Health (mental too)

Sleep

It’s a wonderful thing when you get enough.  The birds seem to be singing louder.  The sky is clear.  Things go your way.  You know  … lottery wins, children behaving, husbands cooking dinner … the world just seems better.

When you aren’t getting enough it’s so much the opposite.  It’s like you’re swimming in Jello-O while drunk and carrying a football team.  What a lovely image that makes.  Nope.  Makes me tired just thinking about it … EXACTLY!

During my Paxilated years I developed horrific insomnia.  Of course I had no idea it is a pretty common side effect for SSRIs and my doctored only seemed concerned long enough to write me a prescription for Ambien.  By the time I tapered off of everything my sleep patterns and natural body rhythms were seriously messed up.  The body is meant to sleep.  It’s the reboot mode.  We aren’t supposed to stay up all night playing Hidden Objects or Candy Crush while binge watching Grace and Frankie and writing blog posts.  When the sun goes down, the human body should be winding down too.  I know … easier said than done … but I did develop some good sleeping habits in my quest for more sleep and it’s made all the difference in the world.

  • Do NOT take naps … I know it sounds horrible especially if you’ve been up most of the night and are exhausted, but naps actually mess with your natural rhythm and can cause you to not sleep at night … thus continuing a vicious cycle of sleeping at the wrong times and being awake when you don’t want to be
  • No caffeine after 3 PM … for obvious reasons … caffeine is a stimulant and it needs to be mostly out of your system before you try to rest
  • No screen time at least an hour before you go to bed … this includes phones, tablets, TVS, laptops, etc.   … the bright lights, colors and graphics actually trick your brain into higher activity mode and your body responds to the glow as if it’s daylight
  • Avoid drinking alcohol at least 2 hours before bed … many people swear that a glass of wine makes them sleepy and while that might be true, when the alcohol wears off it actually has the opposite effect and can cause you to wake up or have horrible nightmares about a gorilla chasing you through a parking lot because you took his enchiladas (just an example)
  • Diffuse lavender oil into the air … it really does help with relaxation
  • Keep your room slightly cool and cover up … sounds weird, but it works
  • Take a warm bath about an hour before bed …. your body’s drop in temperature as you cool down will make you relaxed and sleepy
  • Remove sleep distractions from the room (pets and snoring husbands included)
  • Make yourself a Can’t Sleep Basket of semi-boring activities … ONLY do them if you find yourself awake in the middle of the night and don’t fall back to sleep after 15 minutes … great things for the basket are:
    • word search puzzle books
    • regular books (not a Kindle or iPad)
    • knitting
    • paint by number kits (or the real painting stuff if you are artistic … I am not)
    • towels that need folding
    • laundry that needs to be hung up
    • furniture polish and a rag (dusting is a very low energy chore so it can be done without making you tired)
    • pen and paper … write down your thoughts or just doodle
    • magazines

ONLY use the things in your Can’t Sleep Basket if you really can’t sleep … find non strenuous things to do … boring things … staying in bed thinking about not sleeping is one of the worst things you can do for insomnia …. plus you can (sort of) get things done with that bonus awake time.

Happy Sleeping 🙂


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