I recently posted “Powering down for the night” and talked about some of my issues with sleep. Well, being unable to sleep is not just an occasional problem that I have. Every night I get anxious around bedtime, wondering if I’ll be staring at the ceiling for hours on end. Worrying about whether or not I’ll sleep creates a vicious cycle, and I’ve started dreading the evening hours before bedtime.
Telling me to “be calm” and “clear my head” just makes it worse. Comments like those remind me that I can’t sleep, and it’s not that easy to fix. Trust me, I really wish it was. Nothing feels worse than being wide awake when my alarm rings and getting through a day on less than three hours of sleep.
However, I’m actively attempting to establish a healthier relationship with sleep. I’m trying natural remedies, and I’m being honest with myself and my fiance so that I can create a real solution.
I’m taking a 5-gram pill every evening around 8 p.m. (the same time that I’m shutting off my phone). Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by your brain to regulate your internal clock. Your body produces hardly any melatonin during the day, but as the light dims and evening begins, your body produces more. For some reason my body is failing to respond to its natural amounts of melatonin, so I’m adding more in! Melatonin supplements are natural and non-habit forming. They’re a great alternative to sleeping pills.
Sleep formula pills
Valerian root extract and hops are two main ingredients in these pills. Valerian and hops are natural herbs used to help people with anxiety, depression and insomnia; they relax your central nervous system. Who knew that hops were for more than beer!?
These pills also contain GABA — an amino acid which acts as a neurotransmitter. Like valerian root extract and hops, GABA also works to calm your central nervous system.
I take one of these pills along with a melatonin pill every evening. Shortly after I take one, a feeling of calmness settles over me, and I find it easier to get that drowsy feeling needed for me to fall asleep. These pills are a great addition to the melatonin pills because melatonin alone was never enough for me. Since the herbs in these pills help calm, it’s easier for me not to worry about sleep after popping one. As a bonus, they don’t leave me feeling groggy in the morning — I’m up at 5 a.m. and ready to workout without a problem! Traditional sleeping pills always left me feeling groggy, and I started to crave them after a few nights; I haven’t had an issues craving the Mr. Health pills.
I’m very aware of my unhealthy relationship with sleep, and I’m aware that anxiety plays a big role in my inability to relax in the evenings. I’m doing my best to be kind to myself when I can’t drift off. I know that getting upset won’t make my problem any easier, but in the moment, it can be easy to give in to the anger and frustration that I feel. I have to step back some nights and remember not to blame myself.
I know that I have a problem, and I know that I’m taking steps to solve my problem. I’m doing all that I can do, so I can’t be upset with myself.
Openness and communication with loved ones
My poor fiance sleeps next to me, and I’ve kept him awake many nights. Luckily, he’s the most patient man in the world, and he’s willing to help. I’ve sat down with him, and we’ve discussed what steps he can take to help me.
We don’t talk about serious topics before bed. Instead, we come together to relax in the evenings, talking about our days and watching our TV shows. He’ll rub my back, legs and feet to calm me down at night; he makes me move from the couch to the bed when he sees me falling asleep; he opens the window to keep our room cool even though he likes to sleep piled under blankets; he sets our morning alarm on his phone so that I can have mine off in the evenings.
I know that I can’t control all the environmental factors in my space when I live with another person, but having him on the same page as me is essential to creating the calm, relaxing environment that I need.