Have you ever experienced difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep? It’s a common problem many of us face once or twice weekly. I’ve had my fair share of sleepless nights, and recently, my usual bedtime routine failed me. Let me share my routine with you, which I believe could benefit everyone:
- I avoid caffeine at least 6 hours before bedtime, as caffeine has a half-life of six hours. However, some days I don’t consume any caffeine.
- I take a magnesium supplement, two capsules at midday, and another one 2 hours before bedtime.
- I stop looking at screens, including the TV and iPhone, around 8:30 pm, as the blue light and screen stimulation can keep me awake.
- I take a warm/hot shower about an hour before bedtime.
- I keep my room cool at 69°F and dark and have fans running for air circulation.
- I write my goals in my planner.
- I read a print book that could be more thought-provoking and exciting to help me relax and fall asleep.
However, despite following this routine, I recently found myself tossing and turning for an hour, unable to fall asleep. Instead of getting anxious and frustrated, I remembered past experiences where certain actions didn’t work:
- Looking at my Apple Watch to check my sleep status didn’t help me sleep.
- Allowing myself to get anxious about being unable to sleep only worsened things.
- Constantly changing sleeping positions from back to side to stomach didn’t help.
Realizing I was about to spiral into anxiety, I decided to take control of the situation. I sat in bed, turned on a soft yellow light, and read a print book until I felt sleepy. Surprisingly, it didn’t take long for me to drift off.
I realized that avoiding the anxiety rabbit trail was vital in helping me fall asleep. While you can’t “catch up on sleep,” one night of poor sleep won’t harm your health. It’s important to track your sleep, and various apps and devices are available for this purpose. Currently, I use SleepWatch (iOS only), which has a free and paid version with additional features. It’s automatic and works well with my Apple Watch. Other options I’ve used include AutoSleep (iOS only, requires Apple Watch but not frequently updated) and Sleep Cycle (iOS and Android, not automatic).
So, the next time you struggle to fall asleep, don’t toss and turn or get anxious. Instead, try reading a book, meditating, praying, or journaling. Sleep is too valuable to lose sleep over! 🤣