Don’t Worry, Be Sleepy
We’ve all been there.
Tossing and turning in bed, wishing and wanting to finally get to sleep. 1am quickly becomes 2am, and then 3am, and before you know it, you’ve got to get up from probably 2 hours’ rest just to get to work on time.
The most common reason for this, is probably stress.
Caused primarily by our body reacting to chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters, anxiety stems from the release of ‘cortisol’, otherwise known as the ‘stress hormone’. Whereas during the day our anxiety is masked by various other neurotransmitters, it’s during the night as we attempt to relax that the cortisol is able to override more relaxing chemicals essential to a good night’s sleep, such as melatonin or serotonin. And the result is, the unpleasant, seemingly endless rumination, coupled with long, sleepless nights.
According to the American Psychological Association’s Stress in America Survey (2013), 43% of American adults suggest that ‘stress’ causes them to lie awake at night. Whether encouraged by social media, financial complications or work-related stress, dealing with ‘acute’ or short-term insomnia is not only infuriating, but detrimental to your overall physical and mental health.
That’s why we’ve drawn up a list of scientifically-backed solutions to your stress-induced sleeplessness that will encourage a more rested, more attentive and hopefully, happier you:
- The Beauty of Routine: First and foremost, prioritising your bedtime routine is essential to allowing your body to prepare for what you want to be a purely relaxing and calming period before bed. Each and every night (incl. weekends), try to maintain a regular routine before you finally get into bed. It may seem draconian at first, keeping to such a strict routine. But over time, such a routine should become second-nature to you, as should switching-off from stress, and most importantly of all, falling asleep.
- The Power of Lavender: From bath soap to breakfast cereal, lavender has seamlessly seeped itself into every conceivable product that exists. The reason? Its mystical, yet comforting scent that according to a study conducted in 2006, “had a beneficial effect on insomnia and depression.” Join’s Luxury Lavender Scented Candle is handmade, combining the finest essential oils with vegan, carbon neutral soy wax (which burns more cleanly than paraffin wax), and is sure to relax and balance you before drifting off. And for those not too keen on the lavender fragrance, we would recommend a scented candle that is based upon a blend of numerous fragrances, each of which are specifically chosen for their desired effect. Organdle’s Dreamer Candle for example, is formulated using organic essential oils such as Clary Sage, Clove, Green Mandarin and Roman Chamomile, providing a sweet and smokey herbaceous aroma, specifically designed to induce a peaceful, restful night’s sleep.
- Finding Your Sleep Utopia: Do you look forward to getting into bed at night? Does your bedroom epitomise comfortability, freedom and indeed, you? If you’ve been coping with stress at work or home, it’s likely that your bedroom’s become an ‘Stress-HQ’, rather than a sanctuary free from concerns and/or worries. From temperature to light, cleanliness to comfortability, your bedroom can be a utopia, styled towards providing you only with high-quality rest. So, why not check out our guide to your very own Sleep Utopia…
- Breathe, with the Dodow: A digital sleep lamp from France created by insomniacs, the Dodow works much like a metronome, projecting a halo of blue light onto your ceiling that pulses slowly at scientifically-determined intervals. When it expands, you take a slow, deep breath from your diaphragm. And when it contracts, you release your breath. And the best bit? It works, or at least, guides you towards what myza’s Co-Founder, Helen Collins, describes as a “a mindfulness meditative state” in her Dodow review.
- Tea-sy Does It: Hugs should never be underestimated. A hug from a loved-one, friend or family, will often remind you that however tough life gets, you’ll always have that unconditional love and support. Now, a cup of tea may not be a hug from a loved one, but full of herbs carefully chosen for their ability to relax the body and soothe the mind, Hoogly’s Cosy Chamomile Tea helps you to snuggle up and unwind like nothing else. Naturally caffeine-free, Hoogly’s Cosy Chamomile provides us with yet another natural remedy, to tackle those feelings of stress and sleeplessness.
Living with the stresses of everyday life is horrible, but shouldn’t be viewed as a battle that one either wins or loses. Instead, the ability to de-stress at the end of a long, tiresome day, and getting to sleep, derives from a willingness to accept your worries for what they are – an inevitability of life that we can learn how to live with.
It’s not fun, and indeed, it’s not easy.
But with the tips listed above, once you come out the other-side, you’ll finally be prepared to provide yourself with the self-care (and sleep) that you most definitely deserve.
Not every instance of insomnia is ‘acute’ or short-term. There is for example, ‘chronic’ insomnia, or difficulty sleeping over a period of three months or longer. Then there’s ‘comorbid’ insomnia, which occurs in conjunction with another medical condition, including depression, anxiety, and any psychiatric symptoms that severely impact on one’s ability to both get to sleep, and to remain comfortable when asleep.
It’s therefore, very important to distinguish between the differing forms of insomnia before deciding how to tackle your sleeplessness. In the case of chronic or comorbid insomnia, the need for medical attention will be essential to your recovery.