I USED TO SPEND 2 HOURS FALLING ASLEEP
NOW IT TAKES ME 10 MINUTES
It gets to everyone sometimes. Some people can’t fall asleep. Some people can’t stay asleep. Some people can’t sleep at night and then they’re exhausted all day. I am all of the above. Or, at least, I used to be.
About six months ago, I got really tired (pun intended) of all that sleep mess. I was exhausted all of the time. (now it’s just most of the time lol) My accommodating husband never complained, but it’s not good for him to be up with me all night tossing and turning, then try to work all day. After decades of sleep problems, I’ve found a routine that works for me. I know parts of it seem silly, but it I have to share it with you because it WORKS FOR ME and maybe it can work for you too!
If you need help sleeping, try whichever steps would make you comfortable. It can’t hurt, and there are no side effects (except for the person next to you laughing as you do the same thing every night. It could happen, but the sleep is worth it!)
10 STEPS TO GET TO SLEEP FAST:
- THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP!! Make sure my story is ready, and headphones/speaker are next to the bed (details on this below)
- check the thermostat, make sure it’s my perfect sleeping temperature
- turn on the fan in my room, air movement helps me breathe better
- put on comfy pajamas, put socks on or take off/depending on weather
- put on lotion so skin gets silky smooth while I sleep
- put on lip balm (I use Badger Balm, it lasts all night)
- take all of my medicines
- put my morning meds (in a locked container) and water on my hospital table next to my bed, so I can take them before I get up and let them kick-in first thing
- put lavender oil mixed with coconut oil on my sinuses and the tip of my nose (helps my breathing at night)
- have 2 super-soft throw blankets on my side of the bed so I can use them to prop me up if I need it, or warm me up in the middle of the night
IT WORKS! I just need to make sure I do everything BEFORE I go to bed. With so much going on in my body, it can be hard for me to feel comfortable sometimes, but now when I follow my list, it’s easy!
THE MOST IMPORTANT PART = THE STORY
HERE’S WHY IT WORKS:
I’m exhausted, but I’m also a Mom. At night, when the house gets quiet, my brain goes into overdrive thinking about everything that needs to get done! I used to keep pen and paper on my table to write these things down, but then my brain got creative and waited until I was laying down with the lights off to go nuts dishing out the info. It spits it out like a high-speed pitching machine. Finally it hit me, fight fire with fire. Or in this case: fight words with words.
For me, personally, a nice historical fiction book is perfect. It interests me enough to keep my brain engaged, but it isn’t exciting enough to get my brain too excited to sleep. I set the story to play back at 0.8 speed, so it’s slow, but clear. I use an old cel phone, but any mp3 player would work. Even your phone if you need to. Get an app for audiobooks. Here are the three I use:
- Librivox—it’s a free app, the downside is that all of the books are read by volunteers and sometimes, the quality reflects that (You can get paid books, but I’ve set mine to just show free ones.)
- Audible—they have the newest quality-read books, the downside is that you have to pay for it, like over $16 per month. But, if you cancel later, you get to keep the books you bought.
- OVERDRIVE—MY HANDS-DOWN WINNER. You connect your library card info with the free app, and borrow audiobooks, just like you would books from your physical library (fun fact, you can also download movies and e-books, but that is fun for another time, we’re trying to sleep here)
SET UP YOUR APP, THEN CHOOSE & DOWNLOAD STORIES BEFORE BEDTIME. Download them into your app so if your wifi goes out, you still can listen (lesson learned, my friend)
If you sleep alone, or your spouse doesn’t mind, listen through a speaker, but if you (like me) are with someone who prefers silence, just wear some headphones (wireless please so you don’t have wires wrapped around your neck)
WHAT IF I WAKE UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT?
Just turn your story back on and let it lull you back to sleep. No more strategic planning at 2am! Your brain will learn that it’s time to relax.
Want to learn information about insomnia from the Mayo clinic? Go here: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/symptoms-causes/dxc-20256961
YOUR CHALLENGE FOR TODAY: Prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep. Choose a few things from the list to try and see if they help you relax. Get everything ready ahead of time so that you don’t have to get up and get something to be comfortable enough to sleep.