Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleeve of care The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course, Chief nourisher in life’s feast. – William Shakespeare
Eat healthily, sleep well, breathe deeply, move harmoniously.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a night owl. My Dad was a night owl. My Mom was an early bird. She caught the worms and we, well, we just were not morning people.
You know those people who can fall asleep at the drop of a hat, in the car, on a plane, as soon as their head hits the pillow, I’ve never been one of them.
I’ve had jobs over the years that fit my sleep patterns well: late-night catering, bartending, freelance writing. In college, I wrote my best papers at 3 am. I brought up my wacky sleep patterns last week when I went to see my doctor and she said, “Yes, you are a writer.” Sure, indeed. In my case, the muse is fickle. She loves quiet and loves to dance when everyone else is sleeping.
This is all well and good, but, you see, I am not a vampire, and the world operates on a different schedule. Meetings, interviews, job assignments, meals, family, friends – they all require me to follow their lead.
So, I have struggled with my bouts of insomnia. The earlier I have to get up, the harder it is to fall asleep.
I have tried many different options. Some work better than others. I’ve tried no caffeine or spicy foods in the evening, meditation, herbal teas, essential oils, listening to the sound of the ocean on tape. While the real ocean works well, the tape never really did it for me.
Some ideas that I’ve been implementing are designing my ideal bedroom for sleep. This includes dimming the lights about an hour before bed to help shift both body and mind into sleep mode, creating a peaceful environment with calming colors and an uncluttered space, keeping the temperature cool, getting the right mattress, pillows and sheets, and incorporating soothing scents like lavender. What I’m loving most right now is my Yorkville weighted blanket.
I did a lot of research and shopped for a long time before I found the perfect one. I do feel it’s an individual decision as to which blanket strikes your fancy, however, I definitely recommend them to help with relaxation and sleep. The blanket feels like a hug or a very gentle massage and incorporates deep touch pressure stimulation. For my fibromyalgia, it’s a dream whether I’m using the blanket at night or anytime I’m feeling overall pain.
Something else I’m working on is not having the tv or the computer on too close to bedtime. That’s a challenge for me, but, it truly helps as the bright light from the computer is not sleep-inducing, but rather the opposite. My morning yoga and walking instead of driving when possible is helpful as is a warm bath before bed, especially when I add epsom salts and essential oils like lavender, orange, frankincense, bergamot or jasmine. Believe it or not, a bowl of oatmeal helps me sleep as does a glass of tart cherry juice.
Most of all, I try not to stress about not sleeping, because that’s the surest way to not fall asleep. I don’t try to sleep anymore, I just allow my body to relax and do some breathing techniques.
I’ve found that a good night’s sleep keeps me healthier, from having less fibromyalgia pain to being more effective at work. Waking up refreshed helps me face the day with a bright outlook and much more resilience, whatever the day may hold.