Oh man, Insomnia sucks… Everyone else is sleeping peacefully at 3 am and you are up channel surfing stupid infomercials and dreading another tired day. Sleep can become a source of anxiety which can further escalate the problem. Obviously we need a certain amount of sleep to function. If we aren’t sleeping well every area of our physical and mental well-being is going to suffer. Sleep is necessary for our bodies to regenerate, to reset, to process the events of the day and even store and file memories. But please don’t turn to potentially habit-forming sleeping pills. If you are a chronic insomniac there is probably an underlying cause that needs to be addressed.
Here are my tried and true tips for beating insomnia:
1. Magnesium. According to studies possibly up to 80% of Americans are magnesium deficient. Things like sugar, caffeine, stress, and alcohol leech or flush magnesium out of our bodies. Our over-processed food has been stripped of much of it’s magnesium. If you suffer from muscle cramps or anxiety you may have a severe deficiency. I noticed an immediate improvement in sleep when I started taking natural calm every night. You can also use magnesium sprays. Or take a supplement of magnesium citrate before bed. It works in many ways but is a natural muscle relaxant.
2. Melatonin. You probably only need 1 mg or less. you can also help regulate your internal clock by exposing your self to bright lights in the morning (tough in MN winters!) and keeping your bedroom pitch black and cool.
3. Essential oils. Many have calming properties that aid good sleep. Try a drop of lavender on your pillow every night. It smells great too!
4. Limiting Caffeine. I love my coffee but I try not to drink it after 2 pm. It takes at least 8 hours to process caffeine. Other sources include tea, pop, and chocolate.
5. Exercise. Especially in the morning or afternoon. It will rev you up or your day and then your body will be more tired at night.
6. Take time in the evening to process. Many people watch t.v. or surf the net before bed (I know I do sometimes!) or even worse, watch the news. Even if you don’t realize it, this is stressful to your psyche. Then you get into bed and your brain turns to the events of the day or whatever is worrying you… and you can’t fall asleep or sleep restfully. So try to take the hour before bed to wind down your mind. I like to talk with my husband. We laugh about silly things the kids did that day or talk about whatever is worrying us or on our heart. Then we pray together about those things. The very real act of releasing those worries and cares to God is so important. If you don’t have a praying spouse you can do it just as effectively by yourself. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter :7
7. Pray and come in agreement with scriptures about sleep. My favorites are:
- I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. Psalm 3:5
- In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8
- In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat– for he grants sleep to those he loves. Psalm 127:2
- When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Proverbs 3:24