Fun fact; I used to be an insomniac. Right from birth I had better things to do than sleep, and this was a super awesome fun quirk of mine that stayed with me through most of my childhood and teenage years… Sorry mum and dad. I have tried taking sleeping tablets on and off, and found them to just make me feel worse the next day. They made my already awkward personality even stranger and I felt like I had a hangover the next morning; plus when you factor in the sleep walking and talking, they just aren’t worth it in my eyes. Most importantly, taking sleeping tablets to me seemed like it was simply treating the symptom, not the cause.
At around age 23 I decided to get really serious about treating my insomnia myself. This was a period of great change and growth for me, so it seemed like the right time. Go big or go home! I tried every single supplement and treatment out there, and managed to put together a menagerie of methods to get me to pass out like a champion. Some are super mainstream and obvious, and others not so much. But I feel like a lot of them are simply comforts for me – the biggest obstacle I had to overcome was working on my mind and self-talk. I worked extremely hard to move away from anxiety about lack of sleep, and towards calming, self-soothing talk. Most of all I had to embrace acceptance. I had to accept the fact that I sometimes don’t sleep well, and the fact that I need an early bedtime. Learning to be easier on yourself is the first step to freedom in so many aspects of life, and this always comes through acceptance.
Anyway. Here are my tried and tested bedtime must do’s!
1. I use a somnius. A friend of mines father creates them, and the company is called Nutesla. I don’t know if it is all in my head, but it has made such a difference with everything. I barely get jetlagged when I use it, which is amazing.
2. I talk to my husband every night before bed. Even if it is just a check in. He is such a comfort to me, and he always answers my calls, even in the middle of the night.
3. I take Magnesium citrate every night. I find it calms me nicely, and helps my muscles relax
4. Nothing mentally stimulating before bed. For this reason I can’t read books before bed (I know this has an opposite effect on other people). I like to watch a TV show I know back to front. It helps my brain unwind and relax.
5. I turn all the lights off about an hour before bed, and turn my laptop screen to the lowest light and sound. Everyone says you shouldn’t have screens before bed – this doesn’t work for me. Books get me too involved. TV switches me off.
6. I use either a fan or a white noise machine. When it is too quiet my mind comes out tap dancing.
7. Every single day I meditate. Have I mentioned this one before?
8. I eat an hour before I go to bed. This is another one that is different for me – “they” say don’t eat three hours before bed. But I need something in my stomach; growls just aren’t ok with me.
9. When my mind just won’t calm down I take Kava Kava root. Works like a charm.
10. Exercise! I make sure to get some sort of movement in every day. When I don’t for a while, I don’t sleep.
11. No caffeine after 12pm
12. I don’t do naps. Not unless I really need it.
13. Ear plugs and eye mask. All night erry night.
And that is what works for me! Obviously these don’t work 100% of the time. Getting a solid 8-10 hours every single night just isn’t feasible for life as an adult human. And that is ok. I have gone to work on zero hours of sleep and been just fine (granted I’m not a brain surgeon). But accepting that sometimes you are going to toss and turn is what usually turns restlessness into coma-ness. Talk to your inner child and let them know they are ok and safe. Let go of chasing that perfect night of sleep. Because perfection doesn’t exist!
And sleep rules.