photo courtesy of https://frackfreedenton.com
What a glorious and sometimes elusive thing. We all need it. Almost none of us get enough of it. Some of us have had a life-long struggle finding even a little of it.
Of course we all know that stress, schedules, diet (particularly alcohol consumption), technology (blue light) can all effect how many or how little Zs we get.
photo courtesy of https://www.livescience.com
If you've been following us for a while, you know I've been fighting this demon since infancy. As much as I want to sleep, there are just periods in my life where it's hard. Really, really hard.
So what do I do? (In addition to all the conventional wisdom about reducing alcohol consumption; eliminating (yes, eliminating!) caffeine; creating a dark, cold room; wearing ear plugs to block out noises (like a snoring partner or a howling dog); wearing blue light-blocking glasses; etc.)
When I find myself restless, I have a few arrows in my quiver that I am quick to employ. (In no particular order)
I practice mindfulness. I know... it's whoo-whoo, but it helps quiet the monkey mind and when I focus on my breath, it automatically means that I'm not focusing on whatever else the monkey is trying to do. We talk about it a bit on the blog and the podcast because it really does help. And there are a lot of ways to approach it that are very approachable.
I practice gratitude. When you feel grateful, it's hard to also be stressed or worried. You don't have to write it dow, but be specific. Try to work past the "I'm thankful for my husband and my family." Yes, those are things you should be grateful for, why, specifically, are you thankful for them? "I'm thankful that my husband washed my car this weekend and takes such good care of our automobiles so we maintain their value as long as possible." It doesn't have to be super deep, but it does help to pinpoint. "I'm thankful that the waitress warned me there was gluten in the steak seasoning at dinner the other night so I wasn't sick." Again, a popular topic on the blog and the podcast because we believe a REAL life means being grateful for what you have.
I diffuse my "go the F to sleep" blend. For those of you that don't have young children in your lives might not get this reference. It's a book by Adam Mansbach and the audio reading by Samuel L Jackson is down-right, pee-your-pants funny. (However my MIL didn't think so much when I send the book to my niece - but really it was for a laugh for her parents, who were NOT sleeping much after her birth.)
I read. I read an ACTUAL BOOK - not on a phone or a tablet where the blue light can make restlessness worse. I have a yellow bulb in the lamp next to my bed so the golden light doesn't stimulate my brain to wake fully. The act of reading seems to work for me in two ways. 1. The act of moving my eyes when I'm tired seems to make me even more tired. 2. Immersing my brain into a story distracts it from whatever else is taking the main stage.
These techniques have been a HUGE help in recent years. Yes, there are some nights where I have to use more than one. And, yes, sadly, there are some nights where nothing works. Thankfully, I encounter these less than I used to. On those occasions, I have found that it's better to just get up and do something (a load of laundry; make a card; scrapbook; plan out the week's meals; etc.) rather than lie there and beat myself up about my inability to relax like normal-people. (I don't know why I do this, like it's a personal failure, but sometimes I just can't help it.) But at least, by checking a few things off my To-Do list, I can feel productive with my time.
Now it's your turn. Do you suffer from restless nights? If so, what techniques work for you? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.
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