There is no better feeling than waking after a perfect night’s sleep. Feeling refreshed and ready to tackle your day, it’s what people dream of. (No pun intended)
Having suffered from multiple sleeping disorders throughout my life sleep has always been a battle for me. As a child the thought of going to sleep filled me with anxiety. Like many children, I feared the bogeyman, but my parents soon realized it was much more than a child’s fear of what lurked under the bed. I suffered from extremely vivid nightmares, and sleepwalking sometimes even injuring myself. Scary stuff!
As I moved into my teenage years I developed disorders such as sleep paralysis, confusional arousals, and horrid night terrors. As an adult living with this mixture of sleeping problems, it has at times made my day to day life difficult.
It can be difficult for people to be understanding of the importance of proper sleep when they themselves do not suffer from interrupted sleep. I learned at a young age to keep my sleep problems to myself, even from my parents at times. But when I finished college and began working a steady job I realized I could no longer let restless nights interfere with my life.
After speaking with my doctor I decided that sleeping medication was not the way I wanted to go, so I began to research different methods. It turns out there are mountains of research collected by countless amounts of people throughout the ages. So I took it upon myself to try everything and anything and find what works best for me.
Throughout my personal research process, I found the remedies that work best for me, I hope they provide you with some aid of your own.
1. Do not eat before you sleep
When you are feeling restless or agitated adding digestion to the mix is not exactly the best way to get yourself comfortable. Always follow the 2-hour rule (do not eat up to 2 hours before bed) If you find that you are in need of a snack be careful what you do decide to eat. Stay away from caffeine, spicy foods, and grease, these types of food fuel nightmares and restlessness.
2. Make your bedroom your sanctuary
Your brain must connect your bedroom as a place to rest and sleep. Try to avoid watching TV, working or eating in your room. If you use your bedroom for normal daytime activities then your brain will stay stimulated while in your bedroom. When you enter your room, make sure it is clean and your bed is comfortable. Save the bedroom for relaxing activities such as reading, keeping out as much stress as possible.Your bedroom is your safe haven.
3. Drink some tea
Herbs such as Kava Kava, chamomile, and Valerian Root have been used for centuries to help people relax and sleep better. Although there has not been much proven in the area of the scientific effects of these types of teas relating to sleep, I know one thing a nice Celestial Sleepytime Tea gets me feeling relaxed, cozy and sleepy.
4. Fill the room with nice smells
Somewhere during my research process, I stumbled across an article that mentioned the effect that foul or unpleasant smells can have on your subconscious while you sleep. So I began researching aromatherapy, my findings… Lavender,chamomile and vanilla. All great sleep aids to relax your mind and help you sleep better. I am no expert in the area of aromatherapy but it is certainly something that has helped calm my mind and become more relaxed.
5. Purchase a proper pillow & mattress
I love filling my bed with fluffy pillows, however, what I want and what I need are completely different things. What I need is a supportive Memory Foam Pillow in order to sleep solidly through the night. Having a proper pillow will stop you from adjusting in your sleep and also allow you to wake up with less neck pain. Bam! Enough reason for me. The same goes for a good mattress, although they can get expensive, it is a cost that is worth every penny.
This has been the most powerful tool I use against my sleeping conditions. When I have a bout of night terrors meditating before I sleep helps keep the boogeyman away. It was actually my family doctor who suggested that I try this. If you are a bit apprehensive about meditation then you could also try listening to relaxing sounds for 20 minutes or so while you are trying to fall asleep. Ocean waves, rain, white noise and other sounds help do for the brain similar things that meditation does. Helping brings your mind to a state of calm that is needed for a good night’s rest.
7. Avoid the internet and your Phone
Please do not let the last thing you mentally ingest before sleeping be the internet or your phone. If for example, you open your Facebook before you go to sleep then you are exposed to hundreds of new images, news, and thoughts. It stimulates the brain and kicks thoughts into action. It is the opposite of relaxing for your mind. Replace your phone with a book and your sleep will improve.
Not to mention research now shows that the artificial light that our phones create may actually cause restless sleep.
8. Take a bath
Take a nice hot bath before you head to bed. Filling the tub with some
Epsom salts, lighting some candles and letting the water soak up the problems of the day is a wonderful way to set your mind and body up for a great night’s sleep.
9. Create a routine
When we become adults routines often become harder to manage with so many other demands on your time. However, it is vital to learn to take care of yourself. Try out some of the above methods that I used or research some of your own and incorporate them into a nighttime routine. It is all about training your subconscious mind to relax and shut down for the day.
Do you have trouble sleeping? What helps you get a great night’s sleep?