Well, here you are after over a month of navigating the world of finally taking back your life from insomnia. I salute you – it takes a lot of personal effort and mental fortitude to get through the past five weeks. You’re well on your way to getting rid of chronic insomnia for good. This week, we are wrapping up and I’m giving you some additional insomnia resources to dig deeper if you want.

So – how did it go?

Are you falling asleep fairly easily now? Are you staying asleep?

And are you sleeping for a consistent block of time? Like even if you’re not rested, you’re still sleeping a consistent 5+ hours per night, almost every night between the same time periods?

If you answer to any of these is no, I encourage you to try again.

And again.

And again if needed.

I promise that if you take the steps outlined in this course, particularly the sleep restriction section, you will get it. Once you do get it, it creates a positive feedback loop and your sleep will continue to improve.

The Foundational Tenant of Good Sleep

So let’s recap. There are a few core actions you should take to eradicate insomnia from your life.

But the one needed before anything else is a degree optimism that you can and will sleep and the commitment to get better. All of the resources for insomnia in the world won’t work if you don’t believe you can sleep. If you are already convincing yourself that you’ve tried everything and nothing has worked, you are already setting yourself up to failure. I hope that throughout this course I have highlighted how and why you should feel at least some optimism. However, if you’re still not convinced after reading 50,000+ words of encouragement and affirmation, you may need an extra boost.

the word hope in a garden. On article about additional insomnia resources to finally get to sleep.

What does hope for good sleep look like?

The added resources for insomnia depends on your comfort level and what you feel is right for you.

For some, it may be going to your doctor to discuss anti-anxiety/anti-depression options. It may be getting prescription sleeping pills for a mental safety net. Once you can get some sleep, even if assisted with drugs for the time being, it will help you create some space to do some inner work of softening the anxiety around sleep.

It may be speaking to a psychologist about insomnia and other traumas that may be blocking you from feeling relaxed enough to fall asleep. I know it’s easy to say, “just go to therapy!” when the going rate (at least where I am) is $220 an hour.

But there are options like BetterHelp and Talkspace (paid) or HearMe and MellowTalk (free). I personally tried BetterHelp and it was good to just get things off my chest. But I personally didn’t find it beneficial for getting to the root of any of my issues.

There is also StrongestFamilies.com which is a free, self directed program to overcome anxiety and depression (Canada only). Alternatively, there is BuddyHelp (free if you match with a volunteer listener, paid to be matched with a counselor). They also have a list of resources for a bunch of countries here.

For others, it may be turning to a spiritual leader for guidance about finding inner peace.

Additionally, for some of you, it may be a matter of reading or taking some courses to get some perspective. The popular course from Yale, The Science of Wellbeing, is offered for free on Coursera.

Other books and insomnia resources I highly recommend are:

  • Wherever you go, there you are – Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • Full Catastrophic Living – Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook – Edmund J. Bourne
  • Reclaim Your Life: Act Therapy in 7 Weeks – Carissa Gustafson
  • Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor E. Frankl
  • Rewire Your Anxious Brain – Catherine M. Pittman and Elizabeth M. Karle
  • School of life YouTube channel

Whatever your flavour, the first step in healing is knowing you can and will get better.

The Vital Ingredients to Overcoming Chronic Insomnia

Most of the actions suggested in this course are paramount to developing good sleep habits. Some are “plug-ins” of whatever may work for you on a personal level. Let’s briefly review the core elements to developing a consistent sleep routine where you feel rested.

Week 1 – the key for all insomnia resources

In Week 1, you learned about the foundations of sleep. What exactly happens on a physiological and hormonal level to make it possible to sleep like the stages of your sleep, 24 hour cycle, and sleep drive. If you have spoken with a doctor and ruled out any medical conditions that are affecting your sleep/wake cycles, you have control over how well these work.

You also received an overview of the things that can greatly get in your way of getting a good sleep. This include the underlying reasons for insomnia, your F3 alarm, and poor sleep efficiency

To being overcoming the factors preventing you from sleeping, I discussed the very first steps in the insomnia journey:

  • getting out of bed when you can’t sleep
  • self soothing when your mind starts to go off the rails, and
  • not resorting to your phone when you do so.

This is the preliminary stuff that underscores a lot of what was to come, because you are literally reconditioning your response to your bed and your sleep. Even if it didn’t feel that way, or still doesn’t feel that way, your brain is working hard to form new pathways that bed = sleep rather than stress. 

Week 2 – The pinnacle of insomnia resources

Week 2 was all about sleep restriction, and creating a bedtime routine to better facilitate sleep. This is of of the key resources for insomnia that you need to tackle. The other crucial foundation is rewiring your brain to sleep along with the steps discussed in week 1. This is the literal key to stopping insomnia in its tracks without having to use medication. If you are currently on medication, this is the key to getting off of it eventually if that’s your goal (again, discuss any medication changes or tapering with your doctor – it can cause something called rebound insomnia which in the grand scheme of things isn’t a big deal but can be jarring when you are in the midst of putting in personal work to defeat insomnia). 

Week 3 – The insomnia resources for tackling negative thinking

This week we went through why a lot of ingrained beliefs about sleep are just plain wrong, and cause far too many people a lot of unnecessary stress. I threw a lot at you here, but the goal is to show you that you don’t have to buy into the high stress and anxiety you feel around sleep. If you take away anything from this week, try to pinpoint one sore spot for you and work on it.

Week 4 – Creating some positive thoughts around sleep

Week 4 was focused on unhooking from your thoughts. I gave a lot of suggestions on how to do this, but I suggest you pick one or two that really resonates with you. For example, I prefer philosophical meditation over traditional “let your thoughts float by” type of meditation. Or when connecting myself, I like spending time in nature but can very much see the value in the other suggestions like being a kid for a day or a body scan. Again, pick one or two things that stick out to you and work on those.

Week 5 – Honing in on the insomnia resources you can use to get to sleep easily

The final week of the program focused on creating, essentially, a personalised ritual to crafting a life around good sleep. If I haven’t mentioned it yet, insomnia isn’t just a night time problem – it’s very much a day time one too. So we need to take care of ourselves during the day so we naturally fall into relaxation at night.

For example, my special ‘mix’ and resources for insomnia that helps me relax is:

  • Take vitamin D and multi vitamins in the morning
  • Exercise and get outside when I can, even if I’m tired (do modified – aka shorter or lighter – exercise)
  • Do philosophical meditation when my sleep starts to suffer
    • What I mean by my sleep suffering: this happens I usually go from sleeping 7+ hours per night to being a bit more erratic and only getting 4-6 hours. At this point, I know there’s some underlying issue I need to deal with. And if my anxieties aren’t dealt with, poor sleep can snowball.
      • By the way, it should be reiterated that even when you overcome chronic insomnia, you can have bouts of acute and transient insomnia. It’s normal and it’s ok.
  • Taking a shower at night by candlelight
  • Taking a ZMA supplement an hour before bed
  • Wear earplugs every night (I’m a light sleeper) and an eye mask during the summer when the sun sets late and rises early
  • Deep belly breathing when I lie down
  • And if I don’t relax enough to fall asleep, I listen to guided breathing (there’s lots of good stuff on Insight Timer)
insight timer
Easily the best app for meditation (not sponsored)

Over time, you’ll find your natural pattern to put you in a state of relaxation enough to fall asleep.

What’s Your Circuit Breaker?

This is what you do to ‘reset’ when you’ve tried all your normal things and they still don’t work. I still have night like these, as do 1/3 of the whole world’s population even though they’re not chronic insomniacs.

For me, when the above things don’t work, I:

  • Get out of bed and try to sleep on the couch (sometimes this enough)
  • Read
  • Sit up and do the ‘bus driver’ meditation
  • Take an edible or CBD oil (legal here in Canada)
  • Take an Ativan (for when everything else has failed)

Essentially as time goes on, you’ll develop a sleep routine that works most of the time but you’ll have a back up ‘circuit breaker’ for when things fall to shit. It happens, and it’s ok.

Finale of ALL the insomnia resources

That was a lot to get through, right? It takes a ton of mental and physical work to get through the first but critical stage of forever banishing chronic insomnia for life.

But you did it. You put in the hard work, and you’re here thriving more than you were 5 weeks ago. I hope things are very much looking up for you, and you’re well on your way to a restful, calm, and peaceful life.

Namaste.

the end of mario 64 with mario and peach on a cake with a star on top.