Ok, I have to tell you about my wonder-drug. I call it that because it's done wonders for both my insomnia AND my PTSD - it's called Zyprexa. My psych nurse-practitioner prescribed it for my PTSD on top of my prozac, because it helps alleviate paranoia and intrusive thoughts. It's technically an anti-psychotic prescribed for manic depressives and schizophrenics, but it's also good for PTSD. I take it at 7:00 pm and around 9:00 I'm out like a light. I now sleep for 8 hours and feel great in the mornings. I was very concerned about the "anti-psychotic" part of it, but the nurse reassured me that it's also indicated for otherwise "normal" people who have PTSD. It works immediately, and you don't need to let it build up in your blood stream like prozac. It also has antidepressant qualities to it, so it actually enhances whatever antidepressant you're taking (if any).
However, if you don't suffer from PTSD, here are my other suggestions:
- write a list of every single little thing that's on your mind. That way your worries are on paper, not in your head.
- take a long hot bath with lavendar oil
- Bath & Body works makes a "tranquil sleep" line of products, including massage mousse and oil, which smells absolutely sublime and makes you relax
- don't do anything physically active for at least 2 hours before bedtime
- when it starts getting dark out, lower the lights inside, and keep the lights as low as possible for the last couple hours before bedtime
- avoid the internet before bedtime, it gets your brain all worked up. TV is better because you're mind is just blanking out and you can relax better
- I have a timer on my bedroom tv that is like the "sleep" function on a clock-radio...I can set it for 15 minutes, or an hour, and I fall asleep to the tv and it goes off automatically. This also works wonders
- warm milk and graham crackers
- I'm a huge fan of Kathy Smith, a video workout guru. She has a Relaxation set which includes a relaxation cassette tape, and a relaxation workout video which utilizes yoga stretches and relaxing music. It focuses on the parts of the body that "store" stress and tension, such as the calves and hamstrings. I have a little neurotic bedtime ritual that involves strectching my legs and back - I can't sleep without it.
That's all I can think of for now, hope this helps!