Insomnia…

For the past week or so I have been having a “sleep tight” tisane from T2 when I head to bed and read my book. And for the first time in living memory, I have been sleeping through the night. Some insomnia sufferers have trouble getting to sleep, some have trouble staying asleep – for me it’s always been both.

I can’t even capture in words what it means to have an un-broken sleep.. when you’ve had insomnia for as long as you can remember, you just get to a point where you never feel like you’ll be truly rested again.. you learn to get by.

You become somewhat of an expert at coping, by employing methods like meditation, no caffeine after 10am, cutting down alcohol, sympathetic yoga poses and the like… the elusive restful nights sleep requires a different concoction for every person – just as no two finger prints are the same, the path to restful sleep is unique.

After around 10 days of unbroken sleep, I think my recipe goes a little something like this:

 

Routine:
Go to bed at the same time every night, your body responds to routine and ‘winding down’ for sleep will become something your body automatically does, if you train it to do so.

 

Caffeine & alcohol:
Just don’t. As tempting as it is to pop 5mg of melatonin and knock it back with a glass of red wine to get to sleep – that blissful-ness of dropping off quickly isn’t worth the broken sleep to follow. You’re better to glide into sleep naturally, following your body’s rhythm, then to force the ‘drop’..
Likewise caffeine – do not be tempted to duck out for a triple shot flat white at 3pm to get you through an insanely busy time at work – you’re tired because you have too much work on, and your body is speaking to you. The tiredness is natural, propping yourself up with caffeine to get through is just punishing yourself in the long term.

 

Meditation:
If you can’t sleep – at least rest your mind. If you can’t rest it alone – find a guided meditation app: iTunes even has free ones…. it takes you away because you shift your intense focus to what they are saying, and you naturally, slowly, easily start to relax… white noise is also particularly good, I often fall asleep to a recording of rain..

 

Daydreaming:
If you’re relaxed but not quite ready to drop off… slip into a daydream… I often imagine I’m a character in one of my novels… or imagine that I’m in a beautiful place of solitude, a little haven of my own where I rest, relax, meditate, do yoga etc… I’ve imagined this place so intently I can now slip into it whenever I like… I play the rain track, imagine I’m there listening to the rain… And I slowly, naturally, drift to sleep..

 

Yoga:
A friend recently sent me a link to a supported yoga pose that really helps with insomnia, yoga in general is just the best friend of sleep and mindfulness. Get it in ya life.

 

Stress:
Some stresses you can cut out (like toxic people and environments that are negative for you) and some stresses you can ease but have to work through… wherever you can, try to cut stress out of your life, but also remember you are the master of your life and only YOU can control how you react to life’s trying times. Deep breaths, physically changing your state (ie actually getting up and walking away) and talking about your emotions can go a long way to keeping things in perspective. THIS TOO SHALL PASS.

 

Good food:
Your body responds to what you put it in and around…. so when it comes to food, be mindful of what you put in and around your mouth! Choose your nutrition with intent, make your food with love, and most of all, enjoy the pleasure of creating and experiencing good food. Juices, fresh vegetables, free-farmed meats, organic wherever possible, taste, flavour. Love your body and it will love you in return.

 

The biggest thing I’ve had to learn on the journey to restful sleep is to listen to my body… we’re not some machine that experiences the same inputs day in day out… our lives are in a constant state of flux, and the inputs and experiences we have change constantly… but sleep is like oxygen… we need it to live.. and the quality of our sleep effects our quality of life…

Listen to your body, be gentle with yourself. Stretch. Smile. Laugh. Sing. Lift your face to the sun. Dance in the rain. Be present. Dream beautiful dreams.

Regina Brett: 49 life lessons

Stumbled upon another great little piece of writing the other day and it made me smile… link is here.

49 life lessons
1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry because God never blinks.
16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.
17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.
18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.
19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, and then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone, everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
35. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
36. Growing old beats the alternative – dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.
38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
41. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
42. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
45. The best is yet to come.
46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
48. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
49. Yield.

(recently updated when Regina turned 50)

50. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.