In our overactive culture has us running and going and doing everyday. Then at the end of the day when we just can not do anymore we go to bed. We sort of tumble into our room and lie down and expect sleep to take us over. Or we do fall asleep right away but we then we wake up two hours later and it becomes almost impossible to fall back to sleep. Because of this difficulty you head to your doctor and tell him you have insomnia. I can not tell you that you do not or that you might not have sleep apnea and need a sleep study. What I can do is show you a non medical way to approach your sleep problems and eliminate all outside sources of problems and then if these ideas do not work then I would go to the doctor to look into health related issues that be the problem

Your mother used to create a sleep routine for you when you were little. You would put on your PJs brush your teeth, she would read you a story, tuck you in and then you would go to sleep. Well there is a reason for the routine. Your brain just does not turn on and off it needs time in order to get ready for bed. But we now have TVs, game systems, computers, radios and desks in our rooms. We work up until bedtime and then we get into bed. We do not allow ourselves to change our system to that relaxed slower brain waves that happen when you go to sleep. You also do not end what you were doing before bed time so your mind is still thinking and working and problem solving. It does not allow you to relax and sleep. So what we need to do is create that 20 minute routine to change your bedtime.

Twenty minutes before bedtime announce it is time to go to bed. Okay say it in your head. If you have kids this will help them as well because they know what is going on and will prevent limit setting issues. This is the time where you create a routine that works for you. My routine is I drink some water and take my vitamins. I wash my face and brush my teeth. I go around and turn off the lights, check on my son, put my phones on the charger get into bed and read for 10 minutes from a business book or a text book.
I turn off the light and usually I go to sleep right away. Now this does not work every night but it does most nights. If it does not work there are some tricks you can use to help your body to go to sleep.

The first trick is you need to keep the same bed time and wake time every day. Your body really does not understand that weekends exist. Your body has a circadian rhythm that last about 24 hours. It is the reason at 2-3 in the afternoon you will feel sleepy. At 2-3 am if you are a night shift worker. Our body has a natural rhythm that tells us when we should be awake and when we should be asleep. This will adjust to your patterns as long as you keep this pattern pretty consistently. I am not saying you can not stay out late once in a while but on the regular basis we need to have a routine. When we have a baby we help them develop a routine. We need to take that time for ourselves as well.

Okay so you come home and you had a particularly stressful day and you need to really unwind. What do you do well I do a short yoga routine that is very easy and makes me take deep breathes. This increases my oxygen level and allows me to feel better so I can relax. Another trick is if you want to go to sleep right away take a very hot shower right before you go to bed then allow your body to cool. This tricks your body that you are in a later part of your circadian rhythm. Your body’s core temperature drops during the night to a low at about 2-3 in the morning. So if you take that hot shower then let your body cool it will tell your mind that it is sleep time. That is why you should not exercise right before bed. When you exercise you raise your core temperature. This is not helpful to your brain to help it to relax and go to bed. It is a temperature thing.

Food and drink also have a big affect on bedtime. Some say you should eat some say you should have a dairy products, some say you should not eat at least 3 hours before bed. There is an answer to this. Each person is different. For me I do not do well if I eat before bed. My diabetic friend needs to have a small protein meal before bed so she does not have her sugars drop during the night. Some people have hiatal hernias and should not eat right before they go to sleep because your food will not stay in your stomach. There are other health issues that people need to care for and they should be treated the way your physician suggests.

So these are just ideas for helping you create a great routine for your bedtime. Allow yourself to take care of yourself like a mother takes care of their child. This is the first step to a strong routine to overcome your insomnia. Next we will look at your environment as a way of creating a good night’s sleep.

Author's Bio: 

Amy Korn-Reavis, RRT, RPSGT has been in the respiratory field for over twenty years. She has worked in all areas and is currently focusing on sleep and how to help the community feel better by sleeping better. She is the manager of Emery Sleep Solutions an independent testing facility located in Apopka, Florida. If you have any questions about sleep or are looking for someone to speak at your community function she can be reached at amy8028472@yahoo.com or you can visit the facility's website at emerysleepsolutions.com.