Science tells me that while I’m in bed, the moment I start taking an inventory of my day and mentally checking off to-do list items, my adrenal gland unleashes adrenaline and floods my body with sleep-depriving toxins, causing an increased heart rate, mental alertness and stress.
Science tells me that using technology in bed also causes an adrenaline overload and reduces my body’s melatonin levels, which tricks me into believing it is daytime.
Heck, science also tells me that the adverse effects of sleepless nights can make my brain’s emotional center unusually active, explaining grumpiness, giddiness and nausea throughout the day.
Though most of us employ methods to combat daytime drowsiness, whether through a double soy macchiato, Red Bull, naps, eye drops or some unusual form of yoga, this problem of restlessness will only continue without a proper solution.
Sleep often evades me until I am so exhausted that I collapse in my bed for what seems like a week. When I re-emerge from my slumber, friends bombard me with the usual onslaught of questions: Where have you been? Who’s the guy? Why do you go out so much? Followed by my usual answers: In Paris. It was a different one every night? And, I’m addicted. Kidding.
Unfortunately, I suffer from over analysis -- a curse, which will eventually wear out my adrenal gland (I am sure of it), as it deprives me from hours of sleep every night.
However, there is hope. Recently, I’ve tried different methods to curb my sleepless nights, which have surprisingly worked. Incorporating these ideas into your routine may give you a pleasant night’s sleep, despite how scientifically unfounded they may be.
Write down everything.
If you are anything like me, thinking can cripple you like Voldemort’s horcruxes ultimately crippled him. Although, you may not be able to completely switch off, writing down your thoughts and feelings can ease your frustrations. Your thoughts don’t have to be of “dear diary” quality, but a few phrases, affirmations or lists may do the trick.
Have a routine.
If you have a routine, it will become easier to sleep — I’m talking about a set wakeup and bedtime. Maybe there actually are scientific reasons for this, but from my experience, it is simply nice to have regular patterns that your body can follow.
Set a technology curfew.
Remember what I said about technology? Set a time and turn it off. If you can’t handle flicking the switch or need your phone for an alarm, change your settings to “do not disturb.”
Don’t sleep during the day.
Your parents probably already told you this one, but if you sleep late into the day or nap after 2:00 pm, it is likely that you will struggle to stay asleep at a reasonable hour. My advice — hold out. This means you will be so tired later that you will fall asleep easily.
Give yourself a food coma.
Ever heard of a food coma? It occurs when you eat so much food that your body can’t handle it and starts slipping into premature sleep. Utilize the food coma — it is a perfect way to drift into sweet, sweet dreams.
Drink a milky substance.
Don’t like eating before bed? Switch it up with a hot chocolate. Milk makes you feel warm inside and whilst you are thinking about how nice chocolate is, your mind isn’t stressing about important things.
Take a bath.
My theory is, the warmer and cleaner you are, the more relaxed you’ll feel. This obviously promotes healthy sleep. Some people struggle with bathing for the same reasons they struggle with sleeping: thinking. Good tunes are a great way to move past this problem.
Sometimes, sleeping in the same spot every night can make your bed lumpy and uncomfortable. Change it up. Swap sides and positions — there is nothing worse than an uncomfortable bed or an awkward peacock pose.
It is better out than in. If you have had a bad day, it is okay to let it out, rather than mull it over for the next eight hours. I’m not saying crying is necessary, but it can be cathartic and release built up frustration.
Clothes can be a burden in bed. They promote wedgies, heat exhaustion, dehydration and dry mouth — I also blame them for my snoring. If I were you, I’d just get rid of the clothes – life is better naked.
If none of these activities work, visit your physician for a physical. Run blood tests and figure out if there is something medical that might be causing your insomnia.
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