Today’s topic is insomnia, and we’ll discuss how to deal with insomnia in this article. In a previous article, I wrote about excitation and inhibition of the nervous system. These are the driving forces of sleep and wakefulness. In the morning, when you wake up, the nervous system is excited. It is dispersed by hormones: adrenaline, cortisol, and dopamine. If the nervous system cannot slow down by the evening, it will not be possible to fall asleep.
Imagine the situation. You fall asleep, and suddenly there is a flood or a fire. You understand that the problem is dangerous, so sleep relieves like a hand. Note that you are not explicitly regulating sleep. It is impossible to force yourself to fall asleep or cheer up by willpower out of the blue. It happens spontaneously. Falling asleep and waking up is controlled by the subconscious. Therefore, it is essential to be able to contribute to the subconscious.
Causes of Insomnia
The subconscious mind sometimes does not distinguish between illusion and reality. Even fantasy can cause insomnia.
You may have noticed that it is difficult to fall asleep if you fight bedtime. The hormone cortisol is used. Even if you just imagined a fight or a fight in your head, cortisol still enters the bloodstream, and you wake up. The subconscious mind takes fantasy for reality, fixes a dangerous situation – and, as it were, concludes that it is time to wake up: “Here’s the energy, come on, go solve the problem!”
The subconscious mind takes fictitious problems for real and accelerates the nervous system. Therefore, your subconscious mind needs to “explain” what situation you are in.
Notice how useful it is for your subconscious mind to awaken and give strength when urgently needed. But the problem is that the subconscious mind does not always interpret situations correctly. Therefore, it includes false alarms. Maybe you watched an action-packed thriller before going to bed, and your subconscious mind took an imaginary battle for the present. And the nervous system got excited.
What you do before bed has a significant impact on sleep. Your actions tell the subconscious mind what situation you are in: is it possible to exhale and sleep or not.
When you crawl on a social network before going to bed, flipping through Instagram, studying some directory on the Internet, sorting through videos on YouTube, your ancient subconscious mind “does not understand” what you are doing. To the subconscious, your internet surfing means you’ve found a source of abundance. Perhaps a clearing dotted with sweet berries. And we must have time to collect everything. Therefore, you are allocated energy for business and do not want to sleep at all. If a lot of energy is released, you will not want to sleep until late at night.
When you are surfing the Internet, your subconscious mind does not “understand” that you are receiving it. They are not engaged in any significant business; you are not trying to snatch anything of value. Just broaden your search for the fun to catch the dopamine burst – the burst of energy and fleeting joy.
Interest, excitement, and search tell the subconscious mind that it needs energy. Therefore, before going to bed, nothing interesting can be done. We remove all the action, all the search activity, all the interesting and exciting. An hour or two before bedtime, do something calm and monotonous, such as reading. Non-fiction educational literature will do.
Then the subconscious will make sure that you are safe, nothing special is happening, you are not late, you are not missing anything, and you can no longer allocate energy for action. You can go recharge. And the subconscious begins to calm down.
Your subconscious mind should grasp that your space is not a clearing with valuable berries before going to bed but a warm, cozy cave.
Deficient Rest Hours
There is one fascinating self-deception that interferes with healthy sleep. It is often practiced by owls and freelancers – people who do not have a strict daily regimen.
Let’s say your working day ends around 19:00. You worked all day, and now you need to spend a couple more hours on household chores: cooking dinner, raising children, cleaning, and other tasks. And only after 21:00, the long-awaited rest begins. How long will it last? Two or three hours? And since these hours are so scarce, meaningful, and necessary, you involuntarily extend them.
Nobody likes to feel the boundaries of relaxation. I want to perceive rest as limitless. And to have more rest, you start to stretch the evening. It seems, “I’m just lengthening the rest.” I’m borrowing from my tomorrow. Later I get up, later finish tomorrow’s business, and after start tomorrow’s rest.
It would help if you didn’t consider the evening as a time of endless rest. Set aside a specific time for entertainment. And set yourself up in advance with the fun to say goodbye.
When you tell your child: “finish the game quickly and get busy!” it sounds like a sentence to him.
It is impossible to finish the game quickly and switch right away. Rebuilding is always stressful. Simply put, it’s a bummer. We unconsciously avoid abrupt restructuring in any business.
Therefore, tune in in advance to interrupt your rest at a specific hour. Don’t think of rest as a dimensionless time after nine. Give yourself a particular time limit to stop active recreation. And an hour before this border starts to say goodbye to rest. Tune in in advance that the rest will end – and it will not be so exciting but calm.
If you don’t tune in to go to bed on time in advance, you imperceptibly postpone going to bed. The subconscious mind looks forward to the banquet and dopamine production (the hormone of joyful anticipation). As a result, every next hour seems more and more valuable and exciting. The nervous system gets excited, and you can’t stop. So you can spend the whole night. You put your body to sleep, and the subconscious mind continues the banquet. The result is insomnia.
To get enough sleep, you need a daily regimen. It helps you tune in to sleep. The body gets used to the phases of awakening and falling asleep and releases the appropriate hormones at the correct times.
Be mindful of how you spend your time.
Effective Techniques to Deal with Insomnia?
Many people notice that thoughts prevent them from falling asleep. And if you turn off your ideas, you fall asleep. Only ordinary, everyday thoughts interfere with falling asleep. When thoughts lose clarity and become vague, you fall into oblivion and fall asleep. You can intuitively tune in to this blurry, fuzzy thinking to fall asleep. Next, I will describe two techniques that will help with this.
Technique 1: Fade
When you go to bed, you can tinker for a while, turn around until you find a comfortable position. And when found, you need to calm down and freeze.
After five minutes, relaxation and freezing shut off the familiar sensations from the body. You start to lose your boundaries and disconnect from reality.
Technique 2: Contemplation
When you lie down and calm down, focus on the tip of your nose. Feel it without being distracted by thoughts. When you meditate on the end of your nose, your mind cannot illuminate the activity with concrete, straightforward ideas for long. For the mind, the touch of the tip of the nose is indistinct. Focusing on a specific point distracts from the usual flow of thought.
Combine both techniques. First, you relax and freeze. Then focus on the tip of the nose. It plunges into oblivion, and you fall asleep.
In the last article, I already talked about the effects of caffeine on the body. Not everyone is sensitive to their body, so the effects of caffeine on the body are often underestimated.
It is believed that caffeine increases the tone for four hours. Caffeine can work all day and night. As if you turned the ignition key, the car starts – and the engine runs until all fuel is consumed.
Pay attention to your condition after strong tea and coffee. If you have trouble sleeping, stimulants are contraindicated for you.
Additional Tricks to Deal with Insomnia
Fresh cool air helps to fall asleep. Please manage to keep the temperature in the bedroom around 18 degrees.
The room should be as dark as possible. In the dark, the hormone melatonin is produced – it helps to fall asleep. Therefore, before going to bed, you cannot look at the bright screens of smartphones.
Hugs help someone to fall asleep – they produce the hormone oxytocin. I know one person who, for this reason, sleeps with a pillow in his arms.
Let me remind you of the tactics for good sleep:
- Do not drink coffee or black tea in the afternoon.
- Set up in advance that an hour before bedtime, you will say goodbye to dopamine rest: no games, movies, social networks – we turn off all screens.
- An hour before bedtime – we do nothing exciting. A quiet reading is fine.
- When you lay down, find a comfortable position and freeze in it.
- When the body has relaxed, you need to turn off the flow of habitual thinking. Forgetfulness and sleep come when thinking becomes blurry. You can intuitively relax your mind or focus your attention on the tip of your nose – the mind itself will relax.
In the article, I emphasized stopping dopamine rest before bed because this is the most common cause of insomnia. It, too, gradually falls out of the focus of attention. We do not notice how we accelerate the nervous system, and then we complain, look for magic pills for sleep, or stuff the body with potent sedatives. By using above mentioned tips and techniques, you can deal with insomnia.
Did you get the answer to your question – how to deal with insomnia? Spend your time mindfully and share in the comments your tactics for defeating insomnia.