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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

How To Fight Insomnia, With Words


The other day on Snapchat, there was an interesting article about sleeping troubles. Medical experts shared their opinion on insomnia. Both on what causes it and what reduces the risk of suffering sleepless nights.

An article like this is important. For many of us, falling asleep isn't as easy as laying down. Every night comes with an intolerable amount of tossing and turning. Our brains overthinking everything we've done in our lives and everything we haven't. Questions about the Universe and why we're even here swirling in our heads, mixing colors like a painter would. Every single night.

If you ask the experts, this is in large because of the electronic age we're all living in. Our constant constant exposure to social media. Our brains process so much information in a day, it can be overwhelming. That makes it hard to unwind. Especially if you're prone to panic or anxiety at night. Insomnia is a constant battle for anyone who suffers it. The good news is, you can always fight back!
Of course, there are environmental factors to take into consideration first. A poor night of rest can be due to the comfort of your mattress, pillow and other surroundings. If your bed is too crowded, or too empty. These can all add up to how well you're able to relax. But, we're going to focus on the internal struggles of the brain, rather than the environment.

The first thing any sleep expert will suggest is meditation. They will stress the importance of deep breathing, and letting go of everything that is bothering you. Deep breathing, relaxing. Blah blah blah. I know far too many people who can't get into that stuff for any of it to actually work. I tried meditating only once. I couldn't sit still long enough to concentrate and the silence made me irritable. I'm not knocking meditation, just saying it's not the solution for everyone.

Mixed in with all the typical opinions of sleep experts all over the world was one that really stood out. This suggestion was made by Kathryn Pinkham (National Health Services, a specialist in treating insomnia). Her thought was: write down everything that's floating around in your brain.
Alright. She had my full attention.

I could go on for hours about the benefits of writing myself. With no certificates or credentials, it means very little. Kathryn, on the other hand, has the credentials and she's saying the same thing I would!

Now, for all the bragging I do about the benefits of writing, I never considered it would lessen insomnia. It makes sense, right? If your brain is awake and overthinking something, start writing down those thoughts. Instead of swirling in the brain, those same thoughts will be left on the paper, where you can deal with them in the morning. Kathryn assured that many of these issues we think are important will end up being meaningless. Those important thoughts will continue to swirl, but writing them down will help you get a hold of the real issues. Kathryn also suggested making lists if your brain can't fall asleep. Brainstorming, but about things that often don't relate to each other.
Many experts say if you can't fall asleep, the solution is to get back up. They also suggest staying awake from electronics. But, come on. How many of us will get back up and not pick up our cell phones? Exactly!

Of course, Kathryn suggests that all writing be done in the old-fashioned way of a pen and a paper. Or, keeping a journal by your bed for use each night. All it takes is about 15-20 minutes of writing. Your brain will feel empty, even if all you did was write down random sentences, or talk about your day. Simply let your thoughts flow into your before-bed journal and forget about them for the night!
I don't know if this actually works since I've never tried it myself. I can tell you: I'm going to try it out the next time I can't sleep!

Remember: A good nights sleep can drastically affect your productivity and ability to focus!