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Getting a good night’s rest…

Sleepy kitty.

I’ve written a solid amount about the trouble I have had sleeping over the years. As a child, I have always had very vivid, colorful dreams while sleeping – but I also have had terrible, life-like nightmares (some of them I can still remember). I can recall many nights waking up in the early hours, scared from a nightmare, calling for my parents to come comfort me.

My parents, as far as I can remember, stayed up watching late-night talk shows. We always lived in relatively small houses, and I was comforted by the sound of the TV, and/or the hallway light still on. It made me feel safe knowing someone was still up, even if it was likely they were sleeping on the couch.

I don’t remember having sleep issues in high school or college, but since then, it’s been pretty bad. It started after a rough breakup several years ago. I had such bad nightmares that I would wakeup sweating, or crying, and I often couldn’t fall back asleep. After months of trouble, I started seeing a therapist.

After years of learning where my issues were coming from and how to cope, I hadn’t had a nightmare since. Until recently.

I know I am under stress and am still experiencing grief, so I’m not surprised to see the return of these dreams and nightmares. I will say that even though they are scary and force me awake, they aren’t as bad as they were years ago.

Still though, I am working to get myself some quality sleep. Yes, I am currently looking for a therapist, but I know that isn’t going to solve all of my sleep issues.

You see… I hardly ever just want to go to sleep. I know all of the things you’re supposed to do to get a good night’s sleep – set a bedtime, get ready for bed plenty of time before you actually want to fall asleep, don’t sleep with the TV on, don’t look at electronics at least 20 minutes before bed… la la la. I never do any of these things, because I often want to stay up and watch TV or read or work on my blog… it’s rough.

Over the years, I’ve tried various, all-natural sleeping pills and even the strongest of medicines cannot put me on my ass. My mind is always buzzing. However, I have been taking a sleeping pill as of late – really just to force myself to take the pill and tuck myself into bed.

I have found that I have to approach sleep with a combination attack: many things working together to get a quality sleep. I have tried sleepy tea, boiling bananas and drinking the water (which was so freaking boring that yeah, I fell asleep), essential oils, rigorous workouts, hot bubble baths… but this is what’s been working for me lately:

Regular meditation:

I have NOT been meditating lately and I’m paying for it. I’ve noticed that we tend to ignore the things our bodies often need the most – whether it’s exercise or healthy foods, water, or sleep, we just do the opposite. But when I was regularly meditating (about 10 minutes a day), I was getting a more restful, quality sleep.

I am still using the free version of the Calm app – it has tons of free content, especially for those who need help getting to sleep. Try it!

Essential oils on the skin:

I have an oil diffuser that I use regularly, but that isn’t enough to lull me to sleep. So, after trying a sleep oil blend (it’s Lavender, Vetivert and Camomile to calm both mind and body, soothing you to sleep) in my Birchbox, I bought a set that is a roller and pillow spray that helps me sleep. It’s not too intense, so it doesn’t bother my cat (who sleeps in the bed with me) and it’s not something I feel I have to scrub off in the morning.  Perfect for travel, too!

I actually keep my roller and spray in a little cosmetic bag under my pillow so that if I’m settled into bed I don’t have to even move to get them. I also keep some lavender foot lotion in there, too! After a night of dance classes, sometimes I rub my feet and calves with it to help prevent soreness and relax before I try and sleep.

Tea and/or supplements: 

I recently tried Moon Juice’s Dream Dust, and it was about the same as any sleepy/calming tea I’ve tried. Here’s the scoop on it:

Dream Dust® is an adaptogenic blend of tranquil superherbs and Chamomile Flower that help combat the effects of stress to soothe your tension for deep, nocturnal rest.*

Contains ingredients with proven benefits:

  • Reduces stress to help promote more restful sleep*
  • Helps to alleviate the effects of stress and tension*
  • Helps promote better sleep*

I have also tried melatonin pills, and those usually help me sleep for about three hours.

As I said, I use a combination of all of these: meditation at some point during the day, a cup of tea or a melatonin pill about an hour before bed, and essential oils on my wrists as I’m hitting the pillow. It takes a village, y’all!

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