I hate people who are deep sleepers. Mainly because I am so jealous of them for falling asleep within minutes if not seconds (hey Dad…) and being sure 99% of the time to get a good night sleep.
I, on the contrary, have suffered from nighttime anxiety for years, wake up at least twice during the night and have to sleep with earplugs. Yes, this is unfair.
I would say from 2012 until July of this year, my sleep has been the worst it had ever been. I would get nighttime anxiety pretty much every night, would wake up every one or two hours, would have an even lighter sleep from 5 a.m. and was always, always exhausted.
My anxiety disorder was so out of hand for years that I struggled day and night to keep it together, until my body was so exhausted from the fight that I would have a panic attack. Some nights, sometimes in a row, I would sleep 3-4 hours and have to go to College with the feeling that someone had smashed my head and body all night with a hammer. I would sit on the bed at 3 a.m. wondering what the hell had I done to deserve this.
After years of work and patience, I am so happy to say that my anxiety has been pretty much under control since the beginning of September and I’ve never slept better. When we moved into this apartment before College started, I had a feeling and wish that this school year would be like no other. I had a more positive attitude and decided to make changes in my routine to handle my anxiety better, especially my night time anxiety which, I realized was worsening everything.
I know I am not alone in this battle and thought I’d share with you what I’ve been doing, hoping it might help some of you.
Some people can study and be active until they go to bed but I am not one of those people. I need a few hours without studying or doing anything that requires my mind to be active or to worry. It usually involves reading blogs, watching Youtube videos or Netflix. Some of my previous classmates thought it was a bit strange and kind of a waste of time, but I know that I need it badly to fall asleep.
Another major change for me, which has been such a big help has been stopping to have my “chill session” on my bed before bedtime. I now stay on the couch and cosy up under a blanket and on top of as many pillows as possible but will only go in the bed to read and sleep. Having a separate space helps you mind to associate your bed with “time to turn off and sleep”.
My night time herbal tea has become a definite part of my routine and I think my brain now associate it with me-time as well. I use one that is aimed at helping to relax for sleep which contains lime tree, vervain and camomile.
I don’t think I have ever gone to bed before reading first. I am a bookworm and need to read everyday and no matter what time it is, I have to read before bed. Of course, I try not to read anything that will wake me up like a thriller but will usually read a light read or something I’ve read before or just try to have some self control and put it down when it’s time to get some beauty sleep. Reading helps your mind to relax and is a good transition if you spend time on your laptop or phone before.
After I’m done with my laptop, usually around 10p.m., I will go brush my teeth, put some lip balm on, get into bed and turn off my wifi. The light coming from a screen makes your brain think it’s daytime and having notifications popping up every 2 seconds definitely doesn’t help you concentrate on this amazing book you are reading.
Meditation has been a big part of the mental health / taking care of oneself advocacy lately. Though I don’t practice it very often, I know that meditating of sophrology helps me to relax and disconnect when I feel like everything is too much and my body cannot relax well anymore. Even if it’s taking 5 minutes to do nothing, close your eyes, breath slowly and just reflect, you will feel much better afterwards.
This may sound very cheesy and I am aware and very sorry for that, but having a cuddle with my boyfriend before turning off the light is a major help for my sleep. I pretty much always fall asleep on his chest because of how cosy and relaxing it is. I think it’s also because it’s a time for me to practice my own kind of meditation. I do nothing except let my mind wander and eventually, dream.
Cuddling a pet is also a bit help as they are so positive and loving. My dog has always been a big stress-relieving presence for me and I always feel better when I go back to my parents and have a play or cuddle session with him. Plus he is so cute…
Do you have any advices for getting a good night sleep?