I’m a vicious cycle kind of girl.
Stop it right now! I know you’re getting jealous. You’re thinking you want to be just like me so you can be a vicious cycle kind of girl too. I know it, trust me. I’ve been dealing with the envy since I was a little ol’ teenager.
I’d get to school and one of my friends would fake a yawn and exclaim how she was “sooo tired”! Then someone else would announce, “I know! It took me like 15 minutes to fall asleep last night! I didn’t think it was ever going to happen!”.
Ummm yeah, that sounds like heaven. It’s always boggled my mind how someone could complain about taking 15, 20 or even 45 minutes to fall asleep! I’ve read magazine articles that say if you aren’t asleep in 15 minutes, you should get up and do something and then come back and try again.
Honestly, I spent years… YEARS… where it would take me 2-4 hours to fall asleep. Yes, hours. And therein lies my vicious cycle. I would go about 2 or 3 weeks with this kind of sleep pattern. Late to bed since I’m a night owl, hours to fall asleep, being forced awake by my alarm clock in the middle of my REM sleep and then wandering through my days not feeling the best until I would get knocked out by a migraine. I’d curl up in a dark room in the fetal position for a couple days where I did nothing but sleep and when I emerged, I’d start the pattern all over again.
I told you all to be jealous.
BUT… there’s a happy ending to my story! I’ve gotten a bit better at figuring out my triggers and how to avoid this. I’m still not the best sleeper… by far… but I’ve found some things that work for me! Some are going to sound downright obvious. They’re things that I used to roll my eyes at when people would suggest them, because it just didn’t seem like they could make that much of a difference, but they really do work! Cliches are usually cliches for a reason… they’re proven correct over the test of time! I’m not a doctor a nurse… just a regular old insomniac sharing some things that have worked for me!
10 Tips & Tricks to Get the Heck to Sleep!
1) Turn off the screens! It really does make a difference! I turn off all screens about 45 minutes before I go to bed, including putting my cell phone in the kitchen. I used to put my phone on my night stand and claim it was for security. Even though I didn’t check it through the night, that little blue light going off constantly was keeping me awake.
2) Get a hot shower at night. I used to be a complete morning shower girl. I never used to come out of my bedroom until I was showered and ready for the day. I think I actually needed the shower to wake up! But I gradually started switching to a hot shower right before I go to bed and it relaxes my entire body and makes me SO tired!
3) Drink water after 5:00 p.m. Alright, you caught me. There’s no real scientific reason I wrote that time… I just felt like I needed a specific time. The more important point is to put any other liquid down! I’m not a coffee girl, but I do like a diet soda a bit too frequently. Not sure why I thought I was immune to caffeine, because it definitely was not helping me in the evenings. Even beer or wine makes it harder for me to fall asleep.
4) This one is harder for me, but I try to only eat fruit in the evenings. I’m a total sweets nut, and could totally eat a cheesecake drenched in ganache each night, but I’m getting old and apparently I’m not immune to heartburn. Eating a banana instead makes me SO much more comfortable! Plus in addition to eliminating the heartburn, the potassium in the banana is good for leg twitches which have also been known to keep me up at night! Double win!
5) Exercise! Duh, right? It really does work. Exercise and your entire body becomes healthier, including sleeping better.
6) Use Lavender right before bedtime. I’ve done this a few different ways over the years, but normally it’s just a few drops in a hot shower. I’ve also been known to put a few drops of lavendar oil in a humidifer and let it fill up the whole room!
7) Read a book! I can’t even begin to tell you what a difference this makes! Can somebody explain to me why this works so well?? Even if I only read for 15 minutes, it just flips a switch and I automatically fall asleep faster!
8) This might sound goofy, but if I’m having an extra hard time falling asleep, I chant “sleep” in my head. Over and over again. I just lay there and silently chant, “sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep…”. I think the trick for this is, it forces me to not think about anything else. I can’t make to-do lists, I can’t re-hash the day, I can’t mentally plan my grocery list… I can’t think about anything else, but saying one word over and over again is monotonous enough that it puts me to sleep.
9) Go to bed earlier! Remember when I said I was a night owl?? Yeah, I’m not too good at trusty ol’ #9 here. I can’t think of the last time I went to bed before 11:00. It’s not uncommon for me to be up until 1 or 2 a.m. BUT, and it’s a big but, I always have a harder time falling asleep the later I go to bed. You’d think it would be the opposite and you’d be so tired by then that you would pass out, but it just doesn’t work that way.
10) Don’t be hesitant to take a sleep aid to help you get back on your normal sleep cycle! I might need it more often than others, but I think lots of people (even normally good sleepers), can get their schedules out of whack and need a lttle extra help getting back on the correct cycle! I recently started taking ZzzQuil for just this reason and it’s worked perfectly! I take it for 3 or so days until I notice I’m getting back on track and then I’m good for the next couple weeks! It works perfectly and does just what it’s designed to do- help you get your sleeping back on track without being habit-forming! It’s from the makers of Vicks NyQuil, which is reassuring to me because I’m a total scaredy cat when it comes to some medications. But I need this. My life is busy enough that going through the vicious cycles of my teens and early 20’s just isn’t an option anymore. With ZzzQuil, I wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day!
What are your tricks to getting to sleep fast and staying asleep? Have you given ZzzQuil a try yet?
Give ZzzQuil a try and let us know about your experience by tweeting with the hashtag #ZzzQuilNight or by telling them on Facebook!