My relationship with sleep began about two years ago. It was a dark time in my life and I was exhausted from the emotional rollercoaster I was going through. Days were wild and my life seemed scattered and chaotic, while being grey and dull at the same time. I felt so unhealthy.
I have a head-type personality, which means my brain is constantly firing thoughts and processing every little detail of my life. Back then, I just couldn’t turn it off. Eventually, I came to the realization that I needed something to keep me sane and somewhat balanced. At the very least, something needed to help me to get through a day without crashing. I was tired. So maybe I had to start with sleep.
Two years later, I have built a routine that I practice about 6 of the 7 nights of the week.
STEP 1: I commit to a time that I want to be in my bed.
Except for a few one-off occasions, my current target time is to get in my bed by 9:30 pm and be asleep by 10:00 pm. I aim to get at least 8 hours of sleep. I’m very proud of the 2 year commitment I’ve made to my bedtime!
STEP 2: Next, I diffuse.
Diffusing isn’t just to make my space smell nice. With water alone, diffusing naturally purifies the air, keeping the space fresh and clean. Add some drops of essential oils and I’m also breathing in the healing benefits of plants. For sleep, I diffuse the Dream State Diffuser Blend from Saje Natural Wellness. This blend has valerian essential oil, a natural sedative. I swear, in 5 minutes I’m knocked out and I’ll see you in the morning.
STEP 3: Time to roll on.
After setting up my diffuser, I roll on an essential oil blend called Sleep Well Roll On Remedy, another treasure from Saje Natural Wellness. This also has the Valerian essential oil but instead of inhaling the benefits, I roll it onto bottoms of my feet. Yup, I said feet. The soles of the feet are the most absorbent part of the body. Topically applying the essential oils allows me to experience a restful sleep longer. Who doesn’t want a long-lasting sleep?
STEP 4: Unwind.
Depending on how I’m feeling, I’ll choose an activity to help me unwind and prepare my mind for rest. If the day (or even week) was eventful or emotionally draining, I’ll choose to write my thoughts down. Getting my thoughts onto paper is the easiest way for me to get them out of my brain. Journaling for me can look like pages and pages of where my mind wanders or just jotting down a few things I’m grateful for in that moment and why. If my brain feels settled, then I’ll read a book, or colour, or do a word search puzzle. I hear that bedtime meditation is also a good practice, but I rarely do this.
STEP 5: Breathe.
Lastly, just when I’m about to nod off to sleep, I’ll lay back, close my eyes, and take three deep breaths. Sometimes I will spritz a little Sleep Well Restful Sleep Mist to get that extra essential oil love and allow the cool spray to relax me. The breaths are slow and intentional, and usually I’m already gone by the third one.
Here’s what I’ve learned about myself because of a good night sleep and why I’m committed to making it a priority.
The biggest difference I noticed was my body changing. For whatever reason, I was less bloated. Straight up, I thought I was getting more trim just by sleeping. I’m not sure of the exact science, but how I see it, my body uses all of its littlest parts so that I can function properly when I’m awake. So when I sleep, my body gets to refuel and recover to help me tackle the next day even better and stronger than the previous day. And for me, clearly digestion is a big part of that process. How cool is that?
Well, because of the super technical and scientific explanation of my previous point, clearly sleep also allows me to have more energy. Because my body had the rest it needed to seize the day. I observed that after continuous nights of good sleep, I felt less lethargic and foggy. In fact, I felt motivated. Now there’s something that I struggled with for awhile. One stand out moment I had was my newfound desire to work out and get back into some sort of physical activity. Whoa, that was a game-changer for me, because it meant that I could sweat and feel good about my body again. Don’t get me wrong, I still have those days where I’m like, “ughhhh but I don’t want to”. But that’s more of an ego thing, not because my body couldn’t do it.
I’m almost 100% more productive the next day when I get a restful sleep. That number is not accurate and I just threw it out there, but it sure feels like it. When I’m working, my mind is sharper, I move faster, I produce things better, I finish tasks earlier. It’s like I’m one mean working machine. I also find my creativity is stronger and I can think outside the box a little more to come up with awesome ideas and solutions. I honestly feel like a champion, being able to accomplish so much by the end of the day.
You all know by now that my brain processes thoughts at a million miles an hour. This only leads to constant stress and anxiety. However, I’ve managed to cope better. I’m much more aware and can think about what I need to do to deal with it. Sleep, as well as other practices, allows me to feel rested and think clearly about an action plan to help relieve the tension my brain and body experience on a daily (sometimes even hourly!) basis.
Practice makes perfect. A good sleep habit doesn’t happen overnight. Well, I mean it takes some time. I built my relationship with sleep over the last two years. Every once in a while I’ll learn something new or try something different. At the end of the day, it’s all for the sake of selfcare.
My advice? You know your body best. Take the time to observe it and understand it. Then try something new, something different. Start with one thing first and see what happens. If it feels good, keep it going. Then before you know it, you’ll be building your own sleep routine.
And on that note, time to get into my jammies and I’ll see you tomorrow morning!