Tried and Tested Tricks for Better Sleep!
A few weeks ago, I was struggling. Struggling with a capital STR. I was utterly exhausted because I wasn’t sleeping. I was having the most intense, horrific, and upsetting nightmares. Like, this wasn’t my usual anxiety dreams about being onstage and not knowing what show I’m in (fun as THEY are). These were like, properly terrifying, dark, violent shit. It meant I was waking up in the night with a panic attack, and then not wanting to fall back asleep in case the ‘Mare came back and being super tired the next day (which spurs on my anxiety massively). The next day, in fact, I’d feel really emotional, almost ashamed that my brain had the ability to conjure up such fucked up stuff. I actually felt weirdly hungover? And that’s not fair unless you’ve had a belting drunken night where you snogged a boy in a taxi rank, took a traffic cone home with you and woke up with chips in your bed.
So I was VERY KEEN to make them go away. I asked my wonderful network of chums on Facebook and was AMAZED at how many people eagerly came forward to share similar stories and methods that have helped them in the quest for more restful sleep. THE REST QUEST if you will. I found it SOOOOOOOOOOOOO helpful that I thought I’d compile their advice into a handy blog post that I can access again when I need it, and hopefully it might help some other people too! Get ready to get yo sleep onnnn.
- “Yoga before bed. These ones are great! The 30 minute one really works for me as once you get into bed the blood settles and it sends me straight into a deep sleep.”
- ” I used to get them when I used to smoke. Now it’s cheese or beer before bed and they can get a bit weird. Lots of water and a bit of exercise helps!”
- “I use guided sleep meditation stuff on YouTube, Julie Langton Smith and Micheal Sealey are both fantastic. Michael has guided sleep meditations for all sorts of stuff, anxiety, depression, spirit cleansing etc.”
- “I found meditation helps. Joan Borysenko on YouTube does some good guided short ones really help quieten the mind.”
- “I’ve got a guided sleep app called Peace in My Pocket which I find really good!”
- “This can be caused by some antidepressants. Talk to your GP and they can help you to look at other options.”
- “I had terrible nightmares on antidepressants and found changing the time of day I took them helped!”
- “No phone before bed for at least an hour.”
- “Himalayan salt lamp in the bedroom- whack it on for an hour-ish before bed.”
- “Gratitude journal- before bed, list 3 things at least that you feel grateful for in your day.”
- “Hay House Meditations before sleep.”
- “An essential oil roller in pulse points.”
- “Emotional Freedom Technique, and tapping is great for pain relief and energy zapping thoughts. It uses affirmations and mantras to focus your energy. There is LOADS of tapping stuff on YouTube. I started using it a few months ago and it seriously blew my mind. EFT sessions are great for root cause stuff and has really changed how I feel about myself and how my own story has helped me rather than hindered me. It is a bit ‘woo’ and spiritual for some people but as the converted sceptic I cannot recommend it enough!”
- “I second tapping it’s really easy and really effective, google the 9 Gamut Tapping Route!”
- “Try to limit the amount of news you include in your daily life- obviously still be clued up on the world, but perhaps limit the amount of newspapers and TV news you consume on a daily basis- especially near bed time!”
- “I get this really badly – and I also get sleep paralysis when I’m stressed or my mind is on other things. I Second what everyone has said about bed time routine / yoga / no phone. Also try wearing an eye mask to sleep, any light in your room can stop you from falling in to a deep sleep.”
- “A decent quality CBD Oil. Huge overall health benefits including sleep, anxiety and inflammation which is huge for overall health.”- Note: I had a few suggestions for CBD oil, most commented that it was great but that it tastes like PURE ASS so if you’re going to try it go for capsules rather than the oil.
- “Melatonin– it works a treat for me. As Mother Julian of Norwich said centuries ago “All will be well and all will be well and every kind of thing shall be well.”
- “Magnesium an hour before bed!”- Note: Again, I had a few suggestions for magnesium!
- “I used to get this with medication, and found particularly that the emotions I felt in the dream would stay with me for a long time. Bring it up with your GP but also feel reassured that it’s quite common, and maybe tell your lovely man or someone everything when you wake up, try and have a giggle about it and then reassure yourself that it was just your brain wandering. Brains are pretty clever, especially yours. We should at least let them party when we’re asleep! Be nice to yourself as much as you can, it’s a definite side-effect, medically. Your brain’s on a creative writing course while you’re asleep, but it’s determined to make it feel as real as possible.”
- “This happens to me every time I increase my medication! It fully sucks but it is absolutely normal and something to do with your brain getting the chemical balance settled again apparently. Sacking off any technology at least an hour before bed and doing a bit of meditation can help but it will subside on it’s own within a week or two once the new dose settles. However, I can only speak from my own experience so definitely speak to your GP and keep them in the loop.”
- “For me, dreams are always indirectly related to the stresses going on in my life. When things are hard, my dreams are worse. Taking care of myself in the day, changing my attitude to the problems I have, remembering how goddam awesome and capable I am, how valuable it is that I’m going through these difficulties and how I will definitely overcome them even if I don’t know how – all helps a little. And therapy and meditation. And chamomile tea.”
- “Remember to take a good Zinc supplement every other day coupled with a vitamin C tablet which will displace some of the shitty symptoms that having high copper brings. Check out Copper Toxicity. It’s all about finding what works for you.”
- “Check out this online sleep course that has different techniques for sleeping better: https://thesleepclinic.org.uk/ “
- I take passionflower extract before bed followed by spraying my body in magnesium spray (Just be aware, it hurts a bit at first). The passionflower is great for anxiety and slowing down your mind and the magnesium relaxes your muscles. Works well for me!”
- “I actually get night terrors as well, which are quite rare for an adult. I’ve learnt that the reason for them (personally) is stress, excitement, or generally your subconscious going OH HI HELLO IM AWAKE AND IM BUSY BUSY BUSY. Best thing I’ve found is try and relax as much as humanly possible before bed; turn off anything with blue light at least an hour before getting your head down, and try and deal with whatever it is that’s making your brain go a bit haywire. My GP actually put me on mild antidepressants which I took at night as it calmed my brain down whilst I was sleeping.”
- “When I was younger I used to have really bad nightmares. The main way I got through it was by really focusing on positive thoughts and essentially thinking of the things I wanted to dream of as I was falling asleep. I guess it was a form of meditation really!”
- I have experienced short periods of very vivid unbelievably graphic and terrifying nightmares – usually triggered by stressful life events. I cut out alcohol and caffeine, increased water intake and exercise and tried dream incubation techniques. I haven’t used it but Imagery Rehearsal Therapy is a similar self help visualisation technique which gets good press and is an alternative to further medication. I personally feel that knowing your enemy puts the waking mind in control, for example reading up on what you are experiencing. You might be interested to read How to Stop Having Nightmares by Victor Schoenfield and/or Banishing Night Terrors and Nightmares by Carranza and Rogers.”- Note: The Victor Schoenfield book is currently on Kindle Unlimited if you have an Amazon Prime account!
- “Lavender spray, or Deep Sleep Pillow Spray from ‘This Works!”
- “I’ve had night terrors since I was young. The only thing that stops them is guided meditation or listening to music or an episode of Friends to drift off to. For me it’s the silence that allows my overactive imagination to run wild.”
- “I used to have horribly violent nightmares until I stopped eating sugar at night. We used to have tea and chocolate biscuits so I changed to plain toast and it has worked for me. I still need to be careful though, wouldn’t risk it now, used to wake up exhausted!”
- “Have you tried Reflexology or massage? I’m biased, as a practitioner, but both are very helpful for relaxation of the nervous system (with massage simulating the brain wave lengths during sleep – they say an hours massage equals 8 hours sleep, I don’t quite buy it that much, but still think it’s good!) I’ve had a lot of success with patients for Reflexology – stimulating the endocrine system especially, plus both treatments are rather dreamy! Whatever you do chose a practitioner who is well qualified (there are so many levels) insured, and knows their stuff!”
- “Not sure how severe this has got but if it’s is just really bad nightmares I’d say TACKLE THE FEAR. Figure out what the dream means – how much is nonsense, what is just association (a film you watched/book you read etc) and what bit is giving you a clue to an unresolved issue or fear. (It’s not always obvious/direct correlation) But it’s so helpful if you can unravel it!”
PHWOAR. How’s that for a bank of banging tips to try to up your sleep sitch?! So what worked for me? Well, I changed the time of my medication, I now wear a sexy eye mask to bed and I spray my pillows with Lush’s Twilight Body Spray for some lavender scented slumber. I try and keep my bedroom as cool as possible because I am a HOT sleeper and can confirm that the highest thread Egyptian Cotton bed linen is really really worth the investment (maybe ask for a John Lewis Voucher or summin’ for your birthday. Wow I’m old.) I shove an audiobook in my ears (usually Harry Potter tbh, I know it so well, it’s like a comfort blanket for my brain), or one of the sleep stories on the Calm App- they’re specially developed to get more ‘boring’ as they go along, so you’re not hooked into the sexy details of a sinister thriller or anything whilst you’re trying to drift off.
But probably the most effective thing I’ve done is got pretty darn strict about no screens after 9pm. I read, shower, prep my lunch for the next day, and if me and my chap are feeling particularly raunchy, we play a board game or listen to a radio programme, podcast or audiobook together. Granted, this rule means I can never watch ‘Love Island’ live, but it does genuinely mean that come 10pm my eyes and brain aren’t all fizzy and stimulated. I still pop a Nytol every now and then but I’m pretty happy with how things are at the moment!
I hope this post helps you get your lovely 8 hours in the land of Nod! Also, if you are on any medications I would just double check with your GP before you introduce any new vitamins or supplements, just to be on the safe side!
K BYE ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ