We all know someone who complains about not sleeping or sleeping badly. In Europe, about one third of the adult population has difficulty falling asleep and between 10% and 15% suffer from chronic insomnia. I myself have suffered from insomnia for a long time. This is a problem that can have various causes (from the excessive use of digital devices that emit blue light – computers, tablets, TVs, etc. – to biological issues). One of the causes may also be the obsession with sleeping well.
What is this obsession? It is a phenomenon called orthosomnia (from the Greek ortho, “perfect”, and from the Latin somnia, “rest”) and, according to experts, although it is not yet considered a disorder, it is getting increasingly common. It consists in continually recurring thoughts, that I call “circular thoughts”, namely thoughts that enter a vicious circle precisely because they are always the same and recur all the time. The main causes of these thoughts are, guess what, stress and anxiety. Not being able to sleep, your mind does not stop thinking about the same things over and over (hence circular thoughts, i.e. thoughts that come back).
If you suffer from insomnia, even if not severe, it would be good to do a complete sleep study (polysomnography) to find an effective solution. I had this test. I was in a sleep clinic for one night, with electrodes attached all over the body including, of course, the head. I have found that, during my sleeping time, Alpha waves (the brain waves typical of the awaking period) intrude from time to time.
The obvious solution would be to try eliminating or at least reducing stress. I know, it’s not easy. Therefore, I propose that you try the following five tips.
- Learn to breathe well and deeply by practising a discipline such as Yoga, Pilates or meditation.
- Create a relaxing environment. A quiet home is the key to a restful night. If you have trouble falling asleep, keep your bedroom clean and clear of unnecessary items, tidy up the things you have left lying around and you will see that you will have a more peaceful night.
- Use essential oils that are particularly suitable for inducing sleep, such as lavender or chamomile.
- Create a playlist to help you relax and fall asleep.
- Try using Bach Flowers and melatonin. White Chestnut against circular thoughts and Rescue Sleep to help you fall asleep. I used them for several months, then gradually I stopped and now I suffer much less from thoughts that come back and I also sleep much better. At the moment I use only melatonin and I think it is a good solution for my insomnia.