My entire life, I’ve had trouble falling asleep. When I was younger, I would stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning reading a book. I would choose a page number or chapter to stop at and blow past it. And when I wasn’t prolonging sleep with a book, I would lay in bed and write stories in my head. Have full conversations with people, real and imaginary. Think of the homework I had to do, or count down the time until I had until I had to wake up, which would stress me out and – you guessed it – keep me up later.
These days, it’s not too hard to fall asleep. Most nights the second I turn the lights off I’m out. Yes, half of that is because I have a son who wakes up at least once every three hours (much more now that he’s cutting about five teeth at once. Yes, I said 5. God, help me.) but the other half of that is because I’ve learned what it takes for me to fall asleep.
Since most nights of the week Alex isn’t home (UPDATE ON THAT COMING AND IT’S A GOOD ONE.) because he’s at work, I definitely find it harder to fall asleep, since usually Alex either tells me it’s bedtime or I pass out on the couch watching whatever boring show he makes me watch. So since he’s been at work, I’ve found myself relying on my old methods of sleep as a back up. So in hopes that they’ll help my fellow life long insomniacs, here are my best tips for falling asleep easily!
-Get everything together that you need to go to bed. Nothing will hinder your ability to turn your brain off than getting in bed and realizing you forgot XYZ. Here is what my bedside looks like (This is actually my kitchen floor since everything in my bedroom photographs super yellow.)
Inhaler, paper towel (or tissues, when I remember to pick them up which is never) full cup of water, phone charger, a book or Nook, clock.
-Do yourself a favor, and keep your bedroom basic. Bedrooms are for 2 things. Sleeping and sleeping. Take the TV’s out of your room. Laptops? Out. If you can, plug your phone somewhere you can’t reach over and check it. This also helps if it’s your alarm in the morning – it’s harder to justify hitting snooze if you have to get out of bed to hit it.) Bonus points if you charge it outside of the bedroom.
-Choose sheets and blankets that you’ll want to snuggle into each night. Make your bed inviting! Hell, make your bed. Every time my bed is made I can’t wait to jump in.
-Know your temperatures. I like to sleep cold. Like, we put the AC on high until October. I know that in order for me to comfortably fall asleep, our bedroom needs to be chilly before I get in there, so an hour or so before bed we either crank the AC, turn down the heat, or open the windows.
-Prepare the house. For me, this means making sure the doors and windows are locked, the animals have food and water, Cooper has been let out, lights, stove, etc are off, and the floor is clean. It’s these things that would keep me up (or wake me up, thanks Coop.) if I were in bed trying to sleep.
-Find your comfy bed clothes. For me, certain shirts, especially big shirts will keep me up all night. They bunch and move and I hate it. I like fitted shirts and either looser pants or shorts. Find what clothes will work for you and won’t have you squirming all night trying to get comfy.
-Pick a “bed”time. I try to be asleep by 11, mostly because as much as I would love to be asleep before then, I have a hard time doing so. This means be 9:30 or 10, depending on the day, I make sure I’m in bed. That way, I can wind down in bed without the distractions of the rest of the house.
-Set a lights-out time. Depending on what my bed time is, I make sure my lights are out between 10:30 and 10:45. This gives me adequate time to fall asleep without cutting into my “eight hours”. This means that if I’m reading and it hits that time, book closes and lights go off. I know myself. If I let myself, I’ll finish a book. Yes, there are days when I hit a crazy part of a book and I just keep going because how can you not? But most days, I stick to my guns.
-Wipe your brain. I’m all about visualizing things. So at night when I can’t seem to shut my brain off, I need to visualize it all being erased. It may seem weird, but I swear it works for me. I imagine I have a big chalkboard eraser and slowly erase everything that’s in my mind, every single little corner. #weirdbuttrue
-Count down. Everyone has heard of counting to fall asleep, but, at least for me, counting from one to a billion is too easy and doesn’t distract my busy brain enough. So I count down, usually from 500 and make sure I completely focus on each number, even drawing them out in my mind.
-Yoga breaths. I don’t know the actual term for these, but they remind me of when you’re laying on the floor in yoga. Deep, thoughtful breaths. Concentrate on them. When I would have asthma attacks, they would instruct me to breath in for 10, hold for 10, release for 10. I find the breath/release for 10 to be a great starting point.
-If it’s been 30 or more minutes of not sleeping, sometimes I’ll grab my book and read for 20 minutes to decompress and get a little more sleepy. Not being able to fall asleep is stressful, so I try to give myself some time when I genuine can’t sleep.
Good night, Sleep tight, friends.
Do you have trouble falling asleep? What are your favorite tips for falling sleep? let me know in the comments!