10 Steps that Helped Me Sleep at Night

By | March 27, 2013


In the summer of 2011 I became an insomniac. I’ve battled forever with my Alarm clock, the snooze button became my best friend and I was always waking up too late. My having a late start the first thing in the morning cast an unwelcome hue of irritation on the remainder of my day which made me both jittery and unhappy. I’ve tried my best to fix my sleeping patterns trying various things, I’ve even published a post asking for help (here) and I can finally say I’m now able to sleep at night, no pills and no potions necessary. My solution works for me and might not work for everyone and there are a bunch of factors involved but here it is, I hope this helps.

1- Lose the coffee: Being a heavy coffee drinker I used to drink a big fat cup of coffee then go to sleep back in the day. Sadly, I seem to have used up my supply of caffeine-enduring cells and now its time to act responsibly. I switched to decaf and found that even with decaf coffee I cannot sleep. With some trial and error, I realised the cut off time for my coffee drinking should be at 12:30 – 1 P.M. If I drink anything after, especially turkish coffee, I won’t be able to sleep. Tea however is still fine all day long which I’m thankful for.

2- Have an early light dinner: if I eat a heavy dinner I won’t be able to sleep properly and I will have a harder time waking up in the morning. My dinner should be done with two hours before my bedtime. Interestingly, I discovered that if I don’t eat bread/pasta/rice/potatoes for dinner, I wake up much easier in the morning! That’s something to ponder…

3- Set a bedtime, and cherish it: You need to sleep for six hours so you’d wake up normally. Start with the time you need to wakeup, take an hour more for bedtime rituals, and you will have a bedtime or a cut-off time for all other activities that keep you awake.

4- No bedtime reading: In my youth I used to read until I fell asleep. I discovered that on the nights I read something in bed, I don’t fall asleep and if I do, I can’t wake up. Probably because while I’m reading my mind is working on high gear and I need my mind to doze off. No more bedtime reading during the weekdays :(

5- No instagram, whatsapp, or Twitter: For some reason I noticed that all the social media action happens the moment I’m about to fall asleep! Either a fight or a juicy piece of news that everyone needs to discuss. Apparently I live in a community of insomniacs! Anyway, an hour before my bedtime I simply turn off my iPhone. Everything can wait till morning, I need my sleep.

6- No TV either: Why is it that the best of TV is only aired after ten? The best movies or the interesting talk shows? I’m not sure but I’ve gotten into the habit of switching off the TV, no questions asked, when its my bedtime. A good show will be shown again tomorrow or, if not, you can always record it. My sleep is more important than TV.

7- Bedtime Rituals: You should have a bedtime rituals and perform them routinely. It differs from one person to the next but mine include brushing my teeth, taking off my lenses, switching all unused electric outlets off, and using moisterizers to battle old age signs.

 8- Fresh clean sheets and fluffy scented pillows: There is nothing like slipping into a well made bed with clean cold soft sheets, when you are all tucked in snugly you take a whiff and smell the scents that make you happy -mine are rosewater and oud- you will feel a big surge of happiness. Its time to enjoy your sleep.

9- Listen to soothing sounds: When I’m all done with my bed rituals, I switch off the light and use my sound generating machine from OSIM (post). My favorites are the ocean waves or the thunderstorm sounds. I keep it playing for half an hour as I drift-off into a peaceful relaxing sleep. My sleep quality has improved greatly with this step. You can buy the machine at OSIM store in the Grand Avenues or you can download an app or put anything else you think will help.

10- The Sleep Cycle app:  This app on my iPhone was an enormous help in the days when my sleeping patterns were all over the place. It chooses the best time to wake you up by calculating your sleep phases rather than just wake you up at a given time and calculated the quality of your sleep and how long did you spend in bed. It also wakes you up with your favorite songs and currently its the Song of the Lonely mountain from the hobbit :) The app is my savior and I highly recommend you start with it. You can find it here (link).

Try these steps together and by god’s will they will work. I’ve been sleeping and waking up normally for a couple of months straight now and I’ve never been happier or calmer. I wake up feeling my life is in order again and I can begin to take control,  I might even be going on a diet soon. Sleeping right felt like the first puzzle piece falling in place to the rest of the map of my life, you deserve to feel that serene goodness as well.

This post is dedicated to all my former fellow insomniacs, especially Chill Pill Box and Doona :)

7 Responses to “10 Steps that Helped Me Sleep at Night”

  1. Elegant Chic says:

    Cheers for getting back your sleep on track!!! :)

  2. Hafsa says:

    I never had major sleep issues, yes I was a light sleeper but Alhumdulilah slept easily… until recently, but then again third trimester of pregnancy is majorly to blame, I guess the baby is preparing me for long nights :p.. but I will apply some of the tips mentioned to get me through the next couple of months when I CAN sleep, thanks for the post!:)

    • danderma says:

      Ah third trimester won’t work well with these tips, the baby will wake you up no matter what. Insha2 Allah you will deliver safely my dear o get a lovely little brother or sister to your adorable boy masha2 Allah :)

  3. Ghadeer says:

    No bed-time reading? :(

    • danderma says:

      To me sadly no :( I’ve been reading in bed ever since I could read. Perhaps its just a phase?