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6 Tips for Better Sleep!

Hello everyone!

I hope you’re all doing well!

Though saying that it seems that many of you may not be feeling your best, hence todays topic!

Now, running a blog detailing the trials and tribulations of trauma and mental health talking about sleep problems is pretty common and I couldn’t tell you how many sleep tips I have dished out over the years. Lately though I have had an increase in questions regarding sleep and mainly due to the uncertainty that Covid-19 has brought to all our lives.

Lots of our lives and routines have dramatically changed this year. Lots of people have lost their jobs or are having to work from home, school routines have changed and with that a lot of our sleep routines have changed.

I know when lockdown first started for me and I was unsure of what my work routine would look like, I found myself up late watching Tiger King. (I know!) I have tried to be very good with my sleep routine over the years and mainly due to using it to support good mental health, but for those first few weeks it just went out of the window and I had to really put that routine back in place again because I quickly realised that it wasn’t good for me.

Sleeping well is something that many don’t think of as important or we only seem to think of it when we’re not getting any of it at all! It really depends on the individual and from person to person but research suggests we should be getting between 7 and 9 hours sleep per night. Any less than that and it can effect how we learn, our memory, out concentration and even our safety especially when it comes to things like driving a car.

For a long long time I didn’t get anywhere near that amount of sleep and its only been about 5 or so years that I have been actually getting a proper night sleep. I remember from a young child my sleep always being very all over the place. I used to have a lot of night terrors and very strange dreams which I still remember to this day.

Around the time of leaving school and my abuse at home getting worse I only really slept when I had been up that long that I would just crash and it would be at all times of the day and night. I used to sleep with my bed behind my door quite often and I was just too frightened to go to sleep so it was just this fight of staying awake. Then growing up and leaving my abusers care I seemed to battle even more with sleep. My OCD prevented me from getting to bed and then when I did get to bed I was again having these incredibly tense night terrors due to my PTSD.

One of the main things that helped me with my sleep was obviously to work on my mental health disorders, better my mental health and also make sure I was in a safe place that allowed me to heal.

There are some little tips and things that I’ve learnt through my journey in terms of sleep though and I thought I would share some with you today!

Having a sleep routine

I feel like sleep routine sounds very almost ‘child like’ because I guess it’s what you have to create for children but it is just as important for us! Having that time at the end of the day to wind down instead of going from a busy hectic day and getting into bed and hoping to fall asleep.

An hour or so before bed start winding down. No more checking emails, calendars or whats happening the following day. Your main focus needs to be slowly winding down and getting ready to go to sleep.

Limit electronics and devices

There are lots of key things to remember to include in your sleep routine and limiting devices before bed is one of them. I know it’s so easy to aimlessly scroll especially whilst you’re waiting to go to bed, but its important if you’re struggling with sleep to try and limit that as much as you can. Wether thats the television, tablets or your phone try and turn them off or turn your notifications off 1-2 hours before you go to sleep.

There is usually a setting on most phones now which allows you to change the display to a warmer or cooler tone. Research shows that blue tones tend to trigger alertness and more orange or yellow tones tend to trigger calm. Its something that you can try but If you are really struggling with your sleep though it is best to just turn those devices off.

Instead, read a book, do some colouring or even run yourself a bath!

Exercise

I talked a bit in my last post about exercise and how important it is to me and its also important to me for sleep as well.

Something I noticed during the first few weeks of lockdown is that I was actually up watching Tiger King because I just wasn’t tired enough to go to bed. Though I work from home and have done for some time now I usually balance that with going to the gym and exercising but the gyms had all closed and I hadn’t really got into a routine of working out from home. Our time outside had been limited so Lolas walks were really short and I was just going round the block with her, I wasnt exercising and I was working from home just sat at my desk. Once I started exercising and doing little exercise programmes at home I slept so much better and was back going to sleep at a normal time for me.

If you arent a gym goer or your gyms are still closed there are lots of great workouts on YouTube to try or just going for a good walk will do the trick!

(Just remember to not exercise too close to bed time in the hope of falling asleep because it may have the opposite effect. Exercising in the morning or early evening is perfect.)

EXERCISING FOR A BETTER NIGHT SLEEP –
⇢ The Body Coach
Watch Here

⇢ Yoga with Adriene
Watch Here

⇢ Kyra Pro
Watch Here

Caffeine

Research suggests that you should avoid caffeine 5-6 hours before going to bed. Even reducing caffeine consumption throughout that day has shown that it improves sleep dramatically. It stays in our bodies for a long time and makes it incredibly difficult for us to wind down and go to sleep.

Lots of people also believe that alcohol will help them sleep better, but it in fact does the opposite!

Meditation

There is so much I could mention on meditating for a goodnight sleep!

Right now we are all dealing with lots of uncertainty. You may be struggling with uncertainty due to personal things going on in your personal life or the uncertainty with Covid-19. So many of us are in and out of lockdown going up and down levels and its having a great impact on all of us.

Meditating teaches us to be in the present moment and not worry about uncertainty and whats happening in the world.

There are some amazing apps and videos on YouTube on meditating for a better night sleep!

MEDITATING FOR A BETTER NIGHT SLEEP –

⇢10-Minute Meditation For Sleep
Watch Here

⇢ Rain storm sound for relaxation
Watch Here

⇢ Calm App
Download Here

Music

Now i know i have talked a lot about quiet time and winding down but i wanted to feature this especially for those who are maybe in a difficult or unsafe situation or struggling with their mental health.

Music used to help me a lot. When i was in my abuse I used to have the My chemical romance album ‘I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love’ album on repeat. I had it on all day and all night and it was almost this safety blanket for me. Though my sleep was very all over the place that album was almost a comfort for me and left me feeling safe enough to fall asleep sometimes.

Now when i left my abusers care and still struggled with sleep i didn’t really play that album much because I guess it was sort of associated with that, but i still used music to help me sleep.

I actually used to play The Album leaf but with a rain track over it that I used to find on YouTube. There are actually lots of great post hardcore bands to help wind down before bed and help you sleep The Album Leaf, Explosions in the sky, God is an Astronaut to name a few!

If you are really into your music and feel it helps you a lot in other parts of your life I would definitely try it. I absolutely love the rain which is why I used to put that over it but alone it will help you relax.

MUSIC FOR A BETTER NIGHT SLEEP –

⇢ The Album Leaf
Listen Here

⇢ God is An Astronaut
Listen Here

⇢ Explosions in the Sky
Listen Here

I hope you have enjoyed this post and that the tips may help you sleep a little better. I know how you’re feeling with those sleep struggles and it can be incredibly difficult. Im actually going to be covering quite a bit more on sleep because I am receiving so many comments and messages from people saying they’re struggling with it at the moment.

Take care and look after yourselves!

 

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