My sleep? well, it’s complicated.
From getting up multiple times night, to lack of deep sleep, to straight up insomnia, I have been there done that and I am hacking my way through the sleep deprived haze of the last 10 years, meh, maybe more.
It was all a dream
For periods of my life, I have experienced not only challenging sleep, but also challenging effects from lack of sleep. Cue anxiety, concentration, fatigue and confusion just off the tip of my tongue. But I also have had to renegotiate with my brain how to make sleep happen when medication was no longer something that was supporting me, and for a very long time it was.
Sedatives, etc, I was on them all. (* side note: this was what my body, life experience and circumstances lead to. If you are there, there is only possibility, but shame will not get you out) And in this different/healthier body and brain, I have been going down chutes and ladders in a search for my z’s and we are getting there…
My beginners guide to making peace with Sleep
Lets talk about my top basics to addressing better sleep:
Magnesium – this anti-stress nutrient is one of our most depleted minerals. Having some mag on board throughout the day, and even closer to bed time, might be enough to send some signals to those restless legs and mind that they can feel safe to calm. Try a Magnesium Byglincate which is a better quality and easier to absorb version.
Oura Ring – this is not a small investment financially, but it you are curious about taking your sleep to profession proportions, then I highly recommend it. It is giving me insight into what switches where I need to look at to sleep optimally and for some reason it helps with accountability. Check it out here
Meditation – Meditation is not traditionally meant to help you sleep, in fact many would argue that the goal is a restful alertness. However, it seems as though the research is supporting that your meditation practice, especially before bedtime, CAN help with sleep. Try this an hour before bed if you can and search in apps for meditations geared towards winding down.
Melatonin – If you are consistent with this one, it might just help. Most people overdue the amount of melatonin they use, which leads to strange dreams and unpleasant effects. But if you are consistent with timing, and dose, it may just help put you into a circadian rhythm that allows for the best rest for your body.
Blue Blocking Glasses – nerd alert. I am fully a fan of blue light blocking glasses because there is just so much science out there to demonstrate the impacts of harmful blue light that we are exposed to everywhere!! Minimizing our blue light exposure is absolutely a must if we are looking to experience more restful sleep. I do not necessarily notice yet the different when I AM wearing them, but I do notice when I am NOT. Thats enough for me to keep on. These are the kind that I wear.
Tech detox – you have heard it before, but not only from a blue light perspective, but from a mental health perspective one…Scrolling (i do this still) before bedtime is probably not going to set the stage for loving and kind thoughts conducive to rest. Cue the comparison highlight reel, the to do list etc. Sounds like nervous system activation to me.
Sleep Schedule – this I am still working on. It is HARD and it is worth it. It is like retraining a baby how to sleep, but the baby is an adult. Challenge accepted.
Self Compassion – phew, this may be the biggest one of all and one of the most challenging. There was a time in which I thought that I did not need or want more rest, partially because I was so accustomed to poor sleep. But the truth was, I didn’t feel as though I deserved it. That sleeping in was bad, a nap an indulgence, and an extra hour must mean I have to do something super human.
Listening and making peace with our body and understanding that the research suggest a minimum of 7-9 hours of sleep for our bodies, is literally the kindest act we might embrace in regaining our health empowerment. I am honouring and snuggling up to this one, and man oh man, I cannot wait for that proud 9 hour sleep one day soon.
Tons more to talk about on this subject, but maybe for now there is one or two items that you might think about introducing or looking into further.
The timing of this article was perfect, thank you! 5 days ago I gave up my ONE coffee a day along with a few other small tweaks in a quest to optimize sleep for my overall wellbeing. I’m not nearly as productive as I was on that 1 cup and was thinking of throwing in the towel but you’ve encouraged me to push through and invest in the long term sleep benefits I’ll get from staying the course!
I am so glad the timing of this message worked for support. There are so many things that can walk us towards a better sleep, and honestly, caffeine has just been such a huge part in this process! I hope that sooner rather than later you can feel some of the effects of giving it a go. We got this!