If you’ve ever had sleep paralysis then you’ll know it’s the worst experience ever. It’s where your mind is awake but your body is still asleep, so essentially you’re paralysed. I would panic, thinking I couldn’t breath and then finally when I was able to move, I was scared to fall asleep again. I grew out of that eventually but continued to have nightmares every night, so when my husband confirmed that I was legit possessed, kicking and punching him in my sleep I realised I needed to do something about it. So here are my sleeping tips for bad sleepers:
Avoid dairy after dinner
I discovered that ice-cream and yoghurt made me snore and google told me that eating cheese and chocolate at night caused nightmares so apart from the occasional Tim Tam, I cut out dairy after dinner.
I don’t own an Ipad and we are a no-TV-in-the-bedroom kinda family. My Iphone screen goes on night mode at 7pm and I stop looking at it completely at 9pm.
Have a notepad next to the bed
I used to constantly wake at night worrying about work, by having a notepad and pen next to the bed I could write down what I needed to do the next day and go back to sleep.
Stop drinking alcohol
I’m pretty convinced this was the holy grail in resolving my sleep issues.
Get more sleep
OK so you might be thinking how do I get more sleep when the issue is I can’t sleep? Well you’ve most probably heard the saying ‘sleep promotes sleep’ which is true. Try to go to bed earlier, even if you don’t try to sleep straight away, you can read or write a gratitude list or meditate.
Set an alarm
If you have something on the next day then set an alarm, even if you don’t need to be somewhere until 12pm. You don’t want to wake up in a panic thinking you’ve slept in, only to discover it’s 5am.
Get your own doona
I have to sleep with something covering me, even in summer. In winter I need to be wrapped up in a cocoon, my husband does too so we stopped stealing the doona from each other and just use one each. Problem solved.
I read somewhere that if you wake at night needing to go to the toilet then it’s a sign your body needs to cool down. If you’re cold getting into bed then get in to bed with layers and then take them off once you’re warm and ready to sleep.
Night time ritual
A bedtime routine is important for babies but it’s also important for adults. I do the same thing every night without fail. Before I got pregnant with Will I used to have a cup of herbal sleep tea before bed each night which I loved but make sure it’s caffeine free.
My husband isn’t a fan of white noise but if we sleep in the same room as Will then we always have it on heavy rainfall. I fall asleep much quicker and sometimes don’t even remember waking in the night.
Drink water early in the day
I used to drink most of my water in the afternoon and wake up busting to go to the toilet. Too lazy to actually get up, I would just wake every sleep cycle until morning when I couldn’t hold off any longer. Since the wellness challenge started I have drunk most of my water in the morning so getting up at night isn’t an issue anymore.
I read somewhere that phone signals and wifi interupt your brain waves so I put my phone on aeroplane mode every night. Pete doesn’t but I’m convinced that the phone being on his side of the bed means only his brain waves are affected.
I pretend I’m walking on a winding path, surrounded by various landscapes until I get to a magical garden where I get into a hot spring and relax. I take the journey really slow and now it’s part of my bedtime routine, I fall asleep quickly.
Tense & Relax
Tense and then relax every muscle in your body. Start at your toes, then feet, then ankles, then calves, then thighs, all the way up your body, through your arms and to your head.
Instead of stressing or worrying about things, try practicing gratitude. Think of 10 things that happened during the day to be grateful for.
I’m obsessed with Real Estate, particularly what kind of mansion I’m going to buy when I win the lottery. Similar to the meditation, I do a walk through of my dream home.
I read my kindle every night before sleep, sometimes I only get one or two pages and then I have to turn it off. When I was younger I used to stay up most of the night reading so be careful because this could be counter productive.
No caffeine after 12pm
Cut out coffee, caffeinated teas, soft drinks and chocolate. Read up on Sarah Moore’s post to find out how long caffeine stays in your system.
I was hesitating whether to mention this but when I was younger Valerian worked for me and in later years I took magnesium. It was probably all the placebo effect but worth a try if you’re desperate.
Get professional help
If all else fails then consult your GP. You may need a psychologist or a sleep clinic.