For as long as I can remember I have struggled with sleep. Unfortunately, sleeping is one of my biggest hobbies and it helps me to digest things that I experience during the day. A troubled night can have multiple reasons. For me, it’s the most common reason: during the day I can easily ‘turn off’ my thoughts but, the moment my head touches the pillow my brain works overtime. I overthink everything: it can be something stupid I said 3 years ago or I’m having compulsive thoughts: “Did I lock the front door!?”. Do you also have trouble sleeping? Or do you recognize my struggles? Read this article to receive some sleeping tips.
1. Be as relaxed as possible: most of the time I’m busy during the day. I go from one appointment to another. It’s really important to take rest moments during the day. Take for example an extra-long lunch break, or a short siesta on the couch. This will help you be more relaxed at night. Before going to sleep try to put away your phone or anything with a blue light. Or take a relaxing shower, bath or read a book. I also keep a sleep diary, where I write down all of the thoughts that keep bugging me, this helps me to ‘write away’ any annoying lingering thoughts.
2. Have peace with it: it is normal to feel frustrated when you can’t sleep. You blame everything, you feel powerless and start to get angry. This frustration only resolves into more tension and adrenaline which is not a good thing if you’re trying to relax. My tip: don’t pressure yourself to sleep, read a book, listen to a podcast or go for a walk. This distraction will calm you. Distract yourself for half an hour or as long as you need it and try getting back asleep.
3. Find the right medication for you: If all these tips don’t work for you and you feel your lack of sleep influences your professional and private life, it might be a good idea to try medication. I tried everything in my power to improve my sleep: special diets, homoeopathic treatments and special anti-stress workshops. All of these things didn’t work for me and after 4 sleepless nights in a row, I started to break down. I had to call in sick for work and had to cancel a fun weekend I had planned with one of my best friends. I decided to talk to my general practitioner. He prescribed me anti-depressants. These pills worked for me but they are highly addictive so I could not take them every night. Medication pulled me through these stressful times and helped me feel at ease again. You can also choose to try more innocent medication for example melatonin or calming herbs. I’ve tried almost all of them and melatonin and “Valerian” work a bit for me. All these herbs and a light version of melatonin are available at Kruidvat or other pharmacies.
I am aware that I will struggle with sleep for the rest of my life, it runs in my family and it is just something I have to deal and live with.
Note: these tips worked for me, everyone is different, look out for yourself and talk with your general practitioner for personal advice.
Want more tips on how to improve your sleep? Read this article: https://hub.buas.nl/post/389