My #1 sleep hack
I've always been known for being regimented about my sleep and sleeping very deeply (sometimes I'll still wake up completely diagonal in bed... sorry Eric!). But in the past few months, since getting on anxiety medication, I've experienced a very common problem: sleeplessness.
What happens most often is the following: I fall asleep easily around 10pm, but then wake up at around 2 or 3am. Usually I look at the clock to note what time it is, get up and go to the bathroom, pet Louie for a few minutes, then get back in bed, hoping it takes less than an hour to fall back asleep. This has happened on and off now for a while until I decided I needed a change.
And after some research and trying a few different methods, do you want to know what has helped the most? The thing that worked the most quickly and clearly surprised me! It was turning my alarm clock on it's head so that when I wake up I can't see the time.
Now when I wake up, I don't have a chance to look at what time it is and start worrying about how much sleep I'm losing and how few hours there are until I have to wake up. Plus, I used to think it helped to "reset my brain" by getting out of bed when I wake up, but I've been careful about going to bed with an empty bladder so that I don't have to get up, increase my heart rate, and be exposed to light. All this to say, if I wake up, I now fall back asleep probably within minutes.
If you struggle with sleeplessness, some other options to try are things that have probably contributed to my better sleep, they just didn't work as obviously as hiding my alarm clock. Here are some other strategies I've implemented (some I still do, some I tried and stopped):
- no caffeine after morning - little to no alcohol
- regular exercise
- drinking less liquids before bed
- sleeping with my phone in a different room
- lavender oil on my wrists, chest, behind my ears, and on my pillow case
- topical magnesium on my chest, torso and arms before bed (this seems to be a big help!)
Your quality of sleep is SO important to so many areas of your health and it's worth trying different small steps until you can figure out what works for you to get to sleep and stay asleep.