Struggling with insomnia? Here are eight tips for quieting your mind and getting a good night’s sleep.
- Posted on Apr 9, 2020
As communities across the globe continue to shelter in place in response to Covid-19, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by anxiety. Without social activities, it's easy to feel restless and uneasy at bedtime. Struggling with insomnia is hard, but in stressful times it’s more important than ever to get those beneficial eight hours of sleep. Here are our best tips to help you get the best sleep possible.
It can be tempting to use your phone or watch television to relax before bed. But according to Guideposts blogger Sonya Maizell, it’s best to power down those electronics well before bedtime.
“The light from your TV, or even something small like a tablet or smartphone, can interfere with your body’s circadian rhythms—the mechanism that helps your brain regulate periods and sleepiness and wakefulness throughout the day,” Sonya writes.
Sticking to a consistent sleep schedule is vital for your health. In fact, a recent study by Duke University found that adults who go to bed and wake up at the same time have a longer lifespan. Keeping a regular bedtime can be hard when you’re dealing with insomnia. Doing little things like tracking your sleep and keeping a nighttime routine can do wonders and actually help you fall asleep more easily.
Phones don’t have to always be our enemy around bedtime. There are tons of apps out their specifically designed to help you fall asleep. Try Headspace, an app that helps you practice mindfulness and meditation before bed. Or Sleep Cycle, which helps you track your food and caffeine intake, so you can form better habits and improve your sleep. There are also apps designed to tell you calm and comforting stories before bed, narrated by award winning actors.
Guideposts senior editor Rick Hamlin has a suggestion for anyone who just can’t fall asleep.
“Instead of tossing and turning,” Rick says, “I’ve found the best use of time during a sleepless passage is something I remember learning from Norman Vincent Peale from an article he wrote back in the early 80s. The message: Pray for others.” But even prayers sometimes aren’t enough to quiet a restless mind. So, Rick has another helpful tip: pray the alphabet.
“I go through the alphabet,” Rick says, “starting with A, taking my time. After all, I’ve got all night... I’m always amazed how many people come to mind, people I haven’t thought of in years, people I’ve never known personally.”
Sometimes the best thing to do before bed is curl up with a good book. And it’s even better when that book will help you sleep! Guideposts has compiled all of our favorite Bible verses, tips, prayers and stories about sleep into one free eBook. “A Good Night’s Sleep” will help to quiet your mind, give you spiritual comfort, and feel closer to God as you drift off in bed.
This herb has long been used to sooth insomnia, anxiety and even depression. You can buy it as an essential oil and use it in the bath or as a scent in your diffuser. But make sure you’re buying the most effective kind. According to aromatherapist Mindy Green, you should check that your bottle of lavender includes its Latin name: lavandula angustifolia or lavandula officinalis. This is how you know it’s the real deal and not a cheaper, less effective substitute.
Sleep isn't just a time for our mind and body to rest. It can be an important time to receive messages from God.
“Throughout the Bible there are a number of instances where God uses dreams to guide and protect,” says Guideposts senior digital editor Sabra Ciancanelli. “But what if you are someone who hardly ever remembers your dreams and when you do, you only remember confusing bits and pieces?”
Sabra compiled a list of simple things you can do to help you fall asleep and make yourself more open to heavenly messages. “Relax and leave the situation in God’s hands,” she says. “Be confident that He hears and will answer you.”
If you still have difficulty remembering your dreams, try keeping a dream journal. It’s an effective way not just to record what you do remember, but also train your brain to remember more of your dreams every time you wake up. Keep your dream journal right next to your bed. Make a habit of writing in it as soon as you wake up. Deciphering our dreams can help us deal with anxiety or insomnia, and make us more open to receiving comfort from God.