What should I do to sleep better?
For many years, I had trouble sleeping. I tried several tips to improve my sleep, but they weren’t enough to solve the problem. Finally, I found the cause and the solution that tackles it directly. My search for a solution is over.
I suffered from not being able to fall fast asleep for many years. It normally took me an hour or more. While I was awake in bed, my mind was everywhere. I thought it was a bad habit. I believed that I had so many thoughts because of my body condition. So, I tried to solve it by changing physical conditions.
These are the things I tried to sleep better:
Drinking warm milk before I go to bed. Turning off all the lights to keep my room dark. Stopping watching YouTube in bed since it keeps my nerves awake. Keeping a daily routine, so that my body knows when to sleep and when to wake up.
They were useful. But they helped me only partially and temporarily.
It wasn’t until I started meditation that I realized I had to pay more attention to the causes than the physical symptom itself. And in my case, the causes are from my mind, not from the body condition. The first action I took was to identify the causes and get rid of them through meditation.
When I meditated, I reflected on what was going on in my mind while in bed. Things from the day were flooding back to my mind. My thoughts were like these: “I said that to him and now I regret it. What would he think about me? I wish I could turn the clock backward.” “I’m so proud of myself about what I said today. It was such a brilliant line to say.” “She was so arrogant. How could she tell me such things?“ And I hated myself who wasn’t able to speak up. And all other random thoughts from the past and about the future came up as well.
With reflection, I was able to admit that I was very self-conscious. I got rid of the thoughts and concerns. The result came gradually like fog was cleared away. Yet, I felt that there was still something to be done.
One day I heard someone say, “I stayed up all night last night, but this morning I went out to exercise as usual.” These plain words hit me. Actually it was the way he said it that inspired me. He seemed to take ‘staying up all night’ as nothing. I thought to myself, “right, lack of sleep for one or two days is not a big deal!”
It was then when I found the piece I missed. It was the worries about ‘not having good sleep,’ concerns about ‘feeling tired the whole day,’ and irritation of bad sleep itself. When the night came, these concerns came to my mind. It was like an everyday habit.
So, I cleared the worries away. When the worries were gone, I was able to fall asleep fast.
Another symptom I had was that it was really difficult to get back to sleep once I woke up in the middle of the night.
Imagine that you are sleeping in the mountain where wild animals live. If you wake up at night, you are highly alert and can’t go back to sleep again. This is how I felt if I describe it.
I learned about cortisol hormone, the so-called stress hormone. If you are under stress, the level of cortisol hormone rises. When your body is on high alert, such as in a ‘fight-or-flight situation’, cortisol shuts down the functions that get in the way and makes your body ready to respond in dangerous situations.
So, when you are exposed to stressful situations constantly, your body stays in the high level of cortisol, which interrupts your sleep. You need to work on your stress first.
I was carrying a lot of worries and stress, which kept me alert in the middle of the night. I examined my mind and found what made me anxious. During meditation, I was able to let go of them. Once my mind relaxed, so did my body.
I fall asleep fast now, and I don’t get anxious about bad sleep. I feel relaxed even when I wake up in the middle of the night and can go back to sleep right away. But, what I am grateful for the most is the fact that I know what to do if I have bad sleep. Finally I am free from the worries about bad sleep.
In order to sleep better, you should reflect on your mind and pinpoint the reasons for your poor sleep. Causes lie inside your mind, so getting rid of it is the only way to solve the problems.
A simple but clear message is conveyed in the video below.