The pain of insomnia cannot be underestimated. Things seem so bleak when you are awake, all alone in the dead of night. There are lots of techniques that can help break the habit of insomnia.
If you have tried all the usual solutions and are still lying awake most of the night, you might be ready to try the slightly more off- the- wall suggestions in my emergency sleep kit.
Being unable to sleep is often caused by worry and anxiety. In many traditions, fears are believed to be stored in the kidneys so meditating on this area of the body can help release the fears that are creating the insomnia. Coldness is also associated with fear, we say such things as ‘frozen with fear’ or having ‘cold feet.’ So try imagining your kidneys and feel a gentle heat develop within them. Do this for several minutes and then imagine the warmth spreading through the rest of your body and into the mind making your feel warm, cosy and sleepy.
Animals don’t have any trouble sleeping. You never see a cat or dog tossing and turning and struggling to drift off. So take a leaf out of their book. Imagine you are a dog or a cat. See yourself experiencing their day, running through woods and fields or exploring gardens and alleyways. Then imagine yourself returning home to the delightful treat of being allowed into bed. Feel your animal body as it snuggles into the luxurious duvet and pillows. If thoughts come into your head, remind yourself that you are a dog or cat and that animals don’t worry about such things.
Creative pursuits often achieve the right balance between keeping the mind occupied enough for it not to be causing you problems and over-stimulating it which makes it harder to sleep. You could try doodling or a kids puzzle book and there are many colouring books out for adults now, with beautiful designs from mandalas to sports cars, so keep one handy along with a packet of coloured pens or pencils.
If all these ideas fail, audio books, podcasts or radio shows are perfect for whiling away the hours when sleep is impossible.Try not to feel anxious about sleeping and instead invest in the audio version of a book you have been longing to read or even a language CD. Choose something relaxing and uplifting, cliffhangers and suspense will stimulate the mind too much and anything violent will make your body release adrenaline which will wake you up faster than an espresso.