about the time that I discover a very reliable statistic:
According to the internet, insomnia is a worldwide problem.
I know this because every night when I can’t sleep I log on and realize that the rest of the world is already there.
And so I’ve decided to share with you my top 5 tips for tricking my body into falling asleep.
Disclaimer: I’m not saying these tips are foolproof. I’m just saying if you’re awake anyway, you may as well give them a try.
5 Ways to trick your body into managing your insomnia
- Don’t move. Don’t think. Just breathe. Some people call this meditating. I call it letting go of all the crap from the day.
- Get cool. Move your leg to a deserted corner of your mattress or your head to an unused spot on your pillow. Lowering your body temperature (sometimes) induces sleep.
- Move your clock ahead an hour. One thing I’ve noticed about insomnia is that it usually starts to wear off at about the time you need to get up. Setting your clock ahead will give you a whole hour of uninterrupted sleep. (Although for best results you should try to FORGET that you’ve set your clock ahead an hour.)
- Repeat your bedtime ritual. Get out of bed and go back to the beginning of your wind-down ritual. Brush your teeth (again). Wash your face (again). Pee (or pretend to; again). This will sometimes trick your body into anticipating bedtime and make it forget all about its need to frolic with insomnia.
- Think happy thoughts. Sometimes insomnia is caused by stress. By focusing on only the things that make you happy (such as chocolate or wine; or chocolate AND wine) you’ll release the stress that’s bottlenecking your melatonin levels and your body will naturally relax enough to finally fall asleep. Maybe.
Bonus: The one thing you should NEVER do when insomnia visits
Never, ever, EVER make a list. Lists of any kind are bad, bad, bad for sleeping.
This includes grocery lists, to-do lists, ways to manage your insomnia lists …
Starting a list is the best way to invite the Hamster to the insomnia party.
PS. I know this because this list was created in the middle of the night and I’m hoping that you’ll learn from my mistake.
PPS. If you have any tips for tricking your body into falling asleep, please share them in the comments. I’m still looking for that one trick of all tricks for managing my insomnia.