My husband has been traveling for work this week so I have been very busy trying to get everyone to school on time, making every meal, transporting my treasures to all their after school activities, and trying to be productive myself at work. My house is a mess but everyone is seemingly happy and alive so that is good. My only struggle this week has been my sleep. The first night Jeff was gone one of our dogs kept me up all night as she was on and off the bed several times (yes…our dogs sleep with us…it’s not my choice) looking for him. The second night both kids snuggled in to bed with me at different times trying to escape nightmares and so I shared my bed with two dogs and two kids and didn’t sleep well again. Last night, I collapsed into bed early and found myself awake a few times on my own. I don’t recall having nightmares but each time I was awoken suddenly with unsettled feelings that kept me from dozing back to sleep easily.
Sleep is important. It is a natural phenomenon that takes over our bodies and minds at night. It’s a mysterious part of our life, especially for how much we do it. I like to think of it almost as a journey we embark on every night and magically we have no memory of where we go, what we think, or what we’ve seen once we wake up. It’s also something most of us never see ourselves doing either. After all, you can’t exactly take a selfie while you sleep.
When I used to hear about people being tortured by using sleep deprivation methods I never considered the affect that could have on someone until I myself was tortured by my inability to sleep. At one point my nightmares were so awful and consistent that I even found myself afraid of sleeping…fast forward not very far and I was hospitalized. Sleep is so important and for someone like me, living with PTSD, it can be very illusive.
So let’s talk about sleep hygiene today and in particular my sleep hygiene routine. Over the last two years I have tried so many different sleep supplements and tools and I think I have a great method down. So for all of you insomniacs out there – this one is for you!
First off, knowing I haven’t slept well the last few nights would usually create a lot of anxiety for me today but I am at a point in my healing journey that I am able to recognize that just because I haven’t slept well lately doesn’t mean my day will be bad today or that I won’t sleep tonight either. It is past. I can now reassure myself that I am okay and tonight I will sleep great. This is a mental hoop to jump through but I found that once I got through it my anxiety over sleep loss went away.
I am linking all the products I use here for you and I am not sponsored (yet) by any of these companies so I am not being paid to preach the effectiveness of their goods, in fact I pay good money for all of these tools because I believe in them!
I usually start winding down at 7:00 with a cup of caffeine-free hot tea. I have two favorite herbal teas that I reach for; Yogi Kava Stress Relief Tea and Yogi Bedtime Tea.
As I sip my spicy and soothing tea I reach for my Jigsaw Magnesium tablets. I am a huge supporter of taking magnesium but be careful with other supplements on the market. This particular supplement was created with a slow release technology that your body can absorb without creating stomach upset. Don’t run to the grocery store right now and buy a cheaper magnesium supplement because you will pay for it dearly tomorrow!
If I have had a stressful day I hop in an Epsom salt bath and I apply some essential oils down my spine, on the bottoms of my feet, and my ears. I usually have a conversation with myself about how I am feeling and then I am able to decide on which oils to grab. I use Doterra oils. For sleep I love the Serenity Blend and Vetiver mixed together. I diffuse them in my room too. I often use frankincense for sleep as well. There are many different oils you can use for sleep and these aren’t the ones I started with but over time I’ve tried so many and have found these work best for me.
Sometimes I use CBD oil before bed as well and it was especially helpful when I was suffering withdrawals from Klonopin. I obtain my CBD oil from my naturopath and recommend you see a naturopath before buying something like this online. CBD oil is derived from the cannabis plant which has amazing healing properties. Unlike THC (the mind-altering ingredient in cannabis), CBD doesn’t affect your state of mind and offers many health benefits. Medical News Today - Everything You Need to Know About CBD Oil
This is getting long I know but I promise it doesn’t take too much time to do.
Once I am in bed and if it’s been a long day I love to snuggle in to my Recovr Blanket. My husband harassed me for weeks leading up to Christmas about what I wanted and I had been eyeballing similar blankets online but none of them looked as soft and pretty as these! There is scientific evidence that weighted blankets help those with sensory issues, insomnia, anxiety and depression. Let me tell you how wonderful this 20 pound blanket feels when you curl up underneath it – it is like a warm hug and it sends me right off to restful sleep. I can’t sing enough praises about this blanket I am just sad it’s too heavy to drag around all day like I did with my baby blanket!
About this time I dive into my sleep drawer right next to my bed and grab my Insomnitol and chew down two tablets. This supplement contains 5-HTP (which I used to take on its own), melatonin, L-theanine, and other calming herbs. Obviously I am not a doctor so I would recommend you speaking to your trusted physician before taking this but considering the side effects I had with sleeping pills and other medications that I was taking for sleep and that I have had none with Insomnitol I think proves that this will be my go to sleep supplement for life.
In my sleep drawer I also have head phones. I do try and limit my phone time at night because of the blue light and how it can affect my circadian rhythm (Scary Ways Technology Affects Your Sleep) but sometimes I need to meditate so I grab my phone. There are many meditation apps out there and I have tried several but none is better than the Insight Timer app and it’s free. I also use these in the middle of the night when I’m struggling to get back to sleep and my kids love them too! Here are a few meditations that send me right off to dream land.
Yoga Nidra for Sleep
Peaceful Sleep Meditation
Deep Sleep Guided Mediation
Now that I have talked your ear off about sleep I bet you are ready to nod off yourself! Anyway, if you are struggling with sleep try some of these tips and let me know what you think and if you want to share a new tool with me I would love to hear from you!
This next link is a guide for those of you with PTSD who are suffering from sleep issues. You are not alone.
A Guide to PTSD and Sleep
On that note – I am off to catch some z’s myself! Good Night!!