Shhh….I won’t tell if you won’t.

The world’s best beauty secret is free and you do it every night. Just not enough of it. (It’s sleep by the way). BD’s Doha contributor Tricky takes us through tried and tested drug-free ways to combat insomnia and get your much needed daily dose.

” It’s a thief in the night to come and grab you. It can creep inside you and come and consume you. A disease of the mind it can control you. I feel like a monster, oh”

The lyrics of Rihanna’s hit song Disturbia accurately describe my problems trying to get to sleep. I’ve suffered from insomnia most of my adult life. It’s usually brought on by anxiety. For example, I’ve never been able to doze off when I know I have to speak in public. I am paralysed with fear that I’ll do or say something stupid and it keeps me awake all night. Over the years I’ve learnt some coping methods. Here are a few:

Zero booze
I never drink on “school nights” ( loosely translated) if I have to work the next day. In the first few hours of the night, alcohol can knock you out. But I find you wake up at around two in the morning and may not be able to get back to sleep after that. Result: you’re tired and grumpy and not great to be around….

Doze light
It’s fun eating chicken biryani, roti, poppadoms and paneer with the girls. But it’s not the best thing right before going to bed.  Lying down with a full stomach of undigested food definitely gives me trouble. I try to eat at least three hours before bed. And if I get hungry before hitting the sack, I drink something hot.  A cup clear chicken soup is a goodie for me. But not tea or coffee because of the high caffeine content which keeps you awake. Also not hot chocolate. There’s something in the old wives tale that milky drinks before going to bed give you nightmares…..

Wired brain
The downside of iPhones, laptops etc is that you can never really switch off. Like most of my friends I spend at least an hour every evening surfing the net and watching telly at the same time. Not good. The human brain is still evolving to cope with such a barrage of information and mine at least is way behind. Especially if you trawl through dense information for a living. Ulysses or The Famished Road are not examples of good bedtime reading for the same reason. Something along the lines of Cosmopolitan or another mag of a similar nature or Top Gear if you’re a bloke is more suitable.  Anything more challenging will kick my brain into overdrive and it will take me two hours to fall asleep and because I know I’m not falling asleep I get stressed. And because I know I’m stressed I get even more wired and you get the picture….

Lastly, I Feng Shuied my bedroom and it’s worked for me. I removed the mirrors. Mirrors apparently reflect bad karma back, especially if they are in front of your bed. I don’t have stimulating pictures on my wall. My walls are a plain skin-toned colour. I don’t have any plants in my room. There’s loads of info on the net about this. Here’s a link.

Root cause
Dealing with the real reason for my sleepless nights will be a lifelong struggle. I’m naturally anxious and I try lots of ways to cope with that. But changing some routines does help me sleep. Some of the time anyway… Enjoy.

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