I’ve always had issues with sleep, as long as I can remember. My issue hasn’t been getting to sleep in the first place, it’s been staying asleep and getting back to sleep after waking. It tends to happen to me in bouts. I’ll be sleeping quite well, then all of a sudden a phase of sleeplessness will begin and for a week or two, I’ll wake up each night at crazy a.m. and stay awake for hours. The fact that my husband snores as loud as a jet plane doesn’t assist me in gently drifting back into dreamland. I’m also a worrier, and my mind tends to run away with itself in the middle of the night. Little R still wakes up occasionally during the night too, so all in all, it makes for a very tired Mum.
When I started back at work two months ago, I experienced one of these phases almost immediately. I guess in a way I expected it, knowing that I would be nervous about going back to work, wondering how my job would have changed, and how I was going to fit it all into an already busy life. Stress and worry are surefire triggers for insomnia.
I wasn’t prepared to just wait for it to fall back into normal rhythms and hope it didn’t take too long, knowing it would inevitably come back before too long. I wanted to do something about it before I ran myself completely into the ground. So I went and spoke to my GP. She talked me through both the natural remedies that could help guide me to sleep and keep me there, and the medicated options. With two young kids, one who still sometimes needs me during the night, I wasn’t prepared to launch straight into medications that might make me too drowsy to function. So instead, I gathered up an arsenal of powerful natural goodies and put a night-time routine into place. Truthfully, I haven’t had a lot of luck using natural remedies before so wasn’t really expecting any miracles. But, I was pleasantly surprised by how well this combo has worked for me. From the very first night of my new routine, I enjoyed some blissful, uninterrupted sleep, and even when I did wake up, I was able to easily slip back into unconsciousness.
If you suffer from insomnia as well, or you just find it hard to initially get to sleep, these are some good options to try out, and they’re all cheap to put into place too.
Yoga shouldn’t be intimidating, and it also doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. You can do yoga easily in your home, in the comfort of your own daggy clothes, at any time of the day or night. It doesn’t matter if you’re completely new to yoga, no experience is necessary to start enjoying and benefiting from some simple poses. All you need is a flat and relatively comfortable surface (a yoga mat isn’t necessarily required), and some comfortable and loose clothing. It helps if you can practice somewhere warm too. There are a lot of free yoga channels on YouTube, which are perfect for trying out yoga for the first time, expanding on an existing practice, and winding down with some gentle poses at the end of a long day. My preferred channel is Yoga with Adriene, she has so many different videos to choose from, ranging from easy to moderate, and varying in length too. There’s a great Bedtime Sequence that’s just perfect for night-time. This is how I like to start my night-time ritual.
Sometimes if I feel like being really still, I might choose some meditation or relaxation instead of yoga. I personally find it quite easy to switch my thoughts off and focus when in a meditative situation, but that has only come with practice. The more you try, the more you understand the importance of the breath, and the more you can get out of your head and tune into your body. Again, there are plenty of channels on YouTube that you can check out, or you could have a look at Smiling Mind. This is a great website for those new to relaxation, and just want to give it a try with some brief meditations. You work your way through a program which also incorporates mindfulness, and there’s an app you can download too.
Don’t underestimate the power of chamomile. It’s so calming and subtle, a lovely drink to wind down with. I prefer to have it as a mixed tea with other flavours, rather than straight on its own. I bought a gorgeous blend from T2 called “Sweet Dreams“, which contains chamomile, lavender, apple and rose, among other yummy things. After a gentle yoga workout or a peaceful meditation, drinking this tea is just heavenly.
I like to spray our bedsheets with lavender spray after they’re washed, and I have a sweet little lavender pillow spray that I use too. It’s such a soothing scent, great for the bedroom thanks to its calming properties. You can also use lavender oil in a diffuser or oil burner to let the smell permeate your whole home, or add a few drops of the oil to your laundry powder before you wash your bedsheets.
Last but certainly not least, I take some valerian just before I slip into bed. I find this helps me to start feeling deliciously drowsy shortly after, but not so much that I wouldn’t be able to wake up if one of my kids called out in the middle of the night. After speaking with my chemist about valerian, I learned that it’s non-addictive, it will make you feel drowsy but won’t knock you out, and you can also start and stop using it as needed – it doesn’t take time to build up maximum effect, and there’s also no side effects if you suddenly stop taking it. Of course, you should always source your own medical advice from your GP or pharmacist before taking any type of supplement or medication, herbal or non-herbal.
Wishing you many a long and undisturbed night’s sleep!
Do you also suffer from sleep issues? Would you add any other tips to this list?
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