For as long as I can remember I have been a “night time person”, never ever someone who loves waking up early. Not my thing. Nope.
Over the past several years I have developed the worst bed time habits:
- I couldn’t fall asleep without taking some form of melatonin/sleep aid/sleeping pill
- I would fall asleep anywhere between 12-4 am…
- I would be on my phone while laying in bed to the point of exhaustion
- I had to have complete peace and quiet
- I needed to have a dark room, no light coming from the cracks in the door, I had black out curtains.. no lights from a clock or anything
These sound like lovely habits eh ?…
No. Not really. I knew this was abnormal and I knew I needed to address it but I also realized that there were reasons behind why I did the things that I did. It wasn’t until this past year that I finally addressed it and discussed it with my counsellor and doctor .
So.. why was I doing what I was doing ?
- With depression, as I have expressed many times before in previous blog posts.. sleep/tiredness/exhaustion/insomnia/hyper- insomnia are all issues/symptoms of depression. I would sleep all day and all night. If I slept all day, I’d be wide awake at night .. you get the picture… but the thing is I never ever actually felt energetic or ready for the day no matter how much sleep I had.
- I became reliant on any type of sleep aids, I believed that I could not fall asleep at night without it. I convinced myself it wasn’t possible. I ended up then developing a tolerance to anything I tried and would have to take more and more to feel like I could fall asleep.
- I let myself be on my phone to the point of exhaustion to avoid thinking. I use to be so afraid of being alone with my own thoughts. I feared panic and anxiety. I feared having to deal with the hard stuff. I convinced myself if I let myself think.. I would only end up being more sad .. more depressed.
- Having all the lights off and needing a dark room was not a good habit, it’s like it was another escape to avoid thinking. I’d get so busy with trying to make my room pitch black that I didn’t have to worry about anything else.
- In terms of noise, I have developed a habit of self-aggravation when I heard sounds I didn’t like. It’s all I can focus on and I end up getting so distracted by it and angry. For example, I cannot stand the sound of a clock ticking or snoring. I even use to hate the sound of the rain ! Who hates the sound of the rain ! Ahaha it’s suppose to be comforting and white noise. This is still something I work on.
What’s my new routine?
- Aromatherapy has been a good natural way to calm and relax myself. I love using my diffuser and essential oils. I deep breath when I have it on and attempt to relax . I mix in lavender, peppermint or eucalyptus or chamomile .. sometimes different concoctions that I have looked up.i also recommend the aromatherapy Bath and Body works line for sleep, stress and energy! They have pillow sprays, room sprays, lotions, body oil, body sprays and even bubble bath and bath salts. You’d be surprised how much it can work if you relax (I know that people argue that it’s just a placebo affect and we just convincing ourselves otherwise … I use to hold this opinion).
- I take calcium and magnesium after dinner, these vitamins are consider to both aid in sleep. For instance, milk contains small amounts of tryptophan, which the brain uses to build both serotonin and melatonin which both have to do with your sleep.Think about it, new mothers breast feed their new borns or feed them milk in a bottle. Calcium is a great source of sleep aid.. consider how much babies sleep OR why people usually suggest warm milk before bed. Of course there is more to it but this is just the basis in simple terms. Magnesium is well known to relieve insomnia. It’s been researched that magnesium can aid in the lowering of cortisol (stress hormone) and that it helps wth muscle relaxation.
- I try to stop using my phone about a half an hour to an hour before I go to sleep. I usually put the phone down, find a relaxing/chill playlist on my Spotify and I either take a shower or read a book or do a sudoku puzzle for a bit. Its been researched and found that using electronic devices can be stimulating and can cause sleep disturbances or lack of sleep. Also it’s been suggested that bright light/blue light signals our brain to stay alert which is what we see when looking at our phone. I try to keep my phone on my dresser rather ham under my pillow at night.
- I now aim to be in bed by 10. That way I can relax and an unwind in my bed for an hour or so.
- I have now adjusted myself to sleeping with light. It started off with not covering the cracks on my doors or windows where light peeked through and uncovering all the led lights like on the tv or clock (this sounds so silly but I got to a really bad point). I then took off my black out curtains — THIS WAS SO HARD FOR ME TO DO. I then attempted to sleep with my blinds open. I am not at a point where I can fall asleep in any time of lighting. PHEW.
- I also went through a trial and error adjusting to “white noise” like a fan going throughout the night. This has been so helpful. I still don’t like snoring and the ticking BUT I have adjusted to a point where no longer get angry but attempt to not focus on it . It’s a bit of an improvement I say.
Anyways! This is my routine at night. Little things I have learned through trial and error. Is there anything you do that helps you fall asleep ? I’m intrigued to here !
Love, Sarah. 🖤