The other day I listened as my father told a co-worker about life when I was a child. He said that, from infant-hood, I went right to sleep when put to bed, and I slept like a baby. (Ha, ha.) This lasted all throughout my childhood, and is still true into adulthood. He compared me to his friend’s son, who was impossible to get to bed. His parents would go through all sorts of antics just to get him to drop off for a while. They would run, jump, and sing Beatles songs. He still has trouble falling asleep today.
Basically what all of this means is that I am 100% unqualified to tell you how to deal with insomnia. But I’m going to make something up anyway.
The first thing you want to do is find out whether your insomnia is caused by physiological issues or whether it is more psychologically based. Ask your doctor if something is wrong with you. Ask your shrink if something is wrong with you. 🙂 Or just be a bit introspective.
If its psychological, keep a journal, make lists about what you have to do tomorrow. Think sleepy. Think ASLEEP thoughts. Then sleep.
If its physiological, take time to wind down before bed. Make sure your environment is physically comfortable. Drink some warm milk, wait a while, eat some turkey. Avoid caffeine products and heavy meals before bed-time.
You could turn on the light and read an incredibly long and boring book.
I’ve heard that there is something about saying kriat shma al hamittah over and over until you fall asleep. You could try that.
Then there is the holistic approach:
My guess is that restlessness is the cause for insomnia. Whatever the cause for the restlessness, it seems to be a middah (vs. – what’s it called? a t’kunah or something? HELP!) and therefore can be changed with the proper formula. That is to say, you need a daily dose of:
Planting means reading lots about sleeping, and being restful and relaxed. (When it ISN’T bedtime, stick your nose into all those HOW TO manuals for shluffie.)
Building means doing it. Go to bed at the same time every night. BE restful. Just do it. (And if it doesn’t work, DO NOT get out of bed. Stick it out until the end.)
Prayer means just that. ASK G-d to help you fall asleep! Beg! Plead! Implore! and know that it is in His hands.
The last advice I would offer is the counting method.
“If you’re having trouble sleeping, count sheep. Do not count endangered species – you will run out.” says a contributer.
I had a college professor who recommended counting backwards by 7s.
I personally have an idiotic approach that I sheepishly would personally recommend as it has worked for me 98% of the times that I have had trouble sleeping. Don’t mock, it goes as follows:
You count backwards in a loop. Nineteen, eighteen, seventeen, sixteen, fifteen, fourteen thirteen…(now here is where it gets idiotic, bear with me…) TWELVE-teen, ELEVEN-teen, TEN-teen, NINE-teen, etc…
*BOW* and *applause*.
Does anyone else have any helpful remedies for insomnia?