I’ve been there, MANY times. And occasionally I still have the bad night where my mind will not switch off.
I’ve seen GP’s and Naturopaths. I’ve tried teas, pills (natural and pharmaceutical) and changing my diet.
I’ve had blood tests, read books about insomnia, listened to every podcast on the subject and stressed and worried about it for longer than I care to admit.
And after it all, I bring it down to this; I am a light sleeper. I’m always going to have moments in my life where I struggle to sleep. And these moments tend to coincide with really STRESSFUL times, and really EXCITING times (basically anything that gets the adrenaline and cortisol racing, is when I’m going to struggle to sleep).
I have accepted that now. But it doesn’t mean I have to put up with it.
So after years of trying and testing a thousand different things to help me sleep, these are the things that actually work for me:
1. I have cut out coffee. I used to drink around 3 cups of coffee per day. So when my insomnia got really bad a few years ago, it had to go. It took a good 3 months of feeling major FOMO and almost unbearable deprivation, but I did it. NOW, I drink decaf, and I thoroughly enjoy it. I still get to enjoy that ritual of “having a coffee”, and I still get that beautiful coffee taste that I love.
2. Wine does not help me sleep. I used to think that having a few glasses of red would help me sleep. At one point I actually relied on it to help me sleep! But now, I have come to the devastating realisation, that I sleep WORSE when I have wine. Yes I fall asleep straight away, but I end up waking around 4-5 hours later, and cannot get back to sleep. So if I want to get a good sleep, I DO NOT drink alcohol (as painful as that can be haha).
3. Essential Oils. I cannot recommend essential oils enough for sleep. They have been so effective for me, that I now share these oils for a living… they have literally been life changing for me.
Every night I diffuse 4 drops of Lavender Peace in my Petal Diffuser in my bedroom. And beside my bed I have made up a roller with the following blend, which I roll onto my temples, my 3rd eye and the back of my neck before sleep (or if I wake in the middle of the night):
In a 10ml Roller Bottle:
2 drops Lavender
2 drops Vetiver
2 drops Cedarwood
2 drops Frankincense
1 drop Juniper Berry
Topped up with Fractionated Coconut Oil
4. PHONES/LAPTOPS OFF ONE HOUR BEFORE BED! For obvious reasons, I always turn my phone OFF, and allow my mind to not be bombarded with information and screen lighting at least 1 hour before bed (8pm is my general cut-off time). This helps A LOT!! ALSO, I don’t turn my phone on if I wake up at 3am… it stays off until the morning (I put it under my bed to avoid temptation).
5. “I will fall asleep eventually”. If I do find myself lying there unable to fall asleep, I repeat this mantra to myself over and over again, “If I lie here long enough, I will fall asleep eventually”. I find its a gentle, non-pressure sentence to say, that alleviates that stress of “why can’t I fall asleep?”, and allows my mind to drift off when it’s ready. Works every time.
THREE EXTRA THINGS I want to mention here:
FIRST THING: I meditate daily, but I don’t specifically do this for sleep. However, it is conducive to sleep, as I have the ability to not get attached to thoughts, which is helpful with switching my mind off at night. So I would also recommend starting a meditation practice (I have another blog for that… check it out haha!)
SECOND THING: You will also notice I have not listed pills, medications, teas, baths, exercise, etc. I found that when I was trying too hard, it made it worse. I would actually get anxiety over the thought of trying to go to sleep, which would stop me from falling asleep (ffs).
In all areas of life, when we try too hard to do something, and almost force it to happen, we generally fail.
So it wasn’t until I took my focus off sleep, that I started to fall asleep. And this happened when I stopped trying to do “all the things” and kept it simple.
ONE FINAL THING: I cut the drama out of my life, and the underlying cause of what was causing my stress. The people, the job, the WHATEVER it was… if it wasn’t making me happy, and wasn’t a necessary part of my life… I got rid of it. You can call it cut-throat, I call it life-saving.
I hope this helps you.
Love, Erin xo