When stress is high, a good night’s sleep can feel more like an enigma or a far away dreamland than an actual possibility.
The next day is harder than the night, as you navigate the day from a sleep deprived hangover state that leaves you hoping (Wishing! Praying!) that tonight will not be the same. The irony is that you end up stressing about not sleeping and it gets harder and harder to actually settle into a peaceful slumber.
Research by Elaine Aron suggests that this is a very real reality for 20% people, who she classifies as a Highly Sensitive Person. For us sensitive peeps, we notice, sense and feel more, so it makes sense that relaxing at bedtime might is not as easy as our nursery rhymes have us believe.
To help you settle between the sheets and fall asleep when times are stressful, we have compiled these suggestions for your sweetest of dreams.
Our brains are hardwired for routine. They love predictability. Instead of falling asleep at different times, depending on how tired you are, each night practice the same bedtime routine. This might look like dinner, a shower or bath (bonus points for essential oils and salts), a cup of herbal tea and your book, and then lights out by 10pm or 10.30pm. Keep to the routine over several weeks and notice how your body and mind relax and slow down, preparing for a peaceful slumber.
You may make this a part of your regular bedtime routine. Take 5-10 minutes each evening to sit still with your eyes closed and to breathe deeply in and out of your lungs. As you breathe, exhale the thoughts, feelings and distractions from the day. As you breathe in, imagine space and expansion filling your body and mind. Imagine white open space.
For those who enjoy the bitter taste of an afternoon or evening coffee, this might sound steep, but caffeine might be the peril robbing you of your zzz’s! Enjoy your morning or midday coffee or black/green tea with glee and then choose herbal options that will slow down, nourish and rejuvenate your body from within.
If you think your night is going to be rough, it likely will be. As you settle into bed and rest your head on the pillow, imagine yourself waking up fresh and rested, ready to tackle the day ahead. Choose to let go of the belief that sleeping is difficult and repeat the words: “I am relaxed. I am relaxed. I am relaxed.”
A good night’s sleep is a habit we can train ourselves to master.
It takes commitment, openness and lots of love and self-care.