I wish I could tell you soemthing definite, but I'm not sure what it is...but, whatever it is, I like it!
I think much of my insomnia is caused by by mind. I tend to mull over problems too much in my mind, often before I go to bed, or plan out projects in my head. That's not as bad as what usually happens simply because I'm having trouble getting to sleep (that's what happens when I have a bout of insomnia--it's not something that wakes me up; it's the fact that I just can't get to sleep). When I can't get to sleep, I lay there, listening to the clock tick. Not smart. I just keep checking the time, thinking, "It's 2 AM. I have to get to sleep." It's 3 AM, and I have to be up at 6 to go to work. I gotta sleep!", and so-forth. THIS DRIVES YOU INSANE!!!! Also, my trigger seems to be Sunday night. Long ago, I had trouble getting to sleep on a Sunday night for some reason I can't remember. Then, it turned into EVERY Sunday night (unless I had Monday off). So, here's what I think the solution was:
1. Put the darned clock away! I removed the batteries from the wall clock in the hall; I do set my alarm clock, but put the clock in the nightstand drawer. If I wake up, I refuse to look at the time, and just go back to bed.
2. I always have a hot bath about 1 hour before bedtime, and lay in bed without the covers (and sometimes nude
), so that I start cooling down fast (I read somewhere that your body needs the cooling effect to get sleepy). I turn on the overhead ceiling fan.Then, I lay down, and try to read a book. As I get colder, I gradually pull up the sheet, then a blanket, then another, etc.
3. Divorce a man who has a prostate problem, who has to get up to pee 10 times a night. Just kidding!
Seriously though, I wonder how much of our insomnia is due to what a bed partner does in the night (NO, not THAT!)--such as tossing & turning, snoring, getting up for the bathroom. I wonder if we don't conciously realize some of this when it happens before we wake up "for no reason"?
4. Set a firm bedtime every night, whether you have to be up later the next day or not; work day or not, etc. Get in a pattern.
5. I guess you could avoid certain foods before bed; I don't seem to be affected this way myself.
6. This may t.m.i. here--but I find that "being romantic" just before trying to sleep makes it hard for me to sleep. Not for him, though! (I once read that men usually sleep better afterwards; women have the opposite problem. It reminds me of a female cat after mating--she rolls over, inviting the male for more action! LOL)
7. I really think what happened was accidental--I luckily got to sleep on a Sunday night--and got in the habit.
8. When I am ready to really go to sleep, I read a passage from my favorite book. Not that it's dull, but I guess the familiar relaxes me. BTW, it's Moment in Peking, by Lin Yutang--a novel. I guess since I've read the info over and over, my mind doesn't race, thinking about the book while I'm trying to get to sleep. I wait until my eyes have trouble staying open. Then I turn out the light. Sometimes, I employ the opposite trick--I read book that I really want to read, but have a cut-off time. It's like being a kid, who is allowed to stay up really late, and wants to so badly, but finds themself nodding off.
9. A biggie that helps me: background noise. We've been using the window AC unit in the master bedroom (our central air doesn't really work in that room), and the ceiling fan. I think you can buy white noise machines, too.
10. I sometimes go into the guest room to sleep if I can't sleep. A change of scenery seems to work, at least after a couple of hours!
11. I find that doing something around the house (but NOt excercise, which keys me up at night) helps. Neighbors must wonder why I'm doing housework at 10 PM! I find that even washing the litter boxes out, or hand-washing dishes helps, as long as I do it an hour or 2 before bedtime. I always sleep better after a day of heavy gardening, too.