Is lack of sleep affecting you?
Are you able to fall asleep but wake up and then can’t get back to sleep? Or are you exhausted and go to bed only to lie awake tossing and turning for what seems like the entire night?
When people are going through challenging times in their lives getting enough sleep is often an issue. There are so many reasons that people can’t sleep such as a pregnant women who can’t find a comfortable position to sleep, a person who has chronic aches and pains, or someone who’s mind won’t quiet.
I always tell pregnant women that the last month of the pregnancy is preparing you for the sleepless nights you are going to have when the baby comes. This is a reality! Some new moms do get sleep but for many lack of sleep is a huge issue.
If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, then getting into bed may be torture. You can lay there staring at the ceiling or tossing and turning. Your mind won’t quiet, and you can’t stop thinking about them.
When we lay in this state we start to think of the What if or Why questions and our minds start to loop. Often, we go through endless scenarios about our situation such as:
• could we have done something differently?
• why won’t this baby sleep?
• are they ok?
• how can I go on?
• I’m lonely
• why does my body hurt so much?
• how am I going to be able to go to work tomorrow?
• I can’t focus
• did I lock the door?
Ideally, we are supposed to sleep for 7-8 hours a night but many people don’t even get half that amount. The problem is that lack of sleep is cumulative so if you only get 6 hours then how do you make up for the other 2. The next night you only get 6 hours again so that means you have 4 hours of missed sleep. The night after that you sleep 5 hours so that means have 3 hours of missed sleep. That makes 7 hours of missed sleep over 3 days. This adds up quickly and before you know it you are exhausted and have no energy to function throughout the day.
I was speaking to a couple of new moms and this is a huge issue. One said to me that she doesn’t get more than 4 hours of sleep per night so she doesn’t know whether she is asleep or awake. The other has a child that is near 2 and she told me that she spent the first 18 months sleep deprived. This affected everything in her life, and she wasn’t enjoying her baby and being a mom. She then felt guilty because of the way she was feeling. These thoughts and feelings just kept going around and around. Add to it the lack of sleep and here is a recipe for high stress, exhaustion, and doubting yourself. Left unchecked this can lead to anxiety and depression.
Going through a challenging time, your mind is trying to figure it all out and this can lead to sleepless nights. When we are grieving, we keep replaying unresolved issues and the “what ifs” throughout the day and especially at night. Do you lay in bed wondering if you will ever fall asleep? Then get agitated and angry because you can’t fall asleep? I have clients who say that nighttime is the longest part of their day and often the loneliest.
Lack of sleep is a complex subject and I am not an expert. However, I think of when my kids were little and I created a bedtime routine for them. They knew what happened after dinner and what to expect. So why not do this for yourself – create a bedtime routine.
Below are some holistic suggestions that may help.
1. Turn off electronic devices at least 1.5 hours before you plan to go to bed. This includes watching Netflix, TV, or something on the internet. These shows are often loud and drama filled, the result is that we get overstimulated and can’t settle.
2. Don’t eat before bed because it stimulates your digestive system. Your body will be digesting food which will keep you awake.
3. Journal about anything that is bothering you or things that you keep thinking about. Getting these thoughts out of your mind grounds the information for you.
3. Make your To Do List after dinner for the next day. This helps your mind to relax so it isn’t going over and over what you have to do tomorrow.
4. Listen to relaxing music.
5. Don’t drink coffee in the evening because it is too stimulating. Have a cup of Chamomile or Lemon Balm Herbal Tea (recipe below). These herbs calm the nervous system, your tummy, and your mind.
6. Have a bath and add a few drops of Lavender Essential Oil. Lavender calms the nervous systems and your body and mind will begin to relax.
6. Go to bed an hour before you plan to sleep and read a magazine or a book. Do not bring your electronic devices into your bedroom.
7. Keep your bedroom on the cooler side and have your window open to allow fresh air to flow in. A stuffy room makes you foggy and lethargic.
There are many more things that you can do to help you sleep, however, here are a few to try to see how they help you. Remember consistency and having a nighttime routine is key to getting a good nights sleep.
I’m on a mission to support people who are struggling through a challenging time in their life to achieve peace. If you have a friend or family member who needs to hear this message, please share this article with them.
If you yourself is struggling, I invite you to reach out to me for a complimentary Discovery Session. On our call, I’ll help you diagnose your symptoms and lay out your next best steps for creating the happy and balanced life that you desire. It would be my pleasure to support you through your journey and guide you back to your well-being.