Do you lay awake at night not particularly worrying but simply thinking about things? Maybe it’s shopping lists, tasks you need to do in the morning or something you mustn’t forget.
Here are a couple of tricks that you can employ to help you get back to sleep:
Use a notepad or a reminder on your phone.
If there is something you must remember to do, write it down. Either keep a notepad by your bed or use a notepad app on your phone. I use Google Keep and I also create reminders on my phone that beep at me when I need to do something I might forget. In doing this you are getting the thought out of your head and the paper can remember it for you.
Use my mother’s trick of “alphabeticalising”
This was a trick my mother taught me years ago and I have used it so many times when I can’t sleep.
- Pick a subject that you know fairly well, I go with crystals, birds, towns or countries usually.
- Start at the letter A and name something from that subject, so if I was going with towns I would go with Amsterdam.
- Move on to the next letter and repeat the process. B – Berlin.
- Keep working through the alphabet until you get stuck. This is what you are aiming for. When you can’t think of a town repeat the letter in your mind waiting for a word to appear. So if I was stuck on J I would be laying there thinking “j….j….j…j….ja…. jb…jc…jd….je…jf….” trying to see if a word pops into my mind.
- Hopefully, while you are repeating the letter you drop through the gaps and fall asleep.
- If you get to Z and you’re still not asleep pick another subject and go again. At the worst times I limited myself to green crystals, knowing that green is the most common colour in my collection but is still limited.
This could be considered a form of mindfulness, you’re repeating what equates to a mantra that blocks out the thoughts and bores your mind until you sleep.
My most common tool is an old MP3 player with an audiobook that I have heard before loaded onto it. It lives in it’s speaker dock and when I wake I turn on the speaker, unpause the audiobook and set the volume.
When I started using this I could lay back and listen, in the dark, with my eyes closed. Knowing the story meant I didn’t need to listen to hear what happened next and I could slowly drift off to sleep. These days I have programmed my brain to recognise the process of turning it on as an instruction to go back to sleep and I rarely hear more than a few seconds.
Bach Flower Remedies
These are really effective for these situations and the most common one would be White Chestnut. This fits the situation of annoying random thoughts perfectly. I keep a bottle by the bed and if I really can’t get back to sleep or wake a number of times I take a couple of drops straight from the bottle and I am off again.
Sleep is really important in living with SAD and if we can get this right then a lot more of the symptoms become easier.