It is early, 5am now.
I don't know why I am up.
Suddenly my mind just can't switch off; I can't go back to sleep.
Is it insomnia? Do you know there is a movie made in 2002, a book by the same name from Stephen King?
Most of us are looking for cures I guess. But the more you worry, you tend to cope less better.
You can either take your mind off it by doing other things. Temporary solutions by
1) taking your focus away from your sleeplessness, you will feel better. This means you do not think about it! You need to be abit introspective in order to achieve this.
2) doing things instead of wasting your time away, you can be more productive and eventually your achievements or completed tasks will also make you feel good.
3) doing things that you like or enjoy, such as drinking your favourite cup of coffee or milk. Most websites tell you against caffeine as it will keep you alert. My personal take is that if you take coffee so regularly, you should be able to sleep with your normal intake. Depriving yourself of it makes you feel bad so why torture yourself? (*I also believe that you should snack once in a while if you are feeling down (not only when you are experiencing insomnia). I manage to sleep with coffee 15mins before bedtime and I drink like at least 2 cups of very diluted coffee a day. Of course if it is too thick (like those from Starbucks or Coffee Bean, you are messing yourself up!)
4) believing you do not need as much sleep. Try to go on with your daily activities as per normal. You worry less and so your life will be less stressful.
5) Meditating. This is a very powerful concept. But if you abuse it, you risk falling asleep whenever you mediate and this defeats the purpose of meditating. I feel that the purpose of meditating is to calm your mind and sometimes make your mind more alert. It is a good way to divert your attention. If you feel that you use it to bring on sleep, your end result is not in line with the purpose of meditating. You can try to induce sleep with similar actions but tell yourself you are not meditating, merely chanting a mantra that lets you sleep by entering into a state that is peaceful and protective enough for you to relax.
Again, these tips are temporary solutions. If you manage to relax enough everything will be fine. I guess this applies to constipation as well as panic attacks.
Personally I do not believe in taking medicines or pills as I feel these are temporary solutions that may not help you in the long term. You may rely on them and still have to deal with the residual effects of the pills.
I guess long term solutions are (at least mine are):
1) to hydrate yourself enough. You should drink enough water to quench your thirst THROUGHOUT the day. Not just before you sleep.
2) eat a healthy diet (low salt, minimum MSG, with enough protein - most asians load a lot on carbohydrates and that is not healthy! Also eat fresh fruits or eat least drink fruit juice for your vitamins!) Try to eat less (I find this helps alot) by cutting down to only like 7 tablespoon of carbo, 4 tablespoon of protein and 3 tablespoon of fibers per day minimum. If you drink enough water, your body will not need that much food. Split up your meal times and amount too.
3) reduce your personal anxieties by planning, planning and more planning.
4) to change your environment if you can. It may be your work environment, or the place where you sleep in. If it is not hygienic enough, your body will not be able to rest.
5) Exercise. This is important because it keeps your spirits up in the day. It also makes you sufficiently fatigue enough that your body will automatically want to rest. Personally I recommend a morning walk everyday (that is what I am doing now) or at least 2 times a week (the weekends). This brings me to the next point.
6) Wake up early and do things at a regular time. I am not a sticker for routine. But I realise that your body is a clockwork routine. Do you feel hungry at the same time regularly? If you do, then you need to sleep regularly. If you do not, then you should listen to your body when it tells you to do things.
Whatever you do, do not drink alchohol to try to get some sleep. I have personally tried it and it is bad! Well, you may knock out but your body will be dehydrated and you will need to wake up like 5hours later.
How to listen to your body if it is hungry
I started out not being in tune with what my body says (that is why I have so much pimples! - I wasn't drinking enough water).
I find that it is important to know what your body is saying. I will write briefly and may elaborate on a future post.
To know if your body is hungry or not
1) You have got to stop doing things. (watching TV is okay but do not think about food!)
2) For the first 15minutes when you 'feel hungry', go drink at least 2 cups of water.
3) After another 15minutes (and you are still not doing any important things, like having meetings, or reading a book), check out if your stomach is rumbling still. If it is, go grab a small bite.
Also, if you have not been having regular breakfast or meals, then you need to start to time your food intake. If you start to notice the ratio of your carbohydrates-protein-fiber, you can slowly start to have the same portion at regular time. Then you can monitor if you are having enough nutrients per meal.
If you have heavier breakfast (for me, it will be a plate of stir-fried meehoon with vegetables and 2 or 3 slices of fish), it should last you for at least 4hours. In Singapore, a typical workday starts at 8am and lunch time is 12pm. So it is important to monitor your body and prevent your body from craving for food before you have time to attend to it.
How to listen to your body if it needs sleep
To know if your body needs a rest
1) You have got to stop doing things. (not even chatting on phone or watching TV)
2) You may meditate or just concentrate on your breath.
3) Feel your body if it feels sore. If any part feels sore, you may need to take a rest or just massage it.
4) Sip slowly half a cup of water and feel the water go down from your mouth to your stomach. Does it make you feel good after 15minutes? If it does, you are just dehydrated and not tired.
5) Close your eyes and if possible, lie down on the ground. Feel the ground and any vibration you can feel.
6) Be thankful and concentrate on being one-with-the-universe.
7) If you can feel that, relax your muscles and slowly feel the tension leaving you.
8) If you fall asleep at this time, you ARE tired!
9) If possible, remain in the same position and sleep
10) You may repeat these steps to achieve the mental state for you to sleep. Make sure the environment is dark and cool enough. You should drink maximum half a cup of water for this exercise. No more than that because you do not want to wake up in the middle of the night to go loo!
Sometimes you are affected by what you are thinking (psychological effects). I find it useful to keep telling yourself that you are happy and empowered to make yourself happy. Remind yourself what are the things you treasure (for me the simple things in life: being able to see the sunshine everyday, being able to breathe in my dog's smells, being able to just feel). Do not be overwhelm by external things because they will change. You will change. But you will always be you.
Average hours of sleep is 8, but it really depends on yourself. I have an ex-boss who cannot sleep at all because he was so anxious about his business and so he claims he manages with only 1 or 2 hours of sleep per night. So did an ex-colleague of mine. But I did not get to ask her about her reason.
Here is a short quiz you can do to see if you have got IT!
I am by no means advocating any thing that contradicts what your doctor tells you. These are stricty only my personal opinion. Please seek a qualified doctor for your own condition. These are only my personal experiences.
Do share with me your experiences! You can post in the comment box before without leaving a name too (Anonymous)!
Take care of your body and it will take care of you!