Daily life tricks. How to sleep better
As many people I’ve been having troubles sleeping… Mainly nightmares problems, and being awaken by horrible horror-movies kind of dreams is really annoying. Nightmares come and go, mainly corresponding to stress or preoccupation levels (work, family, relationships, thinking about the future etc. we all know the pattern…).
Whereas when I was younger I used to say to myself that I just needed to wait for the ‘horrible period’ to pass by, I now learned some tricks helping me soothing my body and spirit and helping me to feel better and sometimes getting a hole night of good sleep. And no, tricks do not imply alcohol nor sleeping pills (though I have to admit I’ve thought about that several times during high crisis 🙂
When in bed, read a book.
You know what? I’ve always heard this advice and never ever really followed it. Firstly because I L.O.V.E. TV and Netflix and binge-watching my favourite series when I get home, to de-stress. And secondly, because resisting the temptation to check my favourite Instagram accounts when I’m adjusting my pillow is real hard. BUT, the last few weeks I’ve decided to truly give it a try. To pick a book, not a Kindle but a real book, to banish all technology from my room, and to let my mind wander in the imaginary world of a good romance. And it worked. Not saying it’s miraculous or anything, but a good Jane Austin before sleeping indeed brings you more easily into a pink-scented sleepy world.
Avoid eating too late, go light on the booze and drink a camomile.
Not big news, again, but something else that really works. Remember that huge, parmigiano covered pasta that seemed a really good idea when you got home, famished cause you skipped lunch? You’re probably going to regret it a bit later, especially if you eat around 9pm and go to bed around 11pm…. In Piedmont, my native Region, grandmas eat at 7pm, sharp, and always serve a broth and a light main course. And they are just so right. Having a half-full stomach allows the body to focus not to just on digestion, hence, better sleep. Going on a night out with friends? Just make sure to skip entrées or dessert and clean the body from the alcohol with a good half-litre of water and a camomile. During chilly seasons I always make sure to have a camomile before going to bed (also when traveling, as so many hotels provide kettles), it helps me ‘cleaning’ the system and having a help sleeping better.
Had a bad dream? Just say it out loud or write it down.
Waking up after a bad dream always leaves me feeling scared, heart-racing in my chest, convinced I’ll never fall asleep again and even so, the nightmare will be back. What I’ve learned? If I tell the nightmare story out loud (to poor boyfriend or simply to myself), or if I write it down, I often realize what provoked the dream in the first place. Can be a movie I’ve seen or a story I’ve heard or read, but being aware of which facts my mind re-elaborated helps me rationalize the fear. Kind of like when as a kid I checked under my bed and curtains for monsters (who did not do that?); once I freed my spirit from the fear, I could go to sleep peacefully.
Get your own pre-sleep ritual.
Establishing a personal, exclusive ritual before going to bed can really help soothing the spirit and prepare the body and the mind to welcome sleep, as I wrote in this article. Personally, I’ve tried a tons of things and lately found what works best for me. I got Bach Flowers to spray on the pillow, and lavender essential oils to vaporize. Once in bed I try to banish all thoughts about organization, to-do lists or work, and to focus on a positive though or funny story I’ve heard or read about. I’ve also been using a sleeping mask to avoid being disturbed by any light.
If needed, use natural remedies.
I’ve always been afraid of addiction to sleeping pills. I think that starting using them so young can really be a problem for the future, and anyways giving my body un-needed chemical stuff just does not feel right. So, when I am having particularly hard times sleeping, I look for 100% natural and herbal remedies. I find that varying is the key, and lately I’ve been using the Apothicaire Sommeil pills, and the Bach Night Rescue Remedy in drops, that helped me to have a more regular sleep.