I can’t sleep.
It isn’t as dramatic as it sounds. But I am not a good sleeper. Sleep is one of the biggest things we can do to help our bodies recover. The next few weeks that is going to be crucial and I thought I would pass along what has been helping me.
I wait until I’m tired at night, and then I get in bed and a rush of EVERY ANXIETY that I’ve ever known rushes into the forefront of my thoughts. Sometimes I even displace my anxieties about other things onto seemingly mundane things. I also wake up throughout the night. Usually in a cold sweat. Tell me I am not alone! Some mornings, I can hardly wait for my alarm to go off so I can go run and stop having weird dreams.
On the weekends, I do much better at sleeping. I think a lot of people are like that – but it isn’t like I don’t make the time to sleep during the week. It’s just that I don’t fall asleep or stay asleep.
After talking to some friends about it, and reading/listening to books/podcasts, here are some things that have helped me:
- Keep a similar bedtime and wake up throughout the week. Our bodies get in a rhythm. I know I have definitely fallen victim to sleeping in later on Sunday morning and not being able to fall asleep Sunday night. Then Monday you are exhausted and it is a vicious cycle.
- If you aren’t tired, don’t lay there thinking about how you can’t sleep. Get out of bed, do something relaxing. Color, knit, read a book.
- Do NOT lay in bed and attempt to find the end of the internet. Trust me, I’ve looked, and you can’t. And, even if you did find it – it would be a depressing land of infomercials and bad memes.
- Find something to relax you before you go to bed. I try to stretch/foam roll one more time, then read for a little bit.
- Get your temperature right. I am freezing 99% of the time. Cold to the touch. Except when I go to sleep. I immediately turn into an inferno and wake up in the night because I’m overheating. Figure out what you like best and remember to set it before you go to bed.
- Meditate. This is the hardest one for me to do, and the most effective. Basically, just acknowledging your thoughts and letting them go. Think about each individual muscle relaxing and each limb getting heavy. There are some good apps for meditation, but I have just been telling myself I will do it for 10 minutes, and I usually fall asleep before the time is up.
- Devices – Any sleep-help recommendations tell you to get away from all devices 30 minutes before bedtime. Yeah…nope. HAHA. I haven’t gotten that desperate yet. I read off my iPad – so my devices are right there. However, I will say that I put everything on “do not disturb” mode as soon as I get in bed. That way I’m not tempted to respond to texts and emails.
- Work – DO NOT check your work email at night if at all possible. If you are like me, and have your work email on your phone, don’t check it when you wake up in the middle of the night. There is nothing you can do about it in that moment, and staying up worrying about it isn’t going to do anyone any good. On that note, try not to check any notifications if you wake up in the night.
- Carbs before bed. Ooooh isn’t that against the rules?! No. Eating carbs at night is not going to make you fat if you are not over eating carbs and calories within the entire day. Going to bed on an empty stomach will keep you up though. Going to bed stuffed isn’t a good idea either, but a snack before bed can help you fall asleep comfortably. I try to save some carbs for a small snack before bed now.
- Stop worrying about how much sleep you are getting. If you are making an effort, then stop worrying about it. Of course, there are absolutely situations when you might want to seek medical advice. However, I’m just saying that stressing out about your lack of sleep isn’t going to help you fall asleep.
Anyone else have sleep struggles?
What has worked for you?