Many of my patients understand Michael Jackson’s plea for drugs to help him sleep. They know how it feels to lie awake all night, wishing for even a few hours of rest. But as the world discovered to its sorrow, medication alone cannot fix insomnia, no matter how desperately we may wish it could.
But your insomnia CAN be helped. You can learn to sleep better, and your body can get the rest it needs. And even more importantly, your mind can calm down, and you can have some peace.
How do you learn to sleep? Well, oddly enough, deep, restful, healthy sleep actually begins in the daytime! Here are three important steps you can take during the day, so you can have healthy sleep at night. Taking these steps will help your medication to do its’ job.
Step 1: Your body needs to “let off steam” during the day so you can relax and sleep at night. The best way to do that is to exercise. But exercise can seem as hard as sleep for some people, and it has to begin gently. Start with just 5 minutes of slow walking, and add one or two minutes every few days. Even those five minutes will help. And eventually you will be walking for 20 minutes at a time, and your body can release some of the tightness you have been storing up for so long. Letting that muscle tension go during the day will help your body sleep better at night.
Step 2: Waking your body up at the same time each day lets you re-set your inner clock. That way, you can begin to feel the good kind of tired as you come to the end of your day, and your body can let go and relax.
How can you re-set your inner clock? One way is to walk early in the day. Another way is to eat early! You may find it hard to eat when you get up, and you may even put off eating till late in the day. But that makes your body work harder at night, and sets your inner clock to wake up at the very end of the day.
Step 3: You may notice your body jerking or your muscles jumping when you try to rest. That’s a good indication that your mind doesn’t know how to relax anymore. Using a scientifically based, professional relaxation meditation can help your body learn how to relax, and sleep.
Are you ready to take a step onto a new path? Change can be hard…but you know how hard it is to go through the day with no sleep! You matter. Your health matters. It’s time for you to take the steps into healthy sleep and a richly enjoyable life.