Let’s talk about Sleep!

Hello world! It’s been a bit since I’ve been a-blogging. Truth is, I haven’t had much energy to do so. I am also fighting a severe cold (thanks, Abby). I have problems falling asleep and staying asleep. I have had these problems ever since I can remember.  So, since I cannot think of anything else to talk about today, let’s talk about sleep. The general recommended amount of sleep recommended is around eight hours, who actually gets 8 hours of sound sleep?

Turns out insomnia is very common, and their are different kinds of insomnia, resulting  from a number of factors including stress, environment, and the type of prescriptions a person takes. I haven’t been formally diagnosed with insomnia, but I know that I have it, and that my mental illness causes it. I am stark awake at night and when I do fall asleep, I wake up at least once in the wee hours of the day for no reason. As a matter of fact, I sleep better during the day: It is easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.

The research that I’ve done on insomnia says that over the counter sleeping pills should not be used on a regular basis- this is true. I have taken melatonin, Zquil, and Unisom interchangeably, and I’ve noticed some side effects including waking up earlier and earlier (like an hour after I fall asleep). They lose their effectiveness over time, so I am trying to avoid sleeping pills overall, unless it’s 5 am and I still can’t fall asleep (this has happened). My doctor actually prescribed a certain anxiety medication to me to take at night because of it’s common side effect of drowsiness (shall I go back to my last mental illness discussion?). In fact, another side effect to this medication is in fact, insomnia. So, to summarize, I will never sleep.

insomnia

Truth.

If you are having trouble sleeping, here are some tips:

  • Two words, black-out curtains.
  • If you are glued to your phone or computer all hours of the day, try installing a blue light filter. For my phone, I have the Twilight app and for my computer, I have f.lux: both applications can sync up with sunset based on where you are, and gradually change the screen to emit less blue light. For those who don’t know, blue light basically signals your brain that it is daytime, so you should be and stay awake.
  • Don’t eat dinner too late.
  • Drink tea- chamomile, mint, lemongrass, lavender, anything without caffeine. Here is my favorite night time tea.
  • Take more baths! They have numerous benefits, along with calming properties. Plus if you use bath bombs, they are super fun!
  • Listen to white noise, or environment sounds. Speaking of…
  • There’s this thing called ASMR. Its a calming sensation one gets when listening to certain sounds. Trust me, it may sound weird, but watching ASMR videos help me every night, tremendously. They help with anxiety, stress, insomnia and more. Watch this video with earphones for a little introduction to this phenomenon (here is longer version). I dare you do try watching this or this before bed and staying awake through the whole thing. I may write a whole post on ASMR some day because a lot of people don’t know what it is and/or don’t understand it. These videos really do help!
  • Keep a regular sleep schedule.
  • Sleeping pills like Zquil help, but don’t make a habit of taking them every night! Melatonin is a natural alternative, but takes longer to take effect.
  • Apparently if you exercise it helps, I’ve never done it though, and never will (on a regular basis).
  • Have the comfiest mattress, blankets and pillows possible! Also, may I add, a few plush animals help too!
  • Take an hour before bed to wind down: have a bedtime ritual, read a book, do some yoga or meditation, pet your puppy, watch some ASMR videos (seriously, try it).
  • It also helps to reduce lighting at night.
  • Keep your room cool.
  • Cut the caffeine and alcohol by mid afternoon.
  • Try not to drink too much water before bed.

Finally, see a doctor if sleeplessness gets to be a normal occurrence. I hope you try at least one of these tips!

I should take my own advice.

Here are some more resources:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/home/ovc-20256955 

http://www.rd.com/health/conditions/causes-of-insomnia/ 

http://inhealth.cnn.com/article/insomnia-facts 

https://sleep.org/

 

Happy sleeping everyone!

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