If you suffer from insomnia, at any level, you understand the pain and frustration. And while there are those old standby tips and tricks we've all heard a thousand times...
Get to bed before 10 p.m. and wake up at the same time each morning. Switch off all devices and keep your room as dark as a black hole. Eat a well-balanced meal no less than 2 hours before bedtime. Swap caffeine for herbal tea. Have a regular bedtime routine, preferably involving a blissful bath; crisp, clean sheets; yoga; and meditation.
...having stellar sleep hygiene is much easier said than done.
Considering the breakneck pace of our lives, we're lucky to achieve maybe one of the things on that list at a time. And even if you miraculously manage to do everything right one day, you might still find yourself lying there, fully alert and totally irritated.
So, when "all the right things" don't work, what do you do?
When I first started experiencing full-blown insomnia as a side effect of Topical Steroid Withdrawal, I had no idea what to do. I'd always been a sleeper—often up to 14 hours a night! In all honesty, I thought that insomniacs were people who just couldn't relax. And as a yoga teacher, I could do that at will.
So, when my adrenals went haywire and I found myself wide-awake between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., I panicked and resorted to pretty unhealthy habits, like watching videos all night long or trolling Facebook. Sometimes these strategies worked simply because I exhausted myself, but more often than not I suspect they made things worse.
Fortunately, I had good training to fall back on, and as the chronic insomnia continued, I began to employ powerful breathing techniques and self-calming exercises, which actually worked, even when I was feeling completely manic and stressed.
I suffered from horrendous, all-night insomnia for around a year. I tried pills and other methods, but I knew that wasn't sustainable, and honestly, I hated feeling so out of control.
As my adrenals continue to heal, my sleep patterns have recovered a little, though I still need to use all my tools to fall asleep naturally. I can't stress enough how much the following simple tips have saved my sanity and physical health.