Do you have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep through the night? Do you often wake up feeling unrefreshed and / or remain sluggish throughout the day? Whether you experience mild, occasional bouts of insomnia or would consider yourself a chronic insomniac… you’re not alone! If you’re ready to say goodbye to sleepless nights and start sleeping like a baby again, this article is for you!
According to the National Sleep Foundation:
“Insomnia is a common sleep problem for adults. The National Institutes of Health estimates that roughly 30% of the general population complains of sleep disruption, and approximately 10% have associated symptoms of daytime functional impairment consistent with the diagnosis of insomnia.
In a 2005 Poll, more than half of people reported at least one symptom of insomnia (difficulty falling asleep, waking up a lot during the night, waking up too early and not being able to get back to sleep, or waking up feeling un-refreshed) at least a few nights per week within the past year. 33% percent said they had at least one of these symptoms every night or almost every night in the past year. The two most common symptoms, experienced at least a few nights a week in the past year, included waking up feeling unrefreshed and waking up a lot during the night.”
Another poll revealed that a whopping 68% of adults ages 18 to 29 report experiencing symptoms of insomnia!
Which leaves us two big questions:
- What is causing this widespread sleep disorder?
- What can you do to prevent and overcome insomnia in your own life?
Common Causes of Insomnia (Short-Term Acute and Long-Term Chronic)
Pulled straight from the Mayo Clinic:
“Insomnia is usually a result of stress, life events or habits that disrupt sleep…
Common causes of chronic insomnia include:
- Stress. Concerns about work, school, health, finances or family can keep your mind active at night, making it difficult to sleep. Stressful life events or trauma — such as the death or illness of a loved one, divorce, or a job loss — also may lead to insomnia.
- Travel or work schedule. Your circadian rhythms act as an internal clock, guiding such things as your sleep-wake cycle, metabolism and body temperature. Disrupting your body’s circadian rhythms can lead to insomnia. Causes include jet lag from traveling across multiple time zones, working a late or early shift, or frequently changing shifts.
- Poor sleep habits. Poor sleep habits include an irregular bedtime schedule, naps, stimulating activities before bed, an uncomfortable sleep environment, and using your bed for work, eating or watching TV. Computers, TVs, video games, smartphones or other screens just before bed can interfere with your sleep cycle.
- Eating too much late in the evening. Having a light snack before bedtime is OK, but eating too much may cause you to feel physically uncomfortable while lying down. Many people also experience heartburn, a backflow of acid and food from the stomach into the esophagus after eating, which may keep you awake.
Chronic insomnia may also be associated with medical conditions or the use of certain drugs. Treating the medical condition may help improve sleep, but the insomnia may persist after the medical condition improves.”
Additional common causes of insomnia include:
- Mental health disorders. Anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, may disrupt your sleep. Awakening too early can be a sign of depression. Insomnia often occurs with other mental health disorders as well.
- Medications. Many prescription drugs can interfere with sleep, such as certain antidepressants and medications for asthma or blood pressure. Many over-the-counter medications — such as some pain medications, allergy and cold medications, and weight-loss products — contain caffeine and other stimulants that can disrupt sleep.
- Medical conditions. Examples of conditions linked with insomnia include chronic pain, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), overactive thyroid, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Sleep-related disorders. Sleep apnea causes you to stop breathing periodically throughout the night, interrupting your sleep. Restless legs syndrome causes unpleasant sensations in your legs and an almost irresistible desire to move them, which may prevent you from falling asleep.
- Caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. Coffee, tea, cola and other caffeinated drinks are stimulants. Drinking them in the late afternoon or evening can keep you from falling asleep at night. Nicotine in tobacco products is another stimulant that can interfere with sleep. Alcohol may help you fall asleep, but it prevents deeper stages of sleep and often causes awakening in the middle of the night.”
If you struggle with insomnia, I urge you to find and circle all applicable causes above! Once you’ve determined the cause of your sleep disorder symptoms, you can begin to focus on, and find, solutions that will work for you. Some solutions are obvious- if you’re chugging coffee all day long and you can’t fall asleep, cutting caffeine after 12pm should help do the trick! Other solutions aren’t so obvious, which is why we we’ve complied this list of handy insomnia remedies (this is a staring place, not a comprehensive list).
YOU are unique, and depending on the root cause or causes of your insomnia, it may require a unique combination of solutions to resolve the symptoms you’re experiencing.
10 Natural Insomnia Remedies
Disclaimer: Make sure to consult your doctor first. We are not medical doctors and do not make any medical claims.
- Bedtime Affirmations (see below!)
- Set and stick to a sleep schedule, with consistent bedtimes and wake up times
- Exercise a few hours before you go to sleep
- Avoid or limit caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine
- Make your bedroom your sleep sanctuary. Create a calming, relaxing environment- however that looks for you!
- Try self-care and relaxation techniques before bed, such as taking a bath, stretching, meditation, prayer
- Use aromatherapy to unwind – lavender, chamomile, bergamot, valerian, sandalwood, and ylang ylang are all great essential oil options
- Avoid large meals and large beverages before you go to sleep
- Try herbal remedies- such as chamomile tea, St. John’s Wort, Valerian, Kava, and Melatonin
- Keeping a gratitude journal and practicing gratitude before bed
Positive Affirmations, Sleep Affirmations and How They Can Help!
If you find it hard to fall asleep due to stress, racing thoughts, or rumination, then sleep mantras, also known as sleep affirmations or bedtime affirmations, may be the solution for you. Evening affirmations (after dinner) can help you wind down, let go of the day, and de-stress, while bedtime affirmations can prepare your mind for a deep, rejuvenating sleep.
But what are affirmations? An affirmation is a thought you intentionally choose to think and repeat. You can read them, write them, listen to them on audio, or say them aloud. Positive affirmations are positive thoughts you choose to think, with the intention of creating the positive, desired results you wish to see in your life.
If the result you’re after is DEEP sleep, the following evening and bedtime affirmations list is designed to eliminate the stressful thought patterns that are keeping you up at night.
14 Evening Affirmations to Wind Down
- I am winding down now, releasing the day, feeling more and more relaxed with each passing moment.
- I am settling in, feeling grounded and cozy.
- I am so grateful for all of the good that occurred today, and I choose to hold on to ONLY the positive feelings.
- I let go of all tension in my mind and body, and welcome relaxation now.
- I am grateful for all of the things, big and small, that put a smile on my face or made me laugh today.
- I am grateful for everything that went right, for everything I did well. For all of the progress I made.
- I am grateful for all of the moments of connection and kindness I witnessed and experienced.
- Life is so beautiful- and I am looking forward to a great day tomorrow.
- Now, it’s time to rest. I am recharging, allowing myself to rejuvenate. Taking long, slow, deep breaths in and out now, letting the day drift away.
- My mind is feeling calm, at peace, and serene.
- I did enough, and I am enough.
- I am content and feeling good.
- I let go of the day fully and relax in the here and now.
- I am abundant, happy, and free.
- I will find it easily and effortless to fall asleep tonight
15 Sleep Affirmations Affirmations for Bedtime
- I am calm and at peace. I will go to sleep easily and sleep deeply tonight.
- I am a good sleeper. A night of great rest and relaxation is ahead of me.
- I repeat my bedtime affirmations every night because they work. Affirmations for sleep really do help me fall and stay asleep.
- My mind is at ease, and my body is preparing for deep, rejuvenating sleep.
- I unwind and let go now.
- Everything is slowing down now.
- I release the day with gratitude, appreciation, and love.
- Nothing but calming, serene energy envelops me now.
- I am anchored.
- As I sleep, my body heals and everything resets. My only job now is to rest and relax.
- I am fully surrendering now, allowing all tension to melt away.
- My head feels heavy on my pillow. My eyelids are growing heavier and heavier with each passing moment.
- I am comforted, safe, and soothed.
- My bedroom is my sleep sanctuary, and I am ready to drift sweetly into a sound, deep sleep now.
- I will sleep so well tonight. My long, deep inhales- and my slow, steady exhales, relax me more and more as the day floats away; and I float into a deep, perfect sleep.