Sleep Struggles & Remedies
Sleeping is supposed to be easy. You’re supposed to be able to put your head down on your pillow and, within a few minutes, drift off to sleep. It’s what my husband does, and rumor has it, it’s what a lot of people do. It isn’t, however, what I’ve ever done.
Tossing and turning has been part of my nightly routine since I was a child. I had my routine bedtime, but consistency was never enough to calm my mind and put me to sleep. In fact, that overactive mind is still the cause of my late nights.
Thankfully, the days of regularly being awake until four in the morning, too anxious to sleep, are mostly behind me, but they sneak in every once in a while. On one such night a couple of weeks ago, I turned to Instagram for help, and sympathies and sleep remedies poured in. Instead of keeping them to myself, I’m sharing them with you below.
Fresh Air! Making sure you get at least some fresh air during the day is crucial, whether you actually go out into nature or take a walk around your city or crack a window at some point.
No caffeine after 2 or 3pm. I had 4pm as my caffeine cut off before this, but now I’ve moved it back to 3 and am already seeing improvements. Next up is 2.
Yoga (& sports during the day). This is one that I know is true but that I hate to hear. Sports and I don’t get along, but I do find that I sleep better if I’ve walked a lot in a day, and I have just signed up for pilates.
Less screentime! I've heard everything from avoiding screen 30 minutes to 3 hours before bedtime. This is obviously really hard, but I’ve tackled this by banning laptops from the bedroom, occasional Netflix binges excepted, and from enabling the automatic night mode on my phone (blue light filters are also available on laptops these days!). Next step is to leave phones in the living area and not keep my charger by my bedside, but I give that a couple more weeks.
Don’t get in bed until you’re ready to sleep. This is something I find difficult as I tend to read in bed for hours and as our generation seems to have stopped watching things on television screens and turns to laptops to stream our shows and films and that leads to watching things in bed, but it is something my therapist insists is key. A big effort to make!
Hot showers and baths. I tend to be a shower person, and they always help to relax my muscles and make it easier to sleep, but I’m also desperate to give baths another chance, especially if I can get nice bath oils and bath salts in the mix to help relax my muscles.
I was a candle sceptic, but they’ve absolutely wooed me over the past couple of months. They’re very relaxing, and I have some cozy favorites, but the one that relaxes me the most in order to sleep is the French Cade and Lavender candle from Voluspa. I’ll burn it for an hour or two before bed, and it definitely makes a difference!
Tea – Lots and lots of recommendations for tea:
Yogi Tea’s Bedtime, Honey Lavender, and other lavender blends
Other cozy drinks… I heard everything from hot milk and honey to an occasional shot of gin.
The Sleepy collection from LUSH. I got the lotion and then the body wash last month after Lauren recommended it to me last autumn and then tested it out for an entire year. It doesn’t put me to sleep on its own, but it does relax me and even help with my constant aches.
Again, a popular recommendation and one that I actually also embraced a couple of months ago. I was using a random lavender one from It Works, but I’ve heard great things about the Twilight spray from LUSH (the same scent as the Sleepy cream!) and an essential oil spray from L’Occitane (which I will try next!)
Similarly, lavender essential oil. This isn’t something I’ve figured out outside of creams or sprays yet, but something I’m ready to think about.
Soothing sounds – podcasts, white noise, the shipping forecast, ASMR videos, deep sleep playlist on Spotify, stand up comedy
I got a few messages about keeping a television on in the background to create some light and white noise, but most of you insisted on needing total darkness to sleep, whether through blackout drapes or sleep masks. Low lights before bedtime are also important and have long been key to my routines (I consequently also always have yellow light in our bedside lamps, and in her bedside post earlier this year, Lee recommended pink light bulbs!)
Breathing! I learned the importance of breathing in therapy, and I often turn to my breathing bubbles to calm down and even lull myself to sleep. You can find these on apps like Calm or Headspace, and C.K. Dawson suggests the 4-7-8 breathing technique, which I’ve found very helpful so far!
Melatonin Supplements. This seems to be a last resort for many who wrote in, and I have to say it’s a last resort for me as well, based on past experiences.
Thank you to everyone who wrote in, and I hope we all get a better night’s sleep!!