If you’ve been labeled as having insomnia by the medical community, my first plea is to change that thought and pattern. Labels can have a HUGE affect on our lives and our health. Thoughts and words become things, so even if you’ve had this burden of multiple labels placed on your mind, it’s time to change.
I remember the days of walking into my doctors office as the ADD, UC, acne, anxiety, allergy, asthma girl or at least that’s what it felt like. There was another diagnosis in there, but my Ob/Gyn NEVER made me feel like a combination of labels, just a human going through some shit. I would go in, get my vital signs taken, get asked about my symptoms (never my food, stress, relationships, environment, exposures, work). Then I would get my medications titrated or a new one added or taken away, pay my co-pay and be on my way. Anyway, once I began the journey away from Western allopathic medicine, I saw the difference it made on my patients when I treated them like human with complexities and stuff going on rather than the label that I could slap a pill on.
Labels coming from healthcare professionals can hold the most weight on patients. So I ask my fellow HCP’s to take it easy and think before your call your patient a crazy, non-compliant, lazy, anxious, irritable, acne-filled insomniac. And the rest of us, will have to go within and ask ourselves why we can’t sleep, why we’re so anxious or why is our skin breaking out. When our bodies and mind act out, it’s because they’re talking to us. Will we listen?
Okay, onto the easy peasy tips.
Sleep: If you have trouble turning it off and falling asleep, try legs up the wall. Google legs up the wall pose on bed and do it at night before bed. Make sure you haven’t consumed caffeine or alcohol 2-3 hours before, your room is dark, your electronics are gone and try it. Place a pillow on your belly and focus on your breath. What this does is place your body into the parasympathetic mode, which causes us to rest and digest. Elongate your exhale and just breathe. Turn it off for a few minutes and see what the body allows to happen.
Meditation for Beginners: My dear friend Jill had never meditated her entire life. She then signed up for a 10-day silent meditation retreat. Bold move!! I’m not sure how her experience was overall, but she did say it was ‘hard, hard, hard’. I asked her to give me some tips to pass on, since I’m such a seasoned meditator now (NOT! Getting to 13 minutes once a day is hard, hard, hard!!). Here is what she said: “It takes practice. Start by doing 5 minutes, twice a day, then get comfortable with that. Then increase your time”. I’m going to go a little more extreme and ask to start with 1-2 minutes twice a day. Seriously, it’s hard to get through 60 seconds sometimes, but if you consistently practice, you’ll eventually build up. And no judgement. There is no bad meditation or good meditation, it’s really just a normal human state as we are human BEINGS, just trying to be.
Cool? Let me know how these tips go for you. And as for changing the pattern, I like to use mantras or affirmations. “I am healthy” “I am sleepy” “I am stress-free” “I am energized” “My skin is clearing up” “My gut is happy” You get the drill. What would be some of your affirmations?