Claire Souch  asked 4 years ago

Insomnia is thought to regularly affect around one in every three people in the UK. There are lots of standard lists on the internet on how to solve it (regular going to sleep/waking up times etc.), but does anyone have any specific tips as to what helps, and how to deal with the after effects the day after?

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Claire Souch

Thanks for sharing your experiences and tips and tricks so far. I just came across this article today by the fantastic Oliver Burkeman on a new technique for tackling insomnia  Shuffle your thoughts and sleep - I will try it out - but hopefully not tonight ;) 

 Written 4 years ago
Peter Nakada Head Product Specialist @ Stone Ridge Asset Management

For me, the trick is to avoid the following cycle:

1. You look at the clock and think "omg, I'm only going to get n hours of sleep"

2. This stresses you out, so it is even harder to fall asleep

3. It gets one hour later and the stress gets worse

4. Decrement n by one and repeat Steps 1 to 4

The way I break this cycle is to convince myself that lying in bed with my eyes closed is almost as good as sleeping.  Whether or not this is true is beside the point -- it just takes down the stress levels.  The second thing I tell myself -- which I've found to be pretty true -- is that you can get stuff done the next day even if you've gotten little or no sleep.  What I find is that following a night of little sleep, I can actually focus better sometimes.  My mind only has enough energy to focus on one thing (rather than being able to wander off on lots of things) so I can get one thing done at a time. To be sure I wouldn't want to be operating heavy machinery, but I can write a good article or perform a good analysis on very little sleep.

 Written 4 years ago
Joseph Kim chief maker @ huupe

I don't know if my situation qualifies as insomnia, but I often wake up around 3am - 4am and then have a hard time fall back to sleep. This typically happens when I am under stress. I used to try to go back to sleep knowing that I will suffer through the day if I don't get enough sleep. But of course, more I try, more I would not fall back asleep.

Several years back, I decided I will just get up and start to do something - read, work, get on the elliptical, whatever. For me, at least, this helped me quite a bit. Yes, I would suffer the following day, but I figured I would suffer anyways spending several hours in the bed trying to fall back to sleep, so might as well get something done.

I now have less number of interrupted sleep. I certainly don't have the professional opinion as to why, but a personal theory is that one big contributor to my condition was the fear (and stress) of the condition itself, and now it went away.

I don't know how applicable this is to you, but hope it helps.

 Written 4 years ago


Hi Claire,

It’s a very interesting question. A few suggestions - hopefully you’ll find this helpful.

There’s been interesting studies on the correlation between exercise and sleeping patterns. The suggestion suggests exercise significantly improves the sleep and helps individuals to fall asleep more quickly. This may sound over simplistic, but taking a few "walking breaks" during your work day (even short distances), using stairs instead of elevators, walking instead of taking the tube/bus are all “tricks” that can help. If you work out, i would exercise in the morning instead of evenings.

As you know, there is also a direct correlation between stress/anxiety levels and insomnia. While reducing stress levels is easier said than done, I would try the following tips for a few weeks to see if it helps:
- Increase your water consumption. Staying hydrated when you are low on sleep will help your body cope and recover
- Create a “winding down” period in your calendar at the end of each working day. Use this time to do work alone (no meetings)
- A few hours before going to sleep, switch off any smart-phones/tablets/computers
- Make your bedroom a technology-free zone. According to Harvard Medical School, "specific wavelengths of light can suppress the slumber-inducing hormone melatonin in the brain
- Eat regularly throughout the day, smaller meals 5-6 times a day and try having your last meal 4-5 hours before going to bed
- When you catch up on sleep, go to bed early, rather than sleeping in later

I hope you’ll find this helpful! 
 Written 4 years ago

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