Saturday, September 24, 2011

I'll Sleep When I'm... Not So Damn Happy

Today I planned to write up my Savageman race report. The race was one of my favorites, like, EVER.  The problem is, I'm exhausted and don't feel motivated to write it yet.  This is going to sound crazy but I've been suffering from insomnia for 2-3 weeks and it seems to be a result of feeling really content, excited and happy about where my life is.  I'm not drinking too much caffeine.  I'm not eating too much before bed.  I'm not lying awake and fretting about the next day.  It's too noisy, cold, hot or uncomfortable in my bed.  Instead, I'm just REALLY loving life.  I'm going to bed with thoughts of sugarplums dancing through my head.  I'm on a clear path in my life, surrounded by lots of love and support and beautiful people and experiences.  I'm not there yet, but I know where I'm going and I'm loving the process and journey to get there.  I'm not sleeping because I'm thinking about how good life is and when I do wake up too early its because I can't wait to start the next day.  WHAT?!?!  Do you hate me yet?

So I've been doing some research on insomnia and natural remedies, and I came up with an excellent article by Dr. Weil.  He suggests the usual remedies, such as herbs, relaxation techniques, white noise, exercise, etc.  He also suggests something called "mantram" (not "mantrum" which is a male temper-tantrum).  A mantram is a mantra that is repeated over and over to have a meditative effect and can be relaxing if your mind is racing.  It is best to choose a phrase that isn't so meaningful that it makes you think TOO much about the words you're repeating to yourself.  It's also suggested to choose a mantram from a list, rather than inventing one of your own.  Click here for more information on mantrams.

So here's what I'm going to try for the next few days:

- 15 minutes of relaxing yoga before bed each night
- Put the phone and clock away, don't watch the hours pass by (stressing it makes the exhaustion feel heavier and may be worse than being tired)
- If I can't fall asleep after 20 minutes or so, read. Right now I'm reading Anna Karenina.
- No more than 1 coffee per day, in the morning (I rarely have more than that anyway).
- Try valerian with melatonin to help fall asleep, taken 30 minutes before bed.
- Choose a mantram to repeat. I'm going to try: "Om Namah Shivaya"  (Ohm Nah-mah Shee-vah-yah) - an invocation to beauty and fearlessness.

Anyone else have any solutions that have worked that may be helpful to other readers?

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Noreen Dillman said...

Try alternate nostril breathing. Work up to ten minutes. It is a calming breath. See my blog entry: Also, I think even relaxing yoga poses right before bed will work you up versus down. Ayurveda says that having a regular nighttime routine works best. If all else fails, a cup of warm milk with a pinch of nutmeg works wonders!!

Donna said...

My mother always recommended that I meditate to a change in colour when I can't sleep - visualise in the mind's eye the colour white (wakefulness - I suppose any bright colour will work) and then slowly "pull" a shade of gray into view, like a slide show. With each change of colour the mind's eye becomes darker, until you are at a "black" state, or relaxation.

I am a visual person so this works for me, although I also focus on my breathing and the sound of in and out to fall asleep / get to a relaxation state.

HolisticGuru said...

Noreen, Thanks for the tip! I agree that a regular nighttime routine is key. I'll try the breathing.

Donna, I LOVE your suggestion to change a color! I tried it this morning when I woke up and it was super relaxing. Thanks!

HolisticGuru said...

UPDATE: I have slept every night since I wrote this post! So far my plan seems to be working. I think my main issue was lying there, stressing about not sleeping!