It would seem that at this very moment I’m giving the bird to some very important suggestions in a list of suggestions I’m going to reveal later in this post. It’s 12:04am, I’m sipping on water, my lights are on and I’m staring at a computer screen. I’m recklessly suggestion breaking over here. All except number…the last one…(I don’t know how many there will be yet). “Giving it up” is the last suggestion and I’m keeping it in spades. Read on and I love you!
(This is just something pretty from my last road trip. I don’t have any pictures of me sleeping… Sorry?)
Sleep, this post is for you, my long lost friend.
The last time I can remember being this sleep deprived was during my first semester of college. I moved into my dorm with some of my best girlfriends and on night numero uno discovered that I’m… a bit… sensitive you could say when it comes to sleeping conditions. Nighttime was no longer ANYTHING like my quiet, dark, peaceful sleeps at home in Eden. Now I had a room-roommate, 4 other roommates who didn’t necessarily share my beauty sleep bedtime (they were normal college kids who had a way better time living away from home then I did.), a mess of plumbing running through the cinder block wall in my bedroom and a lamplight right outside my window. Oh, goodness. I was a sad, sleepless situation. Very quickly I fell in love with earplugs and an eye mask. Lifesavers! One of the things that stands out most in my mind in this chapter of my life is the spectacularly assembled playlist my brother made and mailed to me that was full of sleepless hits. Track number one was none other than the beat droppin’ rock anthem, No Sleep Till Brooklyn by the Beastie Boys. Pause please, while I revisit that song… Really. Hold on.
Hmmm… I don’t remember some of those lyrics being quite… what they are. Holy cow, Licensed To Ill came out in 1986?! Dude. I feel old.
Anyway, that mixed CD (is that we call them?) was a gem. It’s sitting pretty in a big plastic bin in storage-land somewhere. One day we will reunite.
Sleep, though, is what we are here to get to the bottom of. Can I be a human being for a second? Can I share a transparent moment with you without seeming whiny, dear readers? Usually, sleep isn’t a problem for me. Without getting into the “Boo-Hoo for Charlotte” details, the last few months have been a bit on the anxious, icky, brain circus side. Mostly, I’ve felt like my entire torso and head is a bird cage filled with magpies, and they are fighting over road kill 24/7. You know the feeling? Hence, this divorcement from my precious, nightly 8 hours of restoring, regenerating, refreshing, yummy Zs.
I’ve been reading up on sleep hacking tips lately and I’m also drawing on some light reading I did about a decade ago in a Men’s Health magazine I purchased at Smith’s. I don’t know why I bought it. It was a disaster for my young, passionately celibate mind. I remember feeling a little naughty about the whole thing. Wasn’t I just the edgiest? I kept the magazine in my sock drawer and everything. Ha! Oh, dear… Anyway, there was a great article in there about tips for sleep improvement and I remember it better than I remember most important things. And sleep, I mean… c’mon. Isn’t it really the FIRST thing in the line-up of things for optimal health? Is anyone accomplishing anything of worth without a good night’s sleep behind them? Especially over the long term? Maybe, but I don’t know who these people are. When this lassy is not sleeping her likelihood of getting fired from her job increases, her family and friends find more enjoyable company (though I still feel loved, guys), she eats copious amounts of things that make her feel like garbage, she basically contributes nothing worthwhile to society. Everything is the worst and she languishes in the pit of despair. (Side Note: Sometimes I fall into third person. I can’t tell if I’m annoyed with myself for doing this or not. I’m at about a 4 on the the annoyed scale, but I’m keeping it for now.)
I’d like to title this next section…
“If you like sleep so much why don’t you marry it?”
Well, wiseguy, it would be a pleasure…
Let’s get into the suggestion list I mentioned earlier to get this deal sealed and Charlotte some sleep (there I go again with that darn third person…).
“Sleep in a cave.” (I got that one from the Men’s Health magazine. They would want me to borrow it.). Make your bedroom as dark as you can. Cover lights from devices and alarms. Black out those windows. On the flip side, make your days as BRIGHT as you can. “Sunshine, daisies, buttermellow…” (Aaaand that’s from Harry Potter…)
Turn off all screens an hour or so before you hit the hay. Phones. TVs. Laptops. All of that stuff. Turn it off. Pull out a tree book instead. Dim the lights and get some melatonin flowing.
Have a sleepy time routine. I want to say this is akin to the Pavlov’s dogs thingy. When I wash off my make-up, brush my teeth, get my jammies on, do my little hip stretchy things, lather up my feet, etc., my brain gets to thinkin’, “You know what? This girl does this every time she’s about to go to bed. Maybe that’s what she’s doing this time! Let’s get sleepy and go to bed!” Yeah, so instead of salivating (which I feel like I do for sleep lately), I get sleepy! Cuz I’m doing all the pre-sleepy stuff! Okay. You get it. You took Psychology too.
Hold off on eating or drinking a couple hours before you go to bed. Let your systems wind down a bit. Let those blood sugar levels lower and give yourself a fighting chance at not having to get up to pee 100 times in the middle of the night. I drink all the water in the world before 8pm, but I really try to cut back after 8.
Journal. I’m a think-a-rama kind of girl and it’s really helpful for me to jot down my thoughts before I go to sleep. Doing this lets my brain unload and allows me to rest some of the oh, so important thoughts in my head.
Do your best to go to bed and get up at the same time every single day. I hate to say it, but even, if you’re serious about this, on the weekends. Schedules and bodies are really good for each other. And I also read a thing once, the more sleep you can get before 12am the better. Uh, I’m sure there’s something science would tell us about that, but for now, do a gut check, see how that feels and trust that I’m right. Ha! I’m kidding. Kind of.
Exercise! Make that body of yours tired from the physical exertions of the day. Again, this is from “The Science of Something I Read Somewhere”, but doesn’t it just make sense? And, while we’re talking about it, exercise everyday anyway. For about 14,000 other reasons.
This next one is a big one and could be the content of many posts. But here’s what I’ve got for now. Sometimes we aren’t sleeping because all is not right in our world. What is pressing on you? Do you need to quit something? Start something? Fix something? Let something go? Do a really good check here. Get into your head and heart and figure it out. You’re smart and you know what would alleviate and improve your life experience. Do that thing.
I’m a little hesitant to mention number 9 because I try to do things as naturally, and substance and chemically free as possible. But sometimes, when push comes to shove, and when you’ve tried everything, and when it’s for the greater good, and blah-bity-blah, sometimes you just need to take something. I try to be really careful about this, but I’m definitely to the point where melatonin and sleep aides are my friends. It’s not something I’m happy about. Some people suggest taking melatonin like it’s no big thang, but I’m not so sure. It’s a hormone and I don’t lightly mess with taking hormones. Maybe I’m being a little overly precautious, but I can’t NOT mention it. Then there’s the sleep aide thing. I just take an over the counter one. Again, not ideal for me but, it’s come to this. Getting sleep because I’m taking a sleep aide is a far cry better than not getting sleep at all because of some principles about something I have. I try to remember that this is temporary. That I’m just getting back on track, keeping my job and my friends and it will all be alright. I’m awake right now because “temporary” ended two nights ago. I have had this funny metallic taste in my mouth for the past month, which is about how long I’ve been taking this sleep aide. I googled “metallic taste in my mouth” on Saturday and the number one reason was because of medications. Go figure. Because I’m not taking any other meds but this, and the timing of metal mouth and the introduction of the sleep aide happened right at about the same time… It’s time for “temporary” to be now. Just in case you wondered what number two was, it was that I could be diabetic. I’m rooting for the sleep aide, but I’ll keep you abreast.
This is the last suggestion. Give it up. Which is what I’m doing right now. Sometimes when you just can’t sleep then it’s okay to get yourself up and get something done. If it feels right. Sometimes sleeplessly laying in bed feels better.
(Just more prettiness…)
Okay! We did it! There are probably more suggestions out there for better sleep and I am ALL ears for them. I’d love to hear what you’ve got. These are the ones that I’d heard and that have worked for me in the past. It’s 1:42am and it turns out I’m a little bit tired. Also, just so you know, two days of no sleep aide and the feeling that I’m sucking on a penny is diminishing. Thank heavens I don’t have diabetes. Think I’ll go ahead and shut my sleepy little eyeballs. Lots of love and the sweetest sleep to you!
Juicy Jam Session: I’ve said enough, so I’ll keep this short. Rosie (Ooh La La) by The Arcs. From their album, Yours Dreamily,. Feels appropriate. -XOXO