So many of us suffer from insomnia, myself included sometimes! Does anyone have any favorite falling asleep tricks? I'd like to compile a list and eventually move it into wonderful threads.
Here's a bit that I have cut and pasted from my website.
After my rape, I had a lot of difficulty falling asleep and when I finally did my sleep was sometimes interrupted by nightmares. I've found that this is really common among survivors. Most of us experience these problems at some point in time in our healing.
* Wake early to exercise. I find that going to they gym in the evening gives me enough energy to start my whole day again.
* Make sure you use your bedroom for sleeping only. If you live in a college dormitory or with your family, try to use your desk for activities like studying and reading.
* Make a bedtime ritual. I usually drink a cup of Celestial Seasoning's Sleepytime Extra. It has herbs in it to aid sleep, but since it is a ritual, I feel like it sends my body a signal saying, "Sleep is coming."
* Some people find that natural remedies, like Valerian, Kava Kava and Melatonin, which can be found at your health food store help. Others find that melatonin, in particular, causes nightmares.
* Avoid caffienated beverages in the afternoon.
* Alcohol might make you fall asleep, but you'll probably wake up after long, so try to avoid drinking before bed.
* Avoid exciting activities before bed. Watching exciting movies or playing competitive games doesn't put most of us in the mood for sleep.
* Lock your bedroom door if it makes you feel safer. Sometimes, I'll picture people I love standing outside the door, ready to protect me. Silly, I know, but it helps me feel safe.
* Daydream when you get into bed. I usually day dream about being at the beach, watching the sunset, which sometimes brings me into a dream.
* Relax each muscle, starting with your feet, and working up to the rest of your body.
* Sleep with a stuffed animal!. It's not silly. I sleep with Puppy and I know a lot of other people who have their favorite friends accomany them to bed.
* Wear lavendar oil to bed. It's a really calming scent. I dab it onto my pillowcases and there are lavendar washes that you can buy to scent your sheets, like this one.
* If you have difficulty falling asleep or sometimes wake up in the middle of the night, make sure that a quiet, relaxing activity is available to you, like a rather dull book. Try doing this instead of lying in bed awake.
After I was raped, I was often woken up by nightmares. The most common one I had was of an attacker outside of my bedroom door or standing above my bed, but I had lots of other more complex and difficult ones. Reliving the trauma through dreams is common for all of us and a normal part of the healing process. That doesn't make it fun though. I hope you'll find these ideas helpful.
* When you wake up, write the nightmare down.
* Alternately, you could try drawing or painting it. I'm not artistic, so this idea wouldn't work for me, but it has for others.
* Usually, when I am awoken by a bad dream, I'll try to imagine it ending differently. For instance, when I dream that there is someone outside my door, I'll look around and wake up enough to feel safe. Then I immediately put my head down and imagine that my dog is chasing the attacker out of the house. Usually this will become a dream and I'll end up falling asleep.
* At other times, I'm able to somehow consciously control my dream without ever waking up.
* Talk about them with a trusted friend or counselor. Talking about them can give them less control over us.
* Try to understand them. They are an important part of healing and usually have something to tell us about any unresolved feelings we have Understanding our nightmares and dreams can be a step towards identifying these emotions and resolving them. You can do this just by thinking about what the nightmare meant to you, or by looking at dream books to find the symbolism in them.