Bedtime is the best time, right?
Well, not always.
Not if you struggle with sleep, find yourself too stressed to unwind or just find it difficult to relax.
I previously talked about bedtime anxiety and how I was able to beat it. These last couple of months though, I began struggling with sleep, once again.
This time, it’s not necessarily due to anxiety. It’s more due to the fact that I’m in physical pain pretty much 24/7 and even getting rest is a struggle.
Well, yes. There are also meds (and there is absolutely no shame in getting some help if you need it and really struggle with sleep or anxiety) but at this point, not much helps me.
Also, I’m pretty stubborn and know how much of a difference some little changes can bring sometimes.
BETTER BEDTIME HABITS
A lot of people hear or see the word “meditate” and they overcomplicate it, thinking “um no, that’s not for me, I couldn’t do that.”
I seriously think that meditation is something that anyone can benefit from. The more stressed you are, the greater the difference you can experience. Also, it’s really not that complicated- all you need are five minutes. Meditation lowers stress levels, improves your emotional health AND it can help you improve your sleep. An easy place to start is with an app, like Calm. Guided meditation is great for beginners.
For me, meditating helps to heal my mind + body connection/relationship. When I feel emotions rise because I’m struggling physically, I immediately take a deep breath and remind myself that our bodies need time to heal. A 10-minute meditation before bedtime is one of my favorite bedtime habits now. It’s all about staying calm and being kind to yourself.
One of the things I’ve struggled with the most since my accident is not being able to work out. I love plyometrics but jumping around is out of the question for me now. The same goes for lifting, running, and everything else, it seems. It is something that really frustrates me. Yes, there’s physical therapy which I go to 3 times a week, but at the end of the day, my body still feels stiff and very tense. Also, it’s been months since I’ve seen my abs. This is why I’m trying to slowly get into gentle yoga again and it’s made bedtime so much more relaxing and soothing.
Practicing some gentle yoga before bedtime is now something I look forward to, every night. After a long day, it’s something that you (and your body) too, would love. It also serves as such a gentle and important reminder: treat your body well.
Be kind to yourself.
You deserve it.
We all run around all day, we work, take care of our family, we get things done. The end of the day is a perfect opportunity to practice some love and kindness toward yourself and your body. If you struggle with bedtime and don’t have a strong relationship (?) with it, then doing some yoga exercises like these can help heal that relationship and make you feel AMAZING- both body and mind.
TURN OFF THE TECH
Unwinding and “turning off” your brain is much easier when you do the same with your electronics. Turn them off, that is. Phones, tablets, TVs, Laptops- the blue light they emit makes it difficult to both fall and stay asleep. If you’re anything like me, then you probably spend your entire day around technology- both at work and at home. That keeps your brain alert and if you bring your laptop or phone to bed, you’re sort of tricking your brain into thinking it needs to stay alert. And boom. You can’t fall asleep.
Instead, allow your brain to unwind. Just like you allow your body to unwind when you take a long bath, stretch or practice some yoga before bedtime.
If you feel like you really CAN’T fall asleep without the TV on, try slowing transitioning to audiobooks, instead. Then, you can move on to books (or knitting- whatever floats your boat).
Also, if you get any work-related emails to your phone and can ignore them when you’re off the clock, do. Things come up all the time, but it’s up to you to set boundaries.
READ SOMETHING INSPIRING
Self-improvement, mindfulness, slow-living, gratitude- these are some of the things that I love to read about before bed. Some days are better than others. There are days when you go to bed knowing you just had a great, productive day, and then there are days when you feel like a complete failure. Days when everything just goes to shit. It’s important to always go to bed, knowing that it’s okay to make mistakes, it’s okay to feel tired, uninspired or lack motivation.
Reading something inspiring before bed can help you remember that good things take time and that you’re a constant work in progress and that we are all unique and we all have something special to offer to this world. Whether it’s something like a 5-minute mindfulness practice or a few chapters of good self-improvement book, use these as reminders that you’re doing a good job and that you’re much stronger than you think.
If this sounds familiar, then I promise you that getting into a habit of journaling and learning to let go will leave you feeling almost as if you’re emptying your mind. On those tough days, I love doing some serious brain dumping before I get ready for bed. I just write out everything that’s on my mind; things I’m worried about, things I’m excited and happy about, things I need to get done, etc.
Learning to let go of some things (especially during stressful times) isn’t always easy, but it’s totally worth the effort. Promise.
These bedtime habits are just some of the things that help me feel a bit like my old self. With the emphasis on old, since I also feel like in the past couple of months I’ve aged at least 10 years. In all seriousness though, remember that sometimes the smallest of changes can make a huge difference. And yes, this includes your bedtime habits. :)