My Adventures With Sleep (Why We Need to Be Aware Of Our Sleep Habits)

I’ve never been able to talk about my sleep patterns with much confidence. What are my ideal hours? Do afternoons naps help me? (Mostly no, but sometimes they help like crazy). Should I stretch before bed? Will hot milk really help me with a bout of insomnia? Truth be told, I’ve never been able to have any consistent results and therefore my answers keep changing.

My graduate school years witnessed months of a very stubborn insomnia that was probably provoked by school related anxiety. Alcohol and excess amounts of coffee only made things worse. I used good quality chamomile tea at that time of my life and found it to be mildly soothing. Years later, my biggest enemy to sleep is my phone. No matter how much I read about the terrible effects of staring at your phone into the wee hours of the morning, I just can’t get myself to let go of the phone. I am addicted to looking at social media until I start feeling groggy. I almost never wake up refreshed on the nights I have been excessively staring at my phone for hours.

Over the last year I have had life phases interfere with sleep in different ways : college drinking, graduate school coffee binging,  career anxiety, and finally to being a dog mom to two pooches while being a full time entrepreneur. All of these life circumstances have effected the way I sleep in different ways. Recently I sat down and really took stock of my body and my sensitivities.

I truly calculated the damage I had caused. Once you sit down and do this yourself, your initial response might be to freak out and try to do a bunch of healthy things all at one time. Don’t. This won’t be a sustainable plan. Instead try to figure out your own life patterns (past and present) that have created certain predicable results. For example, I know for a fact that if I switched off my phone at 10pm, I would be getting a full 8 hours of quality sleep. If I eat after 9 pm, I know I am going to toss and turn all night. Write your patterns down and be as honest as you can. This is not about solving all of them in one shot. It’s about being aware of them. That way when you come to a moment of choice, you actually feel more empowered because you know exactly how that choice is going to affect you. That means if I choose to eat a late dinner with friends, I know that it will cost me a few hours of sleep. I can then weigh the pros and the cons of it and make a decision.
Once we start making healthier choices and feeling better, you’ll notice a slow, gentle shift towards choices that ensure better sleep. So bring out the lavender oil, fluff up that pillow and get ready for better sleep every night. Let us know what your challenges have been when it comes to sleep. Do you have any unusual home remedies that have helped you get a better night of snoozing? We’d love to hear!