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Creating a Routine

Creating a nightly routine is one of the best ways to consistently and systematically get back into a proper sleep schedule. The routine can be as complex or as simple as you'd like, but find something that works for you and makes you feel comfortable. This page has some guidelines and examples to help formulate a routine that works for you. Feel free to mix and match these options, or throw in your own. These are in no particular order, so pick a few and try them yourself to see what works.

Disengage from Screens

You're on one right now, reading this, so this won't be helpful right this second, but consider breaking away from screens an hour or two before bed. At the very least, put your phone down, off and out of sight. Screens give off a type of light that makes you feel wired, and engagement with devices can keep your brain in "on" mode. It can all wait until the morning.

Drink Herbal Tea

Some herbal teas can help calm you down, and in some cases, even help to make you sleepy, or give you a better night's sleep.

A great example of this is valerian root tea. Valerian root has natural sleep inducing properties, though it is not a cure-all. Your mileage may vary, but it can get you in the right mood for a good night's sleep. Do be aware, however, that Valerian root is a bit infamous for having a foul smell, though most herbal teas featuring Valerian root mask this with other herbs.

Another great tea option for a calming feeling is chamomile tea.

Drink tea an hour or so before bedtime, and be sure to not drink so much that you'll need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Journal Your Thoughts

A huge contributor to insomnia is a restless mind. Sometimes, you'll be sitting in bed at night, turning left and right while your mind goes over everything in great detail, even to a point of nonsense. A good way to get out of your own head is to journal your thoughts.

I suggest a "brain dump" method of journaling for this purpose. Find a journal, paper, notepad or any writing surface. Sit down with your paper and simply begin writing literally anything going on in your head. Your first statement can even be about how you are going to write your thoughts.

Anything and everything that comes to your mind, write it down. Every single word. Completely write your entire stream of consciousness. Do this as long as you can, until you find that you pause to think about what is next. If you cannot think of the next thing to write within a few seconds, you are done.

This helps to give yourself some time to live with the thoughts that you would otherwise be fighting in bed. Let these thoughts happen and manifest in this physical form. Get them out of your head so you can rest!

Meditation / Mindfulness

While it may seem like an ancient idea, meditation can be a life changing practice. Modern guided meditation apps are an easy way to get into this practice, which can clear your mind and give you control over your thoughts before going to bed.

I recommend Headspace, an app for iOS and Android which comes with a free 10-session startup kit to get you going. It is paid beyond the startup kit, but the methods you learn from the first ten sessions can be used any time.

Meditation can be as quick as 10 minutes, which anyone should be able to find time for throughout the day. You'll come out the other side feeling refreshed and in control. At the very least, some quiet time to yourself in a world that is otherwise full of lights, notifications and interactions can help give your mind a chance to sort things out.

Insomnia Base

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