For the past 7 nights I've slept better than I have in months! These are the 3 things I've changed about my bedtime routine (which I never would have believed could have such a profound effect on my sleep).
My super-relentless anxiety for absolutely no reason is much better, thank you very much! But it's not gone. I know this because even if I feel O.K. in the day, my sleeping is a disaster. I don't fall asleep as quickly as I used to and once I do fall asleep that's when I Cirque de Soleil my way through the night. I stretch, flip, somersault and bounce around my bed for the next 7 or 8 hours at which point I take a bow, roll out of the bed and crash land on the floor. Ready for a new day.
I should mention that I've always been a champion sleeper once I go to bed. I hate going to bed, because there are so many other more interesting things to do than sleep including (but not limited to) cleaning the fridge, rearranging bookshelves, building a tennis racket, looking out the window for changes in weather and Googling how to curl my hair. Once I'm in bed though? I'm dead to the world.
But when I developed anxiety a month or so ago my Sleeping Beauty nights were over.
And as you can see, I am a beauty when I sleep.
I started waking up every hour or so and the times in between when I was sleeping I wasn't in a deep sleep. I was somewhere in between being asleep and performing a trapeze act. CBD oil does help but it hasn't got me back to my regular zonked out sleep schedule.
So I started looking for answers from my friends, family and the big, bad Internet. First up? A Sleepy Time Tea recommendation from my sister Fish Pedicure. I can tell you that telling someone who is having trouble sleeping to throw back a big cup of tea half an hour before bedtime is a cruel joke. At least this time when I woke up an hour after going to bed it was for a valid reason. Plus since I was awake and up for a few minutes I was able to look out the window and check the weather.
Table of Contents
3 Things That Will Improve Your Sleep.
200 mg of Magnesium just before I go to bed. Magnesium is one of those HEY, I CAN DO EVERYTHING minerals, which of course, immediately made me suspicious of it. Like clothing that's "one size fits all".
All Magnesium isn't created equal. Magnesium can make you poop. And give you stomach cramps. And sometimes barf. You want Magnesium Glycinate. It's more expensive and harder to find than regular Magnesium. Try the organic section or a health food store if your regular drug store or grocery store doesn't have it.
The other Magnesiums (aspartate, citrate, lactate, and chloride) are more difficult to absorb and not as gentle on your guts. Magnesium oxide and Magnesium sulfate are even worse.
Take 200 mg of Magnesium Glycinate around 20 minutes before you go to bed. It doesn't just help you get to sleep, it helps you stay there.
Eliminate Blue Light
Get RID of the blue light in your life after dark - cell phones, tablets, laptops ... all of it. Now. Let's not get crazy. I'm not talking about shoving everything in a drawer once the sun sets and spending the entire night not knowing what's going on with that person you've never met on Instagram.
You just need to change the light they emit from blue to amber.
Blue light isn't all bad, it does a great job of waking you up. Which exactly what you don't want at night. So how do you get rid of the blue light but still keep up with the Kardashians?
Enable the Night Shift mode on your Mac products or Night Light on your Android.
Here's how to do it on your iPhone or iPad.
Settings > Display > Night Shift.
The directions are similar for your Android device. Go to Settings > Display > Night Light.
Enabling night mode on your electronics will turn the blue light on your devices to amber as soon as it starts getting dark out. You can set a custom time for the night feature to start at or just set the phone to Sunset to Sunrise and it will automatically turn amber once the sun goes down.
When you're fiddling around on your tablet or phone tonight take the time to go into your settings and change it. At night you'll get a really good idea of how startling the blue light is once you change it to amber. It takes a little while to get used to it but it's almost immediately calming to switch it to amber.
There are also apps you can download that do the same thing if you have a computer or tablet or phone that doesn't have this option.
Televisions are also blue light but they aren't quite as bad because they're much further away from your eyes. But turning off the television an hour before you go to bed will help your sleep cycle even more.
DON'T Turn the Lights Out When You're Falling Asleep.
Beautiful rumpled linen bedding from Rough Linen
Hear me out.
Reading before bed is something I've done since I was a kid and I *know* it helps me fall asleep. I could fall asleep while being shot out of a cannon if I had a book handy.
Just reading wasn't enough for me through this recent sleep debacle though. So I started doing something I recommended a friend do YEARS ago when she was having trouble sleeping. When I'm in bed reading and feel myself starting to fall asleep, I DON'T TURN MY LIGHT OUT.
I now let myself read until I literally fall asleep. I just let my mouth hang open, the book drop and have at it. I have my bedside lamp on a timer so I don't need to worry about turning it off. (These are the Kasa wireless smart plugs I use.)
The reason I do this is because I can be so close to falling asleep that I'm doing the head nod thing, but once I shift around, put the book away and turn my light off I've missed the moment and can't get to sleep.
This routine eliminates that problem.
The first night I tried this combo and it worked I couldn't even WAIT to go to bed again to see if it was just a fluke or if it would work again. It worked again. I'm officially retiring from Cirque.
I do a few other things when I go to bed and I've been doing them for years. I ...
- Keep a bottle of lavender linen spray by the bed and spray my sheets every night before getting into bed.
- Set my Google Home up to automatically play my favourite Classical music station for an hour while I'm reading and falling asleep.
- Take 3-5 sleeping pills. Just kidding.
Adding the 3 new things to my regular nighttime routine has me sleeping well through the night. I'm stunned. It all seems so wishy washy and exactly the sort of thing I'd read about and scoff at. I'd probably throw in an eye roll for good measure too. So if you've been doing that throughout this post don't you worry about it. I get it. And in fact this might not work for you. On the other hand ... it might. So if you too put on a circus show every night, pop a magnesium, ditch the blue light and set your bedside light up on a timer.
If all else fails and you still can't sleep? Clean the fridge.
Have a good weekend!
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