The standard reasons for insomnia are anxiety, pain, digestive issues and stress. In other words, insomnia is more of a symptom than a cause. After more than 25 years treating patients in New York City – famously dubbed the City that Never Sleeps, it’s no coincidence that people often ask for sleep tips from NYC’s sleep specialist. If you’re anxious, that can wake you up in the middle of the night. Pain is a major sleep killer. With 70 million digestive issue sufferers, that too can impact on sleep. And finally, there is the big Kahuna: Stress.
Here I am educating stressed out, sleepless New Yorkers on HouseSmarts “30 Winks” (featuring a very early incarnation of my new book Rewired for Sleep: The 28-Day Insomnia Repair Program):
Because you’re having trouble sleeping it’s crucial to relax the nervous system. Breathing from the belly (abdominal breathing) helps. There are other ways, including sleep hygiene. Try to get rid of electronics from the bedroom; get to bed at the same hour (preferably by 10 p.m.); make a list of things to do the next day, and then put it aside.
TAKING MENTAL BREAKS
It is important to take mental breaks throughout the day to rewire your mind and body. You can remember to take deep breaths using a “trigger mechanism”. Simply snap your fingers four or five times throughout the day. Once you start doing that, it’ll be your reminder to take three nice, deep breaths. If you want to add to that, close your eyes and say on each exhale, “Green, green, green.” It’s a great little mental holiday.
For chronic insomnia, you may want to use supplements, acupuncture or hypnotherapy. In fact, hypnosis helps you rewire your nervous system from a state of stress to a calm state. I have seen a single hypnosis session recalibrate the nervous system of a patient by up to sixty percent. When I pair that with a self-hypnosis trigger, this can be life altering for the person who is desperate to start sleeping again. And that is, always the goal. Sleep hygiene means doing whatever it takes.