5 Sleep Ideas For Spoonies With Busy Brains
I’m still running with my Plan B this week due to my brain fog. So for this post, I will revisit the topic of improving sleep. This is also a sneak peek at a project I have been working on to expand The Millennial Patient beyond just blog updates.
When I worked as a peer worker, I used to teach people about creating ‘tool boxes’ of things they can try when they feel stuck or need help. This way if you’re struggling with something you can use your ‘toolbox’ to help you through. When I get back on my feet, this will appear on a separate page to the blog, but I’m going to cheat a bit for now and release my first ‘toolbox’ as a blog post. Think of it as testing the water
This first tool box is specially made for those of us with busy brains that won’t let us get some rest. Why do all our life changing ideas or life and death concerns come when our heads hit the pillow?
Here are 5 sleep tools I use that you might like to try on those nights where your mind has other plans.
5 bedtime ideas to help you get to sleep when your mind is busy making other plans
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1. Lavender oil and diffuser
If you read any article about sleep hygiene, you will see that creating an inviting sleep environment is important. Before I even get into bed, I get my environment ready.
The worst part of insomnia for me is when you begin to develop sleep anxiety, and just the mere sight of your bed fills you with dread. For this reason, making my bedroom relaxing and inviting is my first priority
Lavender is known to have a calming effect and can also help aid headaches. It is widely used in many sleep products, my favourite way to apply lavender to my bedtime routine is through adding three or four drops to my aroma diffuser.
An electric diffuser with a sleep timer is my preferred choice for bedtime as they turn off on their own. You don’t have to worry about blowing out candles before going to sleep or open flames and oil in your room. They come with dim mood lighting in a variety of colours so you can still achieve soft lighting that a candle provides.
2. Bedtime yoga routine
Yoga has many relaxing and restorative poses which are perfect to get you in the right headspace to sleep. I used to practice my bedtime yoga routine on a mat in my room. I have started to move my practice onto my bed so I can transition straight into sleep.
There are many yoga sequences to choose from, I’ve added a link to one of my favourites here. I’ve since added a few of my favourite poses to this routine, such as happy baby, child’s pose and reclined goddess.
I use the Yoga Studio app by Gaiam which allows you to save your own custom classes to help guide me through my routine.
Find what works for you and make adaptations along the way. Pinterest has thousands of ideas and examples for bed yoga routines that you can try.
3. Yoga Nidra – Yogic Sleep
Yoga Nidra is also known as yogic sleep or guided relaxation. Yoga Nidra helps you achieve a deep state of relaxation.
I follow recorded classes from an online yoga studio called Yogaia. Live classes are available, but as I am in a different time zone to scheduled classes, I use the recorded sessions. If you’re fortunate enough to be in the same time zone, join in on the live classes, I highly recommend it. The live classes and the ability to interact with an instructor who guides your practice from home makes this program quite unique.
Even though I join the pre-recorded classes, each session feels different and personalised. The studio is set-up with candles and adds to the atmosphere of relaxation I’ve created for myself at home.
Generally, in meditation, you’re not meant to fall asleep, but that’s totally ok in Yoga Nidra. I fall asleep 3 times out of 5. If I don’t, it’s because I had a lot on my mind before bed time. On the occasions that I don’t fall asleep, I finish in a very relaxed state and typically drift off to sleep soon after.
Yogaia has a monthly subscription fee, so if you are looking for free Yoga Nidra recordings or guided meditations, you can find plenty on youtube.
* I practice yoga, but my knowledge of yoga principles is limited. If I’ve used any of the terminologies incorrectly my apologies. Corrections or suggestions to help with insomnia are welcome in the comments section.
4. Sleep with me Podcast – The podcast that puts you to sleep
Sleep With Me podcast is something I discovered while I was being taken off some medication that helped with my sleep. For anyone who has detoxed from any kind of drug, you would know that trying to sleep naturally without it is hell in the beginning.
I think it was 3 am one night and I had gone through every sleep app under the sun with no success. I used to use a thunderstorm sound app in the past, but that just wasn’t helping anymore. After two nights of no sleep, I started to explore podcasts to fill in time during those long agonising nights. This is where the Sleep With Me podcast came up as a recommendation in my feed.
The first night I listened to it I thought it was weird and the presenter’s droning voice annoyed me a bit.
On night two at 2 am, I went back to give it another try. It worked a treat and lulled me away into dreamland through a dull retelling of last night’s episode of game of thrones (game of drones). Now I listen to this podcast almost every night. On the nights I can’t sleep the podcast is like a friend in the deep dark night. Oh, and the presenter’s voice is not annoying. It’s become a comfort and a friend.
Sleep With Me is a free podcast with voluntary patronage available through Patreon.
Listening to music or podcasts in bed if you have a partner or need fully immersive sound means earbuds. Earbuds equal little nuggets of pain digging into your head, defeating the purpose of listening to something to help you sleep.
This is where SleepPhones have come to my rescue.
SleepPhones are a washable headband with soft, removable headphones inside. I purchased the Bluetooth model which is more expensive but means no cords to get tangled up in. Essential if you’re someone who tosses and turns a lot at night.
The only problem I have encountered so far is that if you are in a hot climate or a warm sleeper the headband on your head can make you feel even hotter. I’m so attached to being lulled to sleep by bedtime stories, though, I just started sleeping with the fan on in summer!
If you have your own sleep tools, please feel free to share them in the comments section below.
No remuneration was received for mentions and endorsements in this post, opinions are my own (just sharing the love 😊).