Other than a bit of sleep paralysis (when your mind wakes up but your body can’t move). And a hint of inherited sleepwalking, I’ve never had trouble sleeping. As in, I have always been ready to go to sleep. Fall asleep and wake up and shine like a jolly camper. Then I got pregnant with my son (now 2.5 years old), Fox. The sleep problems started with having to urinate more than 8 times a night in my first trimesters. Then, as I got closer to term, I would wake up wondering if the baby was okay; When you are pregnant, you supposedly feel the baby move a minimum of 10 times in an hour, so during the night when I was still, I could put a little pressure on my belly until I feel the baby move. (Little did I know, my new mom’s anxiety was probably setting us up for sleep problems by regularly waking my fetus to feel it move.)
Once Fox was born, we woke up every 45-90 minutes for a whole year. Lately, we’re ready to wake up just once or twice a night, but even when he miraculously gets a full night’s sleep or once I send him to stay with my parents for a sleepover, insomnia still hits me (which feels unfair beyond of words). I used to read Ariana Huffington’s book Thrive a year ago and once I had to read the chapter on prioritizing sleep, I couldn’t help crying. “Who would voluntarily give up sleep for something like their job? WTF? “I wanted to yell at the pages and tell Mrs. Huffington, ‘I’d prioritize sleep if I could.’
But this is the deal. I am a boss. I even have work to try and I have a life to measure. While several of my sleep issues are beyond my control, there are still many things I can do to combat sleep deprivation and prioritize my health accordingly. So if you recognize all the tips and tricks (turn off electronics, no TV in the bedroom, lavender oil, etc.) but you’re still not sleeping well, here are five ways I’ve tried to stay healthy despite from being chronically tired:
If You’re Not Sleeping Well at Least Eat Well
Sleep is fuel, so if you don’t have access to at least eight hours a night, you’d like to stock up on nourishing and life-giving foods. Eliminate any process and frying from your diet, choose more veggies, and stay super hydrated. I prefer to eat more paleo style (grain-free, dairy-free, alcohol-free, sugar-free) and I specialize in consuming quality protein and vegetables when I am especially sleep-deprived.
Relax on Your Workouts and Focus on Recovery
Exercising can be non-negotiable on my behalf. It keeps me sane and I just love pushing my body to its limits. But stress is stress, and dealing with stress can be a huge stressor on your body. Choose gentler workouts like yoga, barbell, or maybe hiking. Check your ego and lift a lighter touch next time. Once you’re out of sleep, you’re not giving your body a chance to properly get through hard workouts, so be sure to give your muscles and nervous system a fighting chance when prioritizing recovery. Take Epsom salt baths, go to the sauna (followed by a long cold shower), get a massage, try the foam roller. Your body will thank you very much. PS Don’t force yourself to wake up at 5 a.m. if you already have a lack of sleep!
Eliminate Unnecessary Decision-Making
All-day I have to make decisions like a kind of boss. But ask me what’s for dinner and I’ll be a neurotic mess. That’s what decision fatigue looks like on my behalf. So I eliminate any need for unnecessary brain power by using an equivalent thing a day, planning my meals. And having reliable habits, routines, and systems for getting work and life done.
Try Yoga Nidra
When you hear the word “yoga,” you might consider the postures and movements you perform on a mat during a yoga study. But yoga Nidra, which suggests “yogic sleep”, is completely different from yoga with postures or asanas. It’s more of a kind of deep relaxation technique where you “dive in” but remain fully conscious (okay, sometimes I fall asleep doing this). Oftentimes, it’s great to try it in the afternoon on the leu of a cat nap. And a yogi friend of mine once told me that 20 minutes of yoga Nidra is like a full hour of already dark sleep. You’ll try guided yoga Nidra meditations on YouTube or maybe Spotify.
Stop Freaking Out About Not Sleeping
Excessive stress from not sleeping will not make you sleep anymore and, in some cases, will keep you awake! this is often the most challenging step on my behalf, and I even needed a little “> a little medical help (a combination of medication + therapy) to release some anxiety and resentment, for not keeping a journal can be a good way to unload a series of thoughts that are running around your head in the dark – try freaking out on paper then let it go.
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