As someone who is struggling to overcome chronic insomnia, I am looking for success stories that don’t involve sleeping pills. Biofeedback & homeopathy have been recommended to me. Unfortunately, these services are not covered by insurance. Ironic that they will cover expensive medications but not an alternative that might cure you instead of treating symptoms.
Paul, I am happy to share with you what works for my chronic sleep onset insomnia. These are tips I learned from doctor friends over the years.
At least one full hour before lights out, I start preparing for sleep:
No electronics, no iPhone, TV, computer, no loud music, no document or book reading, nothing that stimulates the brain.
I have replaced all light bulbs in my bedroom with low watt - bright light signals the brain to be awake and alert, low light promotes sleepiness.
I have a comfortable chair in my bedroom where I sit, relax my body from head to toe and as I do deep breathing exercises, I go over everything in my head and let it go…what I did today, what I have to do tomorrow, the racing thoughts we all have…let it go
I might take a hot shower or bath JUST BEFORE I get in bed. An insomnia specialist once told me that as we cycle through the sleep stages and end a sleep cycle, our body temperature rises, so he suggested that raising my body temperature just before lights out would help promote sleep as the body temperature will then naturally start lowering. I have found this to be both relaxing and in many cases does help me fall asleep.
Of course, the obvious other sleep hygiene suggestions are eliminating caffeine, nicotine and not drinking alcohol too close to bed time. While alcohol might initially help sedate one in to sleep, it can cause fragmented sleep overall.
This nightly routine works for me, hope it’s helpful for you!
Thanks so much for reaching out… I have modified my pre-sleep habits with no significant changes thus far. I have been going to brain mapping therapy with no significant changes… I am sleeping about 4 to 4.5 hours per night. I take a sleeping pill and get about 5 to 5.5 hours on those nights. My therapist tells me I am a short sleeper…
It’s a roller coaster of emotions from incredible frustration to acceptance of this as my normal routine. I do try not to obsess about my sleep habits but some days are easier than others.