If you read my last blog post, you know I’m a morning person … suggesting that I’m most likely not a night owl. Well, I’m here to confirm with all of you that I am not, in fact, a night owl – not even close. If I’m awake past 10:30-11 p.m., it’s either my best friend’s wedding or something is terribly wrong.
As much as I love the early morning, I love sleep even more. In my opinion, a good night’s sleep (along with a solid sweat and some chocolate) can cure almost anything, including an anxious mind.
I’ll never understand those who say, “you can sleep when you’re dead!” Like, NO. STOP. I need sleep; you need sleep; we ALL need sleep!
Really though, sleep is so important for our physical and mental health. Research shows that depriving your body of the sleep it needs is just as harmful as not exercising and can even be as harmful as drunk driving.
While I’m a self-proclaimed “good sleeper” most of the time, I do struggle some nights. Having anxiety, there are evenings when I just can’t turn my mind off – my racing thoughts make it difficult to fall and sometimes stay asleep. I’ve tried many things on these sleepless nights, and have found a five holistic methods that help me to get at least 6 hours, if not 7-8!
- STOP THE EMAILS: These days, iPhones make it nearly impossible to simply stop working once the clock strikes 5 p.m. Being Type-A and all, it’s hard for me to ignore that little red number indicating unread messages on the email app. I used to answer emails until I fell asleep pretty much, but have recently set a boundary to not check my emails after 6:30PM on weeknights. If my boss needs me for anything urgent, he knows he can text or call.
- Wind (and wine) down: I’m a go-go-go kind of person, so it’s crucial for me to actually put effort into winding down. Sounds ironic, I know, but I have my ways! Reading, journaling, or yes, even a glass of wine (or two), all help me to unwind and to calm my mind. I recently discovered Dry Farm Wines, which are organic, gluten-free and sugar-free wines. If you enjoy wine, I highly recommend trying some out!
- Take magnesium: This is a relatively new discovery for me. I take magnesium about 30-45 minutes before bed and it helps tremendously. Studies show that maintaining healthy magnesium levels can lead to deeper, more sound sleep. Also, magnesium deficiency has been associated with higher levels of stress and anxiety, so this is an amazing supplement to take for most of us. As you know, I work for a supplement company, so I take this one.
- Essential oils: Ah, I love essential oils. I use them to clean, to simply freshen up the house and to relax in the evenings. Lavender essential oil is known for its calming effect, making it a natural sleep aid. I rub a lavender and clary sage oil on my chest at night, and also diffuse lavender by the bed – even my pup loves it!
- Guided meditation: I’m not the best meditator, but I recently discovered the app Insight Timer and its guided meditations are so good! This is my “if all else fails” trick, and it usually works.
Of course, not every night is the same. Some evenings, I pass out on the couch watching The Bachelor (don’t judge – it’s my guilty pleasure!) and don’t need to do any of these things. Some evenings, I need to take all of these steps in order to get a good snooze.
I cannot emphasize enough how important a good night’s sleep is to mental health. If I’m running on empty, my anxiety spikes significantly – so, I do my best to avoid sleepless nights.
And honestly, what’s better than snuggling into bed after a long day? (Oh, if anyone is wondering, my fiancé, 65-lb dog and I all share a queen-sized bed.)
Do you have trouble sleeping? If so, what steps do you take to make sure you get your rest?