I've always been a horrible sleeper, a natural night owl my whole life. My mom described me as a baby that never slept like a baby but just laid there quietly and barely slept. Move into my teen and adult years, it's still the same.
Well, now it's catching up to me, so I've been feeling lately, and I can't help but wonder what kind of trauma I'm subjecting my body to.
We all know that there have been several studies linking poor sleep to higher stress levels, weight gain, disease, etc., but honestly...it was easier to just turn on my ipad on and zone out rather than actually trying to get a better sleep and being disappointed.
If there is one thing I hate, it's laying in bed, wide eyed, waiting for that damn sandman to show up!
Some things that I have noticed recently that could be attributed to other issues but can be improved with better sleep hygiene are:
- Anxiety attacks: Quick rollercoaster like feeling that starts in my diaphragm and travels to my chest, lungs and throat. This can happen between 5-20+ times a day.
- Weight gain: Let's be real here. This has always been an issue with me. I choose crap food over real food because I'm too tired all the time to cook and do the million other things I need to do in a day. I know, excuses, excuses.
- Skin: I'm finding my blemishes are not going away as quickly as they used to. This can be attributed to poor diet and hormone changes which in turn, I believe, are linked to my poor sleep habits.
What I hope to gain from this:
- Fall asleep easily and stay asleep
- Wake up refreshed
- Improved energy that lasts throughout the day
- Mental clarity
What are the terms?
After 8 PM for 1 week there will be no:
- Cell phone
- Bright lights
I'll be able to read, write, paint, plant, basically anything that doesn't involve electronics and high stimulation.
My aids will be a sleep tea I make as well as lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) essential oil. I may even make up a sleep pillow I sell in my product line.
Exercise will also be a key component. Taking Oakley (my dog) for a walk that's between 30 minutes to an hour will suffice. Yoga will also be a choice exercise.
I've also decided not to sleep with my electronics, so I've has to make other arrangements for my alarm. Basically just setting it outside my door....we'll see how that goes! I have a hard enough time getting up as it is with my alarm right beside me.
So there you have it. Simple right?
Well....here's how the first night went.
Since 8PM, it's amazing how many times I thought about going to lay in bed and watching a show. I knew I was addicted but WOW! I've had the same idea pop into my head about 6 separate times!
I have to admit I spent almost my whole day right up until 8PM around electronics, doing mostly work, and I have to say I feel like crap. My head is spinning and achy, I feel anxious and lethargic, my eyes are stinging and squinty but TV keeps popping into my mind...Hmm? It's almost like I'm going through withdrawal or my body is in major recovery mode.
On the other hand, here's what I've done tonight without electronic distraction:
- Wrote a blog
- Watered and re-arranged my plants
- Did some research
- Sold some product
- Visited with a friend
- Prepared sleep tea
- Prepared lavender essential oil
- Enjoyed getting ready for bed
- Cuddled with my companion animals Oakley (dog) and Stuart (cat)
By 10PM I was in bed. While I waited for my tea to infuse, I applied my lavender essential oil behind my ears, on my heart and on the soles of my feet.
I drank my sleep tea slowly as I read (or tried to, my dog was being a real suck).
Every now and then I would think of a question that I'd like to google but resisted.
The last thing I remember was putting in my ear plugs, cause my dog snores like CRAZY, and cuddling him.
In the morning....
The tea did its job last night. I feel asleep easily but woke up a couple times before my alarm was to go off. I may have been nervous that I was going to miss it since I put it outside my room.
I didn't wake up refreshed and was still tired by 9AM. This tells me that I need to get to bed a little earlier to allow for the transition into sleep so I can be sleeping by at least 10PM.
Today I've decided to eat more vegetables than I did yesterday. I did have some processed food last night so I'm thinking that may be a contributor to why I am so lethargic this morning.
On to Day 2....there will be some tweaking to the plan.
I'm curious, what's your bed time routine?
Ninetta (Nina) Savino
Nina's Sleep Tea
1 gram Chamomile flower (Matricaria recutita)
1 gram Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata)
Boil water to make infusion.
Let sit covered for 5-10 minutes and drink 10-20 minutes before bed.