Help this insomniac sleep!
October 8, 2011 11:33 AM Subscribe
How can I motivate myself to develop good sleeping habits?
Ever since I was a child--I'm in my 30s now--I have had horrible sleeping habits. I tend to sleep late even when I'm exhausted, and my anxiety causes me to stay awake. I'm also one of those people who could zone out on the internet until quite late and suddenly realize that it is actually 2am and I really should go to sleep.
I think this is mostly a psychological problem. Part of this was a reaction to my parents' constant admonitions to sleep earlier, so of course I would sleep late. Part of this was because when I *did* go to sleep at a proper time--say, midnight--despite my exhaustion, I would just be up and wide awake for hours, unable to sleep. So I've developed a habit now of sleeping after midnight, and only after extreme exhaustion (hence the internet surfing).
Needless to say, even when I get 8 hours I'm pretty tired, and I should probably get to sleep much earlier. My head is always fuzzy. I've developed shortness of breath and a tightness in my chest from this--when I went to see a doctor about it, she said that it was because of my sleeping habits: I really should be going to sleep from 10pm-12am, this makes sense as that is when my body would really like to sleep too.
All of this has caused me a lot of anxiety about sleeping. Will I get to sleep? Will I sleep early enough? What if I don't get to sleep? etc. It's a constant cycle of sleep debt and sleep binging. This week alone, I had an important test, so the night before, I had about 3 hours of sleep after tossing and turning all night. The next night, after going to sleep at 3am, I had 8. Last night I was actually early--went to sleep at 2am.
When I do manage to get myself to sleep 8 hours before midnight, it feels *great*. My skin is better, I'm more awake, I have more energy.
I'm currently a lady of leisure so I don't even have to worry about getting up in the mornings for work, but I'd like to finally start developing good habits to get myself to sleep earlier.
(Things that I have tried and not worked: Health Month, melatonin, valerian, meditation, yoga, exercise, sleeping pills are hit and miss--if I am worried enough I'll stay awake right through them.)
TL, DR: How can get myself to sleep between 10pm-midnight on a regular basis?