Insomnia – Causes and Cures

Well I didn't expect my writing challenge to start today at 4am but I've been suffering from insomnia last few nights and so I wanted to get this out there while I was at least still awake in zombie-like state.

It's funny but I did yoga, meditated, drank some herbal tea called “Good Night” which contained, amongst other things, Valerian root…yet still here I am wide awake 5 hours after going to bed. It's the thoughts, the ideas, the worries, the inspiration that just don't want to seem to switch off the last few nights. I have been cramming a lot in of late but something else is going on I think and I have to be at work in 5 hours which I just know isn't healthy and will impact the rest of my day.

I'm thinking about the song above when I can't sleep and it always reminds me of when I was living in London and went to a Faithless gig at Brixton Academy in the late 90's with one of my best friends. He tragically and unexpectedly committed suicide before Christmas last year and although I had not seen him for a few years since moving back to Scotland, it really still hurts, especially around the holiday season when I received the news and more so when “I can't get no sleep” because I think of how mental we were as soon as that track came on! I was off work with stress partly as a result of this early last year and I did a lot of soul-searching at the time and managed to dig my way out of a depressive state. It's really tough to think about him and the good times we spent together, makes me laugh and cry at the same time but life moves on and I know he would tell me to “Stop being such a lightweight!”, so I won't be and I'll look for a solution to this current wave of sleeplessness.

The Sleep Foundation have a very good article on this but specifically the ones that ALL apply to me are in the quote below -:

“Anxiety symptoms that can lead to insomnia include:

  • Tension
  • Getting caught up in thoughts about past events
  • Excessive worrying about future events
  • Feeling overwhelmed by responsibilities
  • A general feeling of being revved up or overstimulated

It's not hard to see why these symptoms of general anxiety can make it difficult to sleep. Anxiety may be associated with onset insomnia (trouble falling asleep), or maintenance insomnia (waking up during the night and not being able to return to sleep). In either case, the quiet and inactivity of night often brings on stressful thoughts or even fears that keep a person awake.”


“You work at home in the evenings. This can make it hard to unwind, and it can also make you feel preoccupied when it comes time to sleep. The light from your computer could also make your brain more alert.”

So for starters I can take care of the last one by switching off TV's, mobiles, PC's (like the one I am typing on at 4.30am right now!) OFF and just read a book to unwind.

The other problems are not quite so easy but I am going to address those through self-hypnosis and keep you posted of how I get on. It's quite appropriate as I am studying to become a trained Hypnotherapist but have yet to really practice on myself – duh – I am the ideal case study!

There are some other useful tips from, specifically -:

  • Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and cool. Noise, light, and heat can interfere with sleep. Try using a sound machine or earplugs to hide outside noise, an open window or fan to keep the room cool, and blackout curtains or a sleep mask to block out light.
  • Avoid stimulating activity and stressful situations before bedtime. This includes vigorous exercise, big discussions or arguments, or catching up on work. Instead, focus on quiet, soothing activities, such as reading, knitting, or listening to soft music, while keeping lights low.
  • Turn off screens one hour before bedtime. The light emitted from TV, tablets, smartphones, and computers suppresses your body’s production of melatonin and can severely disrupt your sleep. Instead of emailing, texting, watching TV, or playing video games, try listening to a book on tape, a podcast, or reading by a soft light.

So I will resolve to put the past behind me, nothing much I can do about that unless Doc pops round in his Delorean and the future will be whatever it will be so all that is really left is to take care of the present moment through mindfulness. I will aim to exercise a bit earlier in the morning or evenings rather than pump weights and kettlebells at 10pm as I did tonight – double duh! Ultimately it's the technology also that is a big problem and I'll aim to switch all tech off by 9pm each evening.

However, I don't think I will be taking up knitting, I just can't get that cross-stitching right!