How to NEVER let insomnia beat you. Even when you can not fall asleep.

insomnia

As you may infer from me publishing this article in the wee hours of the morning I am either a perfect example of a night owl (I am not!) or I can not fall asleep. I am currently suffering from a transient case of insomnia. However, before I delve into how you can ensure that insomnia never gets the upper hand again (so the meme about is false!) I would like to discuss more about insomnia and when you should seek help. There are three general classifications of insomnia:

1. “Onset Insomnia” – Inability to or taking too long to get to sleep

2. “Middle Insomnia” – Waking too often through the night

3. “Terminal Insomina” – Waking too early and being unable to get back to sleep.

So I will be posting a more in depth article about how you can slowly rid yourself of chronic onset insomnia problems that are most likely caused by not respecting your circadian rhythm, excessive stress or poor stress management. However, if you are suffering from onset insomnia for other reasons such as pain or suffering from middle or terminal insomnia I implore that you seek professional medical attention to get to the root of your problem. 

But back to the article, what can you do right now to never let insomnia win and dominate your life? I used to suffer from chronic insomnia, throughout high school and it got even worse as I began college. A lot of my problems with my sleep during high school were due to poor habits. However, during college I made a concerted effort to improve my sleep hygiene and respect my circadian rhythm. Despite my best efforts, whenever I needed a great night of sleep, such as before a big test or track meet, I was unable to achieve that deep and rejuvenating sleep. What was I doing wrong?

My major problem underlying all my bouts of insomnia upon introspection was my mentality. I was putting way too much pressure on myself to fall asleep. If I did not fall asleep immediately I would begin to incessantly wonder “what is wrong?” I would begin playing the doomsday scenario how I would fail my test or lose my competition the next day because I was not able to sleep right now! This is absolutely the worst thing you can do. As Sam mentioned in his previous post about mindfulness in motion it is key to accept whatever comes up and not run away from it. The exact same thing applies to what happens to you in life. How you respond to your life events is much more important than what happens.

So how can you use this knowledge to never let insomnia beat you? You should never spend more then 20-30 minutes in bed if you can not fall asleep. If you can not fall asleep get up and  complete an important task that you may be stressing out about that could be completed in 20-30 minutes. Then once you are completed go to bed. You may respond by “I need to be asleep, I don’t have time for this!” That may be true, but I have found that your body has infinite intelligence. If it is telling you that it has energy you might as well use it. Also, in my personal experience I have found that whenever I get out of bed and complete my task then go back to bed I end up sleeping like a baby afterwards and feeling great in the morning.

I hope this article helped give you the tools and knowledge to always beat insomnia! If you have any questions please make a comment below, and if there is any topic you would like me to discuss let me know. Blogs such as these are much more fun and helpful if there is interaction. So please always feel free to reach out to me on facebook or linkedIn (Pavan Mehat) or shoot me an email at pavanmehat12@gmail.com.

Summary 

Do NOT spend more then 20-30 minutes in bed if you can not fall asleep

-Get up and spend 20-30 minutes using the extra energy to complete a high priority task

-Your mentality surrounding insomnia is very important in determining the effect it will have on your life.

Keep on the look out for a very detailed future post about how to not only cure sleep insomnia but hack your sleep!

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4 thoughts on “How to NEVER let insomnia beat you. Even when you can not fall asleep.

    • pmehat says:

      Hi Sam, thanks for the comment! Exercising immediately before sleeping will tend to exacerbate any problems you have with onset insomnia. The reason is because your core body temperature tends to dip right before you go to sleep. However, exercise causes a transient increase in core body temperature which can last for up to a few hours. In combination with all the stress hormones released during exercise this will wreak havoc on your sleep quality.

      If you want to still workout in the evening do you best to have about 2-3 hours between the end of your workout and when you will go to sleep. The best time to exercise during the day if you want to optimize your sleep quality is first thing in the morning. The reason is because working out at this time coincides with your bodies natural spike of cortisol (stress hormone). In addition, working out in the morning was shown in a recent study by researchers at Appalachian State University that subjects who worked out in the morning spend significantly more time in a deep phase of sleep than those who do not.

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