Personally, I have tried to stick to the mainstream view on ways to get to sleep and to stay asleep. Most work, but I also do things that they say you should not do to ensure that I get my 7 to 8 hours of sleep every 24 hours.
Because we are all different, no single thing works for everyone. And those that follow me know that I am a little bit 'different' in my thinking. So I take a rule, try it, and then modify it until it works. This is what I mean, here’s the rule followed by what works for me;
· Don't get back up - 'They' (those nameless people) say you should get back out of bed if you don't fall asleep within 30 minutes. I stay in bed and practice my relaxation techniques. If I get out of bed my brain wakes up.
· Get out of bed the same time each day - If I have a bad night sleep, I stay in bed. (Only works in the weekend though).
· Don't nap - I take a nap in the afternoons during the weekend to make up for lost sleep. Because I know that I have caught up on sleep during the day I am more relaxed when I go to bed knowing it is not crucial that I get a good night’s sleep. I’m going to make up for it in the weekends.
· Focus on a distant sound - It is said if you try and listen for a sound in the distance it keeps your brain away from thinking about how difficult it is for you to get to sleep. If I do this, it keeps me awake listening to all of the sounds.
· Get out of bed as soon as you wake - Not for me, if I can I will lay in bed, go to my happy place and often I will drift back into a deep sleep.
Try it for yourself, see what works for you. If you need a light on in your room because you don't like total darkness then do so. If you like to listen to music at night then that's fine. If you find that watching TV in bed works for you then do it.
The worst thing that you can do is worry, worry that you aren't getting enough sleep or that if you don't get to sleep you will be tired the next day and won't perform at your best. That’s true, you won’t. But watch what happens when you start to panic about not being at your best the next day, your adrenaline will kick in.
Do whatever it takes so as not to worry about not getting to sleep.
Lastly, it takes a while for your body and brain to adapt to change so don't do something different every night. Your brain will become anxious at the constant changes. Try something and make it a pattern for at least 7 days. If what you tried doesn't work then make a small change.