Ok, let's talk sleep.
We live in a world where we have SO MANY pressures on us. You know, pressure to be the perfect person, have the perfect job, wear the perfect clothes, have the best makeup, eat vegan, don't eat this, eat that, exercise everyday or else, all that crap that TOTALLY clouds up your mind. Now don't get me wrong, most of these things are LEGIT and beneficial, but man can they ever interfere with your sleep and cause a rat race in your mind.
I betcha everyone can resonate with the statement “mind running a mile a minute.” We all put so many demands and restrictions on yourself, it is no wonder why insomnia and erratic sleep patterns are on the rise.
So, I am going to be real with you. Heck, I am always real with ya. BUT, my sleep has been horrible for a very, very long time. I have been trying a whole bunch of things out and seeing what works for me. I think the key is, to find something that optimizes the quality of your sleep and this chick is not optimizing anything in that area.
Because so many of us struggle with sleep or in my case, barely gets any, and it leaves me forgetting words, not being able to put a sentence together and really not able to function like a normal human being on a bad day, I thought I would share some common practices I am doing to try and get my sleep under control.
So without further ado, here are my top 5 top practices at the moment.
1.) I limit my screen time.
What does this mean? Well at 9:30, my phone goes on shutdown mode. If you have an Iphone, it has a feature where you can put it in "do not disturb" mode. This way you are not getting alerts from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and god knows what other apps you have on your phone. I make it a rule that I am not allowed to have any screen time past 9:30. So for those friends who text, call or message me past 9:30, sorry, I am not gonna answer.
There is also a night shift feature that dims your phone brightness which is easier and less stimulating for your eyes and brain and actually helps you begin to shut down for the night. That kicks in for me at 9:00 pm.
2.) I have a sleep routine. Yup, this sounds corny but this chick is desperate and will try anything. Here is how my sleep routine goes down.
First step involves doing a brain dump. I have a notepad by my bed and I make a list of all the things that are on my mind and create a to do list for the next day. This leaves my brain free of clutter and able to shut down for the night.
I do some light reading to help me fall asleep.
I sometimes do a sleep meditation if I need it.
I drink some sleepy time tea to help me get relaxed and usually drink this while I am doing my brain dumping and reading.
I go to bed and wake up the same time each day (or try my best to.)
* I would be misrepresenting if I wasn`t honest and say that I did have to go back on sleeping pills to help as well.
3.) I don't eat after 7:00 pm (if I can help it). Research actually shows that eating too close to bedtime can keep you awake. Your body goes into digestive mode and requires more energy during this time, which keeps your body on alert.
4.) I use essential oils and salt lamps.
Why use a salt lamp? Research says that colour therapy is very beneficial when it comes to sleep. The calmness of the colour can help secrete serotonin which helps with mood control and calmness, therefore helping with sleep. Our cell phones, tablets, etc release what we call blue light which can interfere with circadian rhythm and disrupt sleep hormones, the orange and pink colour offers the opposite.
Also, studies show that overexposure to positive ions reduces the brain’s blood and oxygen supply, which can consequently cause disruptions to sleep. Those positive ions are emitted through electronic devices such as our cell phones, tablets, etc. The salt lamps emits negative ions which does the opposite, helps breathing, helps with calmness which can then translate to a good night sleep.
5.) I make sure I maintain a healthy diet and exercise daily. These two daily habits helps control my mood, burns off stress and fuels my body to help better cope and deal with stress. Several months ago, I attended a workshop on the link between anxiety and the foods you put in your body, so I really try to fuel my body with foods that aid the control of my anxiety. If I am anxious, I am definitely not getting to sleep.
So guys, this is what I am working on and trying to implement in my daily life to help with my erratic sleep patterns. I have been doing WAY too much research to try and get this under control and these are the ones that I am focusing on right now.
Just remember, these 5 tips may or may not work for you. I have been trying for a very long time to figure out what works for me. I would suggest you try them out for a short period and see if they work for you. Remember, it may take a few days, a week or even a year in my case, to see the results of some of these, so be patient.
From one sleepy soul to another, I hope these can help!