One of the things that people complain about during stressful times is the inability to fall asleep, or stay asleep. This piece is about how you can sleep better, even when you’re going through stressful times.

Lack of sleep makes you feel less resilient, more vulnerable, more cranky, and less emotionally resourceful.

For starters, if you have a diagnosis that keeps you up at night, talk to your doctor about optimizing your situation and treatments. When I was still practicing, it was amazing how little patients told me about specific things that were keeping them up at night. Certain issues like chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and urinary issues are just a few things that can keep one a week at night, and can’t be helped by optimizing medical management. 

If there is no diagnosis per se and you are simply going through tough and stressful times here are a few pointers:

  1. Make sure that you have a conducive environment for sleeping: that means no TV, a dark room, a good mattress, no alcohol, no caffeine, no iPhone or iPad screen; soft music, not being hungry or two for; and tiredness.
  2. Make a conscious choice to dwell on peace and peaceful thoughts: Multiple verses on peace can be found within the pages of the Bible. Affirmations also work wonders for creating the state of mind that you want.
  3. Sit down, and write your perfect story, of how you want things to be and look like. Set this by your bedside, and read it every night before you go to sleep. 
  4. Write down how you want to feel the next day.
  5. Breathing exercises: take a comfortable position for sleeping, breathe in and out slowly counting your breaths. The idea is to relax and possibly “bore” yourself to sleep
  6. Don’t “try to sleep”:If you are still feeling wide-awake, get out of bed, and do something quiet, like reading an actual book (not a Kindle or a book on a screen); pray, meditate, until you start to feel sleepy.
  7. People often ask about sleep aids: I prefer to try natural sleep aids and remedies, before prescribing big guns. Chamomile Tea, Sleepytime Tea, and Tension Tamer are all brands of tea from Celestial seasonings which can help you feel more relaxed and sleepy. Melatonin is another natural sleep aid. I would leave these to the last resort, after trying all the other above methods.

So, there it is, if you find yourself struggling to fall asleep at night put some of these to work, and let me know how things are working out.

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