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Insomnia:how to get back to sleep?

Insomnia:how to get back to sleep?

While Covid-19 and its health restrictions weigh heavily on morale, they can also negatively impact our sleep. Difficulty falling asleep, waking up at night or too early in the morning? You may be suffering from insomnia. If reading a book or counting sheep is no longer enough to make you fall into the arms of Morpheus, other techniques for fall back to sleep have proven themselves.

What is insomnia?

Insomnia is defined as lack of sleep or poor quality sleep. It is characterized by difficulty falling asleep, one or more nocturnal awakenings or waking up too early in the morning. Insomnia gives those who suffer from it the impression of benefiting from non-restorative sleep. This sleep disorder can lead to various consequences throughout the day:fatigue, stress, irritability, lack of concentration... When it becomes chronic, insomnia can lead to diabetes, hypertension, and increases the risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases:all the more reason to reconnect with quality sleep.

A frequent sleep disorder

Chronic insomnia is estimated to affect 13.9%[1] of adults aged 18-75. This disorder seems to affect women more, with 16.9% reporting chronic insomnia, compared to 9.1% of men.

Insomnia can be occasional when it occurs episodically for one or two nights, or chronic when it occurs more than three times a week for more than three months.

There are many factors that can promote the onset of insomnia:stress, depression, working shifts or overconsumption of tobacco, alcohol and exciting drinks.

Insomnia and Covid

Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, the number of people suffering from insomnia has tripled[2]. Anxiety, depression and physical inactivity:periods of confinement and anxiety about the epidemic only accentuate sleep disorders. Is this your case? Take stock and find the solution with the Kanopée application developed by the Bordeaux University Hospital's sleep medicine department.

What techniques to adopt to sleep better?

To fight against insomnia and help you sleep like a baby, various techniques have been proven.


This practice is perfect for taking distance from what surrounds you. You focus your attention on the breath and the physical sensations. It immerses you in a state of calm that helps you gently slip into sleep. An advice ? Opt for the Meditopia app and its sessions designed to help you sleep well.

The military method

Initially used by American soldiers, this method is based on a sequence of four exercises. It's about relaxing the body in stages, little by little, focusing on different areas.

  1. Lying down, relax all the muscles of the body one by one.
  2. Start with the face (tongue, jaw, muscles around the eyes…).
  3. Relax your shoulders, arms and torso.
  4. Then relax your legs. Finally, finish with the ankles, then the feet and toes.
  5. Hold a calm inhale, then clear your mind in ten seconds:repeat to yourself, "Think of nothing", or imagine yourself peacefully in a hammock or on a beach looking up at the blue sky. Falling asleep will be there:this technique would indeed be effective in 96% of cases after six weeks of practice.

The body scan

Relaxation exercise par excellence, it helps you regain possession of your body in a sustainable way. Coming from sophrology, the body scan allows you to browse all the parts of the body in order to feel them. It is divided into two stages:musculoskeletal letting go to eliminate tension, and mental letting go to clear your mind by focusing only on the breath. The idea is to integrate your body image and thus work on concentration and non-judgment.


  1. Make yourself comfortable.
  2. Close your eyes and clear your mind. Try to think only positive thoughts.
  3. Pay attention to your body:try to feel your mattress under your back, the duvet on your feet, for example. Focus on feeling the areas of your body:do your legs feel heavy? Are your arms sagging along your torso?
  4. Finally, open your breath and let the air flow through your body.

Belly Breathing

Breathing through the belly eliminates muscular and psychic tension to sleep well. Start by inhaling by inflating the belly, then the chest to the level of the shoulders. After a pause of 2 seconds, exhale in the opposite direction, deflating the top of the lungs, then the plexus and the belly. Perform this exercise for 5 minutes to release the diaphragm and feel the benefits.

The 4-7-8 method

The ideal exercise to not think about anything before sleeping. To modulate breathing, start by exhaling all the air from your lungs through your mouth. Then slowly inhale through your nose for a count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 7, then exhale through your mouth for a count of 8. This breathing exercise should be repeated three times to get back to sleep.

Consult for better sleep?

Sophrologist, osteopath or even acupuncturist… Practitioners and therapists from the Médoucine de Mieux-Être network are there to help you find serenity… and sleep in just a few sessions!

Additional tips to know

  • Establish a bedtime ritual :Go to bed and get up around the same time. Your internal clock keeps this routine in memory[3]. Relaxing shower, reading or soft music, also find a way to soothe yourself before bedtime.
  • Eat the right foods Almond, honey, banana, oats or whole grains, these easily digestible foods eaten at night will help you get a good night's sleep, as they stimulate the production of melatonin (sleep hormone)[4].
  • Limit Screens :blue light delays the production of melatonin and serotonin and puts the body in a state of alert. It is best to stop using them 1.5 hours before going to bed[5].
  • Woke up in the middle of the night anyway? Focus on your breathing. Take a long breath and relax. Still not sleepy? Stand up ! Find yourself a quiet occupation outside of your bedroom. Read a book or a magazine for example. The goal is to free your mind to let sleep return[6].

Aren't you one of the lucky ones who barely manages to sleep awake with your head on the pillow? Don't worry, the implementation of techniques and tips will certainly help you quickly find a restful sleep. Indeed, rest is essential for good health. Lack of sleep can affect concentration and memory. More so, it weakens the immune system, increases the risk of stroke, hypertension and diabetes.

Source: Maladies/opathies-neurologiques/sommeil/comment-sendormir-quand-le-cerveau-ne-se-calme-pas-304932






[6] Maladies/sommeil/insomnies/faut-il-se-lever-en-cas-d-insomnie_21543.html