As you know, being quarantined can warp our sense of time. We all asked for more time in the day, and now that our wish was granted unexpectedly, we feel unprepared and constantly grappling to fill any extra time…but with what?
One thing that’s still really important is sleep. In college, I took a course on the Psychology of Sleep – why it’s important; how much sleep is needed; what happens when we sleep. I think sleep is highly underrated and we forget about it’s healing properties and how it affects our day to day – how we feel about ourselves, others, and how we react to situations. Sleep may come easier to some than others for varying reasons. Whether you have an underlying condition, you’re a new parent, or you simply don’t have peace of mind; there are so many reasons! During this time specifically, I have an odd sense of fomo which prevents me from falling asleep at a decent time no matter how tired I am. There are also some worrying thoughts that pop late at night in which I fast forward my life within seconds, and begin to mourn not making the right decisions for my future, or waiting too long to do xyz. What I’ve realized is that all of these things will be here in the morning (should I be so lucky). Whatever I may feel like I’m missing out on, and whatever my worries are, are not going anywhere and won’t be solved in one night. So, in the meantime, why not take a mental vacation from everything for a few hours? Here are three (not ground breaking) things that I added to my nighttime routine recently to help me fall asleep and stay asleep:
1. Deep breathing – I was always the person who would overthink breathing when the doctor said: “Now, take a deep breath, breathe.” But I am breathing, I thought. Through yoga, and some meditation exercises (although meditation makes me nauseous) I learned how powerful actually breathing is. In yoga, you can feel your different energies connect through proper breathing exercises; you’re mentally, physically and emotionally becoming stronger. That shit is powerful. Before bed now, I center my self through deep breathing, and within seconds, the tense sensation within my body disapates and I’m in a more restful state.
2. If possible, no elastics or tight clothing on the body at night – You can take this as far as sleep naked (see my previous post about why you should be naked more), but, it can be as simple as sleeping in oversized clothing. When my body is unrestricted at night, it makes me feel calm, relaxed and free.
3. Transforming your space into a place of rest – There are many ways to do this, from regulating the room temperature (60s/70s are magical for me personally), to spritzing a little lavender oil onto your sheets and pillow (something I want to try), and turning off all lights. What I realize is that if I’m alone, I can no longer fall asleep with the TV sound on. Once I start feeling my body enter a restful state, I pause the TV; eventually it goes into sleep mode and the light won’t disrupt my sleep.
Do whatever work best for you and don’t be afraid to try new things that will make you feel more relaxed and could enhance your sleep environment.