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:
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!
Hey yo! I’m starting this week off with an apology – I know I only blogged twice last week, which was not planned. Vacation kicked my ass!
I got back to Austin Monday night around 9:30, and by the time I got home, showered, got myself ready for bed, and watched “Southern Charm”, it was after midnight. When I arrived at work on Tuesday, there was all sorts of unnecessary drama that I did not need.
By the time things were starting to feel back to usual around the office – I even got things organized there, and started catching up on all of my podcasts again – the power went out and completely jacked up our internet, leaving us to work from home for a day and a half. Ugh!
It took me much longer to get back to my “normal” life than I thought. And I wondered… is this vacation after 30? I’ve always heard people complain about jet lag and adjusting back to regular life after vacation, but never really experienced it. Whew, not until now!
But, I did take a few dance classes last week, and then used my weekend to help get myself back in order.
After all of the junk (but very delicious) food and drink I had on vacation, I was excited to clean out my fridge and hit the grocery with a list of fresh produce. I am happy to report that my fridge is now full of Naked Juices, fruit, raw veggies, boiled eggs, and soda water. I’ll be living off that until I feel skinny again.
I spent a majority of my Saturday volunteering for the Austin Film Festival – an event that’s become very special to me. There was an opportunity to earn some hours by passing out fliers for their kids’ Summer Camp… I ended up walking 12,000 steps going door-to-door, and even ran from a couple of roosters on my route! It did nothing for my vacation fatigue, but it was an interesting way to spend a Saturday.
I also finished reading a book – so look for that review right here, on Friday for Blanche’s Book Club.
I did a few chores around the house, and have, at the very least, prepped my laundry for a trip to the laundromat tomorrow. And finally, I got word that my Blog Class at UT was confirmed for this semester, and it starts on Wednesday night! I’m so excited to be back teaching, and am looking forward to meeting a new group of students. Teaching is such a thrill for me and I’m excited to share my love of blogging to a new set of students.
So, I’m hitting the ground running this week – I’m back at work, back to dancing, blogging, teaching, and eating healthy (I even made veggie “sushi”) for awhile – at least until my next vacation, which is planned for the end of June. Summer is here, y’all, and I love me some summer adventures!
Isn’t it true, that when you take a vacation, you just want to keep taking them? I feel like whenever I go on vacation, I try to think of ways I can adjust my current life so that I can take more vacations and/or travel to more places. Then I just simply WISH that my life was a vacation, but I suppose it wouldn’t be as special if that were the case… or would it? I’m willing to be the guinea pig.
And so, I’m back – and I’m finally feeling refreshed. I’ve got some fun stuff planned for the blog this week (“Southern Charm” recap, a John Mayer review, Blanche’s Book Club, etc.), so I hope you’ll stick around. It’s good to be BACK!
It’s been an entire month since I told you guys about my trouble with fatigue, and I am happy to report that things are a little better.
After a week of drinking banana tea, I wanted to try a natural sleeping pill. Making the tea every night was a long process, but the sleep that followed was nice.
I started on the sleeping pill, and for the first few nights things were nice. I have taken this pill before, and have even taken it regularly. It is mostly melatonin, so it helps me relax and fall asleep easily.
I know other people who have taken this same pill and have said it provides a solid night’s sleep. But what I quickly came to learn was that it doesn’t really stand a chance against my life.
To say I’m stressed is an understatement. I am full of worry, scared of the dark, I sleep with the TV on, and my cat wakes me up at least three times a night. The pill doesn’t combat that. Sure, I get a good sleep on the pill if I turn off all the lights and electronics an hour before bed, rub on some lavender, and lock the cat outside. But all of that would probably help my case without the pill.
Let’s just say that if I was a tad bit more unhinged, I’d just do coke (instead of coffee and exercise), and I’d inject a little propofol before bed.
But, I’m not there yet. Despite the weak pill, I was making it. Until I wasn’t. I arrived at work last Monday completely dragging ass, and by 3pm, I could barely hold my head up. I cancelled my dance classes for the night, and gave in to my fatigue.
I went directly home from the office and got into bed. I watched TV for hours and was asleep before 9:30. It took me a few days to recover, but I did remember that I’d forgotten to take my allergy medicine on the weekend and wondered if my body was fighting off mold or pollen.
Either way, I went in search of a new sleeping pill amongst the aisles in HEB. I was happy to see there were almost 10 different ones to choose from, and after lots of label-comparing, I chose another all-natural one. It’s called MidNite and it’s also made of melatonin, but I believe it is a higher dose, and also contains natural herbs to help relax the body.
I have taken this one for two nights, and have had really great sleeps – very similar to the banana tea snoozes.
In other good news, I became eligible for health benefits at my job this week, so I signed up for insurance. As soon as the paperwork is processed, I’ll be able to start making the rounds to my doctors and will possibly have some medical answers.
I am still eating a clean diet, exercising several times a week, and yes, I’m still under a decent amount of stress. However, I will say that usually in stressful times, I skip on sleep. But I know I can’t afford to now, so at the very least, I am trying to listen to my body and give it the rest it needs.
Next week, I am moving into a new office building and I’m hoping the fresh, cheery space will help me even more – but I have already taken note that my personal office has no windows, so I will have to make it a habit to walk outside at least once during the day.
Don’t worry, I’ll be reporting back! For now… I’m hitting the sheets.
It’s been a few weeks since I told the world (yes, that’s the power of this blog) about my case of extreme fatigue – read all about it here – and I figured it’d be a good time for an update.
Just a few days after the post, I decided to spend that weekend getting some relaxing in. Naturally, it was the same weekend that Daylight Saving time happened, so that was dumb, but whatever. I read, spent lots of time on my couch, and caught up on TV.
The thing is, my fatigue could be a result of many things, including: lack of sleep, allergy medication, increased workouts, lack of protein, or stress. So, I vowed to tackle two of those things for at least one entire week, to see if my energy improved.
In order to get more protein into my diet, I did a lot of research to find out how much protein I need each day (46 grams) and I shopped accordingly. I made “egg muffins” with spinach and cheese for breakfast, and I had grilled chicken breast for lunch. Protein? CHECK.
I also bought a fuckton of bananas to try the latest craze from Dr. Oz: Banana “tea”. Here’s the scoop on naner tea from the Dr. Oz website:
Did you know bananas are a sleeping pill in a peel? If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, try this banana-infused tea as a bedtime snack. Studies have shown that magnesium can be helpful in preventing you from pulling yourself out of sleep, and the potassium and magnesium help your blood vessels and muscles relax.
You make the tea by simply cutting off the ends of one banana, and boiling it (peel and all) in a pot of water for 10 minutes. Pour water into a mug, and I added cinnamon, because, why not? I also ate the banana, because a warm banana is the closest thing I’ve had to dessert in awhile.
I’ve heard the sleep that comes post-tea, is the deepest sleep ever. So, I gave it the ole college try and I drank this tea every night before bed, for 7 nights in a row. While I cannot say I had the best sleep of my life… it was better sleep than I’ve had in probably two years. The downside of the tea is the time it takes to make it, then wait for it to cool, then drink it all – I had to really plan for it, and by the time I drank the tea, I was so bored I could have probably fallen asleep without it.
But when I slept Friday and Saturday night sans-tea, I slept like SHIT. I woke up, tossed and turned, laid awake for hours. Fuck that.
The real question is, did the protein and tea help me feel more awake during the day? Yes. I wasn’t wired, but I definitely didn’t feel like I was about to pass out at my desk. So, that’s promising.
This week, I’m still eating protein: cottage cheese for breakfast and baked chicken for lunch. And, I’m taking a natural sleep aid at night. I’m going to test this for a solid week and see which works better for me – and of course I can always switch it up.
On the one hand, yes, I feel hopeful that I just need to keep up with my diet and a good sleeping schedule and I may feel back to normal without something seriously being wrong with me. But, on the other hand, I may have to always be really serious about what I eat and the amount of sleep I get. And while I know it’s petty – it’s a problem lots of people would love to have – it’s difficult for me (even just in this last week) to turn off the lights hours before I actually want to; to skip reading into the late night; to have random TV marathons… it means giving up a lot of fun things just so I can function at work.
But, we’ll see! My self-science experiment isn’t over, and hey, getting solid sleep is kinda nice… zzzz…
If you’re a fan of “The Golden Girls”, you may recall a two-part episode where Dorothy is complaining of extreme fatigue. At the time, she is working as a substitute teacher, and she’s so tired, she can barely complete a day’s work.
She goes to several doctors, and most of them tell her the same thing – that she’s getting old, and yeah, old people get tired. But there is one doctor who finally tells her something is wrong: she is suffering from a rare, but treatable, illness. She is so happy to have a diagnosis that she treats herself to a nice dinner, where she runs into one of the stupid doctors and tells him off – it is a sitcom, after all!
Lately, I’ve been feeling a lot like Dorothy did in those two episodes. The only thing is, I’m not a senior citizen (although my social calendar would show otherwise). I ‘ve traced my recent fatigue back to around the time I started my new job, which was also the same time I started working out more and eating a much healthier diet.
Too many variables, I know! And now I don’t know if it’s one of those things that is causing me to be so exhausted I nearly fall over before 3 pm, or if there is something medically wrong with me. Here’s a mental list of the things I *think* could be causing my sleepiness:
- Stress/emotions of new job
- Body adjusting to new diet
- Reacting to additional, more intense workouts
- Thyroid problems
- Lyme disease
- Lack of sleep
Let’s consider the list. My job isn’t what I would classify and stressful, but it does have an emotional side to it. The thing that affects me is the difference in the schedule – it’s still 9-5, but each day is different from the next, and many of those days begin earlier than 9 if I’m going downtown to the Capitol for a hearing. I definitely think there’s some sort of adjusting curve, and this job has already taught me two things: 1. I’m a creature of habit, and 2. hanging out with white men in suits really sucks the life out of my soul.
Okay, the new diet. Basically I’ve taken “clean eating” to the next level, and am trying to eat very little meat – with most of my meals being vegan-approved. While these meals have been nothing but delicious, my mom made a good point that I may not be getting enough protein to keep me energized throughout my day. According to Google, I need 46 grams of protein a day, and I definitely don’t think I am. So, a food journal may be in my very near future.
I went from taking a few dance classes a week to taking at least 7, with several of those being cardio-dance classes. I’m in a constant state of soreness, and perhaps my body is not quite as strong as I think. I don’t know if I buy this excuse alone, but if I’m not getting enough protein and working out double than before – it could be the cause of my fatigue.
Thyroid problems/thyroid disease. I’ve always associated thyroid issues with weight gain and/or energy levels. When I Googled it, basically everything can be a symptom of thyroid disease, and sometimes diagnosing these problems can be tough. However, I’m not ruling this out of the picture, because it does run in my family.
Lyme disease. Because we have all either seen “Real World: Seattle” or “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”, and we’ve seen how Lyme disease either makes you bedridden or completely insane. I have been paranoid about having Lyme disease ever since the Christmas Mouse crossed his annual path in my apartment. Blanche caught him, and I’m convinced she got it and now I have it. But I Googled it, and it turns out you can really only get Lyme disease from a tick. And I’ve never been bitten by a tick (knock on wood).
Lack of sleep. Imagine that! Not getting enough sleep is the story of my life, especially in the last 7ish years. For a year or so, I suffered from terrible night tremors, which I usually awoke in a sweat, sometimes crying, and often too scared to go back to sleep. I also had a terrible time sleeping during a nasty relationship with a restaurant manager. Note to all: Don’t date someone that’s not on your same schedule. It’s just too much.
Anyway, I have found that the only way I can truly get a good night’s sleep is really preparing for it. I mean make sure the bed is just right, don’t drink, set the oil diffuser, put in my mouth guard, take a Rest EZ (natural sleep aid), and ensure I’ve set a solid 8-9 hour window for myself to snore away. Sounds complicated and high maintenance, I know. It’s annoying, even for me.
The other issue is that, frankly, I have a lot on my plate. As many of you know, this blog is a hobby for me, which means I am usually writing it at 10pm the night before it publishes. After work each day, I usually do two hours of dance, I get home around 8:30, shower, eat dinner, and by that time, it’s time to write my blog, and basically go to bed. If I want to do anything else in the evenings – such as read, cook, watch TV, etc. – that means cutting into my sleep time. And most nights, I am just not ready to mentally turn off the light even though my body is way past ready.
So, how the hell am I going to resolve this issue? My original idea was to use this week as a week to make an effort to go to bed early and see if actually getting 8 hours of sleep solved it. But alas, I have already failed at that, with late night dance rehearsal (for a performance on Friday), a mid-week visit to the Capitol (meaning up at 5:30 am!), and a 2-hour private blog class that I’m teaching. Whoops.
By the looks of my calendar, I am free on Sunday. So, I’m making it a priority to ACTUALLY relax on Sunday. I’ll be really busy on Friday and Saturday to get everything done, but on Sunday, I need to relax and get to bed early. Then next week, I’ll focus on getting rest and making sure I get enough protein. We’ll see how that goes… Don’t worry, I’ll report back.
I’m just so tired.
Won’t you sing me to sleep, and fly through my dreams, so I can hitch a ride with you tonight? And get away from this place, have a new name face, I just ain’t without you in my life.
Late night drives. All along in my car, I can’t help but start singin ‘ lines from all our favorite songs. And melodies in the air, singin’ life just ain’t fair. Sometimes I still just believe you’re gone.
And I’m sure the view from heaven beats the hell out of mine here, and if we all believe in heaven, maybe we’ll make it through one more year, down here.
-Yellowcard, View From Heaven