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Every once in a while I get into a habit of bad sleep. It is usually created by one night of stress, which includes tossing and turning and laying awake for hours. And a lot of frustration in the morning. Inevitably for me, the next 2-3 nights go the same way. I get into a pattern of bad sleep and I just need something to kick the habit. This especially happens around the change of seasons and daylight savings time changes. (Hello, this weekend!)
I’ve read a lot of these blog posts that list how to fall asleep because it is a common frustration for me. Most of the time I’m laughing at the ridiculous suggestions and know they would never work for me. When has one sniff of essential oils ever caused you to pass out for 8 hours? I mean, come on. These things that I’ve listed below do work for me, but won’t for everyone and I know that. You can laugh at my suggestions too 🙂
This is always my go-to move. If I haven’t been exercising I know right away. It really affects my sleep. I usually work out in the mornings, which can be a good practice, because sometimes it is difficult to wind down for bed if you are very active at night. Sometimes that can’t be helped depending on your schedule, but even a walk after dinner gets your blood pumping. I also find that the more I am active the less likely I am to be consumed by stress or anxiety. So pump up those endorphins and get to sleep!
This is one of those methods that I laughed at initially, but when my cousins told me about the “Sleep With Me” podcast, I had to try it. It’s basically an old man talking about really boring topics and ultimately going off on every tangent possible so you can hardly follow his logic. I put this on a 20 minute timer on my podcast app and it worked! The first time I used it I couldn’t stop laughing for the first 10 minutes, but what do ya know? I fell asleep. My sister is also a big fan of guided meditation for going to sleep. She is pregnant and has had a lot of issues with her sleep schedule as a result. She recommends the app called Calm. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m sure I will!
I don’t want to seem like a drug pusher, but sometimes I take Melatonin to break the habit of bad sleep. Melatonin is a hormone found naturally in our bodies that keeps our circadian rhythm in tune. We produce melatonin in our bodies in order to fall asleep and as we age, that ability decreases. This supplement can be used to regulate jet-lag, night shift work, and those who are vision-impaired to help establish a day and night cycle. So interesting! I take one capsule about an hour before I want to fall asleep. I do not recommend taking this every night in order to fall asleep.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
I actually learned about this originally in a psychology class in college. Our professor guided us through the process in class and I think 90% of the people fell asleep. Not sure what she was thinking. Anyway, I really like this method. The idea is that you move from head to toe tensing different muscle groups and then relaxing those muscle groups. All the while, you should notice the feeling of how those muscles feel when you relax them. For example, you can start with your face muscles, make a scrunched up face for 5 seconds and then slowly release those muscles back to their most relaxed state. Work your way all the way down to your toes. The goal is to not make it to your toes before falling asleep.
Change Your Bedtime
I typically try to be in bed trying to fall asleep by 10 pm every night. Hello grandma! I started this schedule when I first began my job out of college. I really trained myself to fall asleep at this time. You can imagine how I feel on the weekends at 10. But sometimes if I’m in a funk, this bedtime just doesn’t work. I would rather get things done for an hour, if I’m not falling asleep easily, then toss and turn and get frustrated. Even if I really want to be in bed, I push my bedtime back until I’m sleepy enough. It seems simple but sometimes I forget that I can do this too.
Don’t forget to pray! I like to talk to God when I’m frustrated and laying awake. I list out everything that I can think of that I’m thankful for. I also like to memorize verses that I can repeat to myself or song lyrics that remind me of truth. If I’m sad or anxious about something, I remember the lyrics of Break Every Chain or The Eye of the Storm. Psalm 4:8 says this, “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
P.S. These pajamas are from J. Crew and the best jammies ever. My mom, my sister, and I all wear them. They come in this blue stripe as well as a really lovely gray stripe. This would make a perfect gift for Christmas! And don’t hate on my eye mask with lashes cause that rocks too.