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Let’s Talk About Insomnia

Most people know that sleep is incredibly important to repair the mind and the body. How can you possibly take on the day when you haven’t slept well? And when sleep starts to disrupt your life, then you’ll lay awake worrying about that!

It’s a horrible cycle.

As mental health therapists, we hear people talking about “their mind not shutting off” or they can’t fall asleep no matter what they try. Sometimes, they have a spouse who stays up late who won’t sleep and then can’t get up. Other times, people say they wake up at 2 or 3am and then can’t go back to sleep.

Most of the time, our clients have tried everything and they don’t know what else to do.

The first thing you have to take care of is your sleep hygiene.

  1. Follow natural circadian rhythms. Go to bed when the sun goes down and get up when it comes up. Many people stay up late into the night because that was the only time they had to themselves as a child. They loved the quiet. But then they can’t get up in the morning and the day starts in chaos. The body works better when we follow nature and go to bed at the same time every night as well as get up at the same time every day.
  2. Keep your bedroom dark, cool and quiet. No cats in there kneading you or waking you up early to be fed. Some married partners aren’t able to sleep in the same bed because one person moves or snores or comes to bed too late. Arrange it so that you have a quiet space for a full 8 hours if at all possible even if it means sleeping in a different room.
  3. If you can, have a noise machine, a big fan, or even ear plugs to block out unnecessary noise.
  4. Don’t sleep in on the days you didn’t sleep well. Get up and gut it out because if you sleep in, you won’t be able to go to sleep that night and the pattern is thrown off.
  5. Limit your caffeine intake even in the morning. You could try mixing in a little decaf and just seeing if it helps. (You might be tempted to skip this, don’t. Just do it as an experiment.)
  6. Have two blankets. One for when you are colder and one for when you get too warm. Switch them out as needed.
  7. Consider talking to a doctor about a temporary sleeping aid to get you into the flow of sleeping at a good time again. The sleep aid doesn’t have to be an addictive medication that makes you nervous to take. There are older antidepressants that work incredibly well and are primarily now used for sleep issues. Once a rhythm is established again, that could be all you need.
  8. Whatever you do, do something and try to take control of this problem. Don’t minimize the effect not sleeping has on your life.

Alternative things to think about:

  1. Are your hormones changing? Did you just have a baby? Are you going through menopause? What about PCOS? Hormones can affect your sleep and they also can be remedied by seeing a doctor who specializes in this, can test you, and get you on the right prescription.
  2. Have you had a recent trauma and need to talk to someone? Different therapies like EMDR, IFS, and CBT can help address the repetitive thoughts that are keeping you up. Traumas can be very dysregulating to the nervous system.
  3. Have you tried supplements? Magnesium glycinate and magnesium sprays can help. You spray the magnesium on your feet and rub into your skin. Lots of other supplements can have a calming effect. Do some research to find the ones that help. Consider joining a Facebook group that is attempting to troubleshoot insomnia issues.
  4. Are your cortisol levels too high? You can also have these tested. There are also remedies to help bring down your cortisol levels.
  5. How are your glucose levels? 
  6. Have you ever considered doing neurofeedback or biofeedback to train your brain to relax again?
  7. Have you done a sleep study to find out more information about your sleep patterns? 
  8. If there’s a relationship issue that’s keeping you worried, it might be helpful to talk to someone about that in a safe, supportive environment.

 

Know that sleep issues affect all of us from time to time, but also know there are treatments for them. Please reach out if you would like to talk to someone about your anxiety and/or your insomnia.

At Free Clear Mind, we provide a safe environment for you to identify and work through the things that are causing you to not sleep. Our therapists are sensitive counselors who understand sensitive people and they have many years of combined experience to find what works for you. 

A free clear mind is the first step.

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Free Clear Mind Therapy provides in-person therapy in Fishers & Indianapolis and online therapy across Indiana. Specializing in anxiety therapy for teens, adults, and kids.

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