Complimentary Strategies for Sleeplessness
Updated: Mar 30, 2020
There are a number of strategies that people can use sometimes to compliment medications or even if they are not taking medications but just having a hard time falling asleep.
1. Circadian Rhythms are partly set by your schedule of eating. Eating a healthy meal when you wake up, and trying not to eat after 7pm at latest can help to set the rhythm back to a day-night cycle.
2. Notice your intake of caffeine. EEG studies have found that taking caffeine later in the afternoon or evening can disrupt deep sleep patterns in the brain. The ratio of REM and deep “delta wave” sleep is disrupted by caffeine. Though the exact hour to stop probably depends on your individual metabolism, 1pm or 2pm gives time for most regular coffee drinkers to have it out of their system by the time they go to bed.
3. If you find yourself lying down but not falling asleep, perhaps you are not "tired enough." Though it sounds counter-intuitive, you may risk much time and may bring about a sort of “sleep anxiety,” or sleep stress about falling asleep. Try to get a sense for how tired you are feeling. Sometimes having slept more than usual the night before and feeling quite awake, it might be better to enjoy book.
4. Use caution with supplements and sleeping pills, as any other drug, they can at times develop an iatrogenic effect. Find a balance that works well for you perhaps by talking with your prescriber.
5. Consider trying neurofeedback or biofeedback. Talk to a certified neurofeedback clinician about this option and if it might be a good fit for you. Neurofeedback can be a non-invasive, low-side-effect way to help get back into a normal sleep routine.
7. Try a mindfulness meditation, or a youtube guided muscle relaxation or sleep induction meditation. Michael Sealey has a number of sleep meditations on youtube (that are not ad-interrupted) which I have found useful for myself.