6 Essential Tips When You're Afraid To Fall Asleep

Insomnia Cures is back after a very long hiatus! Yep, it's been awhile, as the real world of work and study has bogged me down these past few months. But believe me when I say I haven't forgotten about this, my home on the web, and to that end let me say how much I appreciate all the emails I've received in the interim. My readers rock!

Today I want to dig a bit deeper into the concept of being afraid to fall asleep. As I mentioned before in my post (What's Under Your Pillow?) there are many reasons that people can find it hard relaxing when it's time to wind down. The most common being anxiety that can come when you become aware of your sleeping problems. This can sometimes lead to abnormal stress and worry over whether or not you will actually sleep. The nagging feelings can start as much as 90 minutes or more before bed time, meaning that by the time you lay your head to pillow, you've wound yourself up so much by worrying that sleep becomes next to impossible.

Also as mentioned previously, there are circumstances, such as trauma and psychological conditioning, all due to past experiences that can literally make people afraid of becoming  unconscious - as they have developed little trust for a world wherein they are not fully aware and prepared for danger. This is an extremely foreboding and stressful experience, and can lead to many more damaging physical ailments due to a combination of the consistent lack of sleep and the nightly release of cortisol (a stress hormone that is poisonous to the body with repeated exposure).

In this article I hope to leave you with a few short term solutions - because dealing with somniphobia is never a quick fix and not something a website can really tackle in one article. Finding the remedy for a problem of this magnitude at it's root is extremely critical for any long term success, but that can take weeks or months of discovery and analysis. Having said that, there are 6 essential tips that can gear you up for a restful sleep, all of which - in combination - have been known to help those with bouts of somniphobia (the fear of sleep).

1- Cooler Heads Prevail
Strenuous activity - such as exercise or too much running around with the kids will increase your body temperature - this makes falling asleep that much harder - even  for a normal person. For someone with insomnia the problem of a high body temperature is exponentially worse. Therefore it is advisable to leave the heavy lifting and treadmill routines for mornings. No exercise for at least 2 to 3 hours before your scheduled bed time.

2- Become The Chairman Of The Bored
Leave your favorite DVD's and video games alone already. Call Of Duty Black Ops can wait, because if you plan on saving the world just before bedtime, your heart rate and temperature can also increase, and of course your mind will almost certainly be geared towards craving more stimuli, not less. Instead, do something menial, something repetitive like hand washing clothes or polishing the silverware. Find your daughter's calculus text book and read chapter 1 thru 7. GET BORED! My favorite? CSpan. Works like a charm. :)

3- Plan "Operation Tomorrow"
Journals, as I have mentioned in the past, are an excellent way to clear your mind of troubling and nagging thoughts, things that can easily haunt you into the wee hours. When there are upcoming worries you know will require attention, first write down what they are and then jot down 2 or 3 things you can do tomorrow to help ease the stress. If you have scheduling conflicts or commitments that have you on edge, write down first what they are, and then 2 or 3 proposed solutions you can implement tomorrow. Once you've listed all that you think could be adding stress to your immediate future, shelf the journal - and the worries. Now you have a few cohesive solutions, so any more stressing out over the problem(s) is redundant, especially when a proper rest will certainly help you tackle them with a clearer mind set. You would be surprised at how well a journal works.

4- Never Go To Bed Angry
If you have any conflicts at home with a family member, leave the arguments and frustrations for some other time. Because 3 hours before your bed time is not the time to bring up overdue bills, your husband's late nights, or your kids bad grades. This may seem obvious, but for someone who worries about sleeping, sometimes the subconscious will poke a conflict out into the open just because it needs a legitimate excuse for why you can't sleep. Strange I know, strange but true. So Ignore and avoid arguments and household problems 3 hours before bedtime. If one starts, walk away from it.

5- Visit The Arctic Circle
Cooling down the bedroom 30 minutes before you sleep has statistically been proven as effective for inducing sleep. When I say cool, I mean as cool as you can stand it. The reason being that in the first place you'll need to bundle up under the covers for warmth, and secondly if your core body temperature is higher than it should be, a cool room can quickly rectify that situation. Ask anyone who's ever gone camping in the fall or winter months, most will tell you they "slept like a log".  A cooler ambient temperature can assist you to stay in a deeper sleep longer, and can lead to more quality rest.

6- Enough Is Enough
Once everything is done and your under the covers, turn on a white noise source and lay your head down. As I've said many times, Sleep Tracks is a highly recommended and excellent program based around white noise techniques, with many more benefits than I could list in this article. Having said that, any white noise source - from an MP3 of the ocean to rain showers, e.t.c... all can be the source for quieting your mind, allowing sleep to come. Some frequent travelers have found that MP3 recordings of the the engines on a plane helps them sleep with tremendous ease. Same has to be said with for train tracks (in transit) and a car engine cruising noise. For some, these are extremely soothing sounds and useful to induce a sleep state. Perhaps you can try and see for yourself.

If you feel that you may have somniphobia, or at least that your chronic condition leaves you anxious come bedtime, first off don't panic, just start by trying these 6 tops as potential insomnia cures, they have been known to work.