Have you ever wondered why reading a story to your child at bedtime is such an effective way of getting them to go to sleep? As adults, we tend to move past bedtime stories. But, maybe that isn’t such a good thing. Do you struggle to sleep at night? Do you know others who struggle to sleep at night as well? Sleep stories may just be what many adults need.
What is Insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that can make it hard for you to get to sleep or stay asleep. Insomnia can be short lived or it can last for months to years. Many people across the world struggle with insomnia.
Types of Insomnia
There are two types of insomnia; primary insomnia and secondary insomnia.
Primary insomnia: This type of insomnia means that your sleep issues are not caused by any other health condition such as sleep apnea or obesity.
Secondary insomnia: This type of insomnia means you have sleeping issues due to another health condition such as asthma, sleep apnea, cancer, obesity, or any other condition.
What Causes Insomnia
There are several reasons you could have insomnia. It depends on what type of insomnia you have.
Causes of Primary Insomnia include:
- Stress from big life events such as job loss or change, death of a loved one, divorce, or moving.
- Things around you. Things like noise, light, or temperature can cause insomnia.
- Changes in your sleep schedule such as jet lag, a new shift at work, or bad habits can cause sleep issues.
Causes of Secondary Insomnia include:
- Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety
- Medications you have to take
- Pain or discomfort
- Caffeine, tobacco or alcohol use
- Sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, or other sleep disorders
Ways to Combat Insomnia
In many cases, doctors will give you medications to help with insomnia. However, medications are usually just a short term fix. Research has found that lifestyle changes and certain relaxation techniques at bedtime can help you get to sleep faster and sleep better.
Here are some things you can do to combat insomnia on your own:
- Stick to a sleep schedule: Get up and go to bed at the same time every day.
- Exercise: Exercising 30-minutes everyday is not only healthy, but helps you sleep better at night, too. Do not exercise before bed, though.
- Get natural light during the day. This helps your brain wake up so it's tired at night.
- Make sure your environment is relaxing. You want your bed comfortable, the temperature comfortable, and your pillow comfortable.
- Practice relaxation techniques. Ways to get your body ready to sleep include meditation techniques such as sleep stories, binaural beats, and guided meditation.
One such relaxation technique we are going to gear towards in this post is sleep stories.
Here's an example of one of our sleep stories:
What are Sleep Stories?
Sleep stories are a great way to combat insomnia or other sleep disorders. They are stories that combine soothing tales, music fix, and voice talent to drift you off into dreamland.
Every night around the world about 7 billion people go to sleep, but to prepare for sleep, we need to transition from the hustle and bustle of daily life to an unwinding period. We need a transition time, or a time to unwind our mind and get ready for bed. However, we seldom do this. To honor this transition time, we have developed sleep stories.
With sleep stories, you can be whisked away to somewhere other than your thoughts and hustle and bustle of the day. You can travel to outerspace, to the depths of the Amazon, or to anywhere other than here.
Sleep stories are the equivalent of a child’s bedtime story. They transition your mind from the hustle and bustle of this world to a place out of this world until you drift off to sleep.
How do they Work?
How many times do you hop into bed, close your eyes, hoping to fall asleep, only to be thinking about tomorrows to-do-list? When you were a child, it was much easier to fall asleep because you didn’t have all the stresses of adult life weighing on you quite literally even as you sleep.
The way that sleep stories work is by focussing your mind on something other than your worries of what happened during the day, your worries about tomorrow, and any other thing that is running through your mind.
Sleep stories transport listeners away from their worries and stresses through a guided approach. In a sense, it’s kind of like a guided meditation.
Depending on the story that you choose, you could find yourself alongside manatees in Florida or traveling on a train through Australia. But, these stories use all 5 of your senses.
A good sleep story will have you:
...Smelling the the lavender fields.
...Feeling the cool water as you splash into a pool of water.
...Hearing the whistling of the wind through the leaves.
...Seeing the beautiful purple sky as the sun goes into hiding
...Sipping the sweetest tasting Moscato
Do you see? Sleep stories are full of description. Each sentence read is in no hurry to get you anywhere. The point is for you to doze off without ever getting to the end of the story.
Benefits of Sleep Stories
Obviously, insomnia can cause a lot of issues such as daytime sleepiness, mood swings, irritability, errors, accidents, mistakes, and even mental disorders. When you use sleep stories, the benefits are that you get to sleep! With sleep comes:
- Decrease in depression and anxiety
- Less mood swings and irritability
- Better overall health
Sleep stories are a form of meditation. According to the NCBI, mindfulness meditation improves sleep quality in their studies. If you are looking for more evidence of meditation and sleep, check out the following:
The list could go on and on, but ultimately, you will feel better all around the more you use sleep stories.
Are There Any Side Effects from Sleep Stories
As far as we know, there are no known side effects from using sleep stories. However, it is important to note that sleep stories do not work for everyone. Some people may not find the stories effective. Additionally, depending on the story you listen to, it may not seem relaxing or may give you anxiety thinking about being there.
Try to pick stories you think would put you in a relaxing mood.
Sleep Stories on Zen Mode
If you would like to try sleep stories to help with your insomnia, download Zen Mode. This app not only offers you a plethora of sleep stories to choose from, but you can also use guided meditations, binaural beats, and visual breathing to help get you into a transition to sleep.
Do you have trouble sleeping? Share your thoughts on sleep stories in the comments below!
- Ratini, M. (2020, January 4). Insomnia: Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/insomnia-symptoms-and-causes#1
- Black, D. S., O'Reilly, G. A., Olmstead, R., Breen, E. C., & Irwin, M. R. (2015, April). Mindfulness meditation and improvement in sleep quality and daytime impairment among older adults with sleep disturbances: a randomized clinical trial. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4407465/
- Corliss, J. (2019, March 18). Mindfulness meditation helps fight insomnia, improves sleep. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/mindfulness-meditation-helps-fight-insomnia-improves-sleep-201502187726
- Creel, B. (2018, December 15). YJ Tried It: 30 Days of Guided Sleep Meditation. Retrieved from https://www.yogajournal.com/meditation/30-days-of-guided-sleep-meditation
- Faber, E., & Sinclair Broadcast Group. (2019, July 18). Here's how a sleep story writer makes sure you'll never hear the ending of her tales. Retrieved from https://wjla.com/news/offbeat/heres-how-a-sleep-story-writer-makes-sure-youll-never-hear-the-ending-of-her-tales
- Meditation May Be An Effective Treatment For Insomnia. (2009, June 15). Retrieved from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090609072719.htm