One week later: Sleep habits

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A week ago I posted about trying to change my sleep habits. Staring at the ceiling for half of the night isn’t fun! One week later I thought I would check in and share what’s working and what isn’t.

 The first little change I made was to stop drinking caffeinated tea and coffee after 4pm. This had previously been 6pm but I recently read this article stating that caffeine stays in our system for up to 6 hours after we drink it. I’m putting that to the test so now its decaf only after 4pm. I’m not sure I’ve noticed much difference with this one to be honest. Annoyingly I haven’t been falling asleep any earlier. I’m going to change things up a bit and start drinking a cup of herbal tea before bed to see if it helps relax me. I like chamomile tea but don’t drink it very often so I’m going to slot it into my bed time routine and see if it makes a difference. I’m also going to put a drop of lavender essential oil on my pillow for the next week to see if that does anything.

I’m a light sleeper so noise and sunlight from outside easily wakes me up. I have blackout curtains but the light still keeps poking through so I rather nervously ordered myself a sleep mask. Why nervously? I don’t like having things around my head or on my face while I’m sleeping so I haven’t tried a sleep mask before. I imagined them to be restrictive and I’d heard horror stories about them giving you blurry vision the next morning from where the mask has been pressing against your eyes. That would definitely freak me out because I suffer from migraines and blurry vision is one of my early warning symptoms, that and pins and needles on my tongue (weird right?). After a bit of online searching I chose this one on Amazon from Bedtime Bliss.

My main reason for picking the Bedtime Bliss mask was the hollow eyes design. It doesn’t press on your eyelids and you can open your eyes or blink while wearing it but no light gets in as long as its pulled over your nose properly. I was surprised by how soft and comfortable it is, it doesn’t feel restrictive at all and can be adjusted at the back. My problem is that although the mask is soft and very lightweight, I’m not used to having anything on my face. Also because it takes me so long to get to sleep, I flip around a lot changing positions and often pull the mask on and off as I’m doing this. What I’ve started to do is sleep with the mask in bed next to me. When I’m in a comfortable position and feel like I’ll doze off soon, I pull the mask on. If it starts to annoy me, I take it off but keep it beside me. When the sun starts to wake me up, I pull the mask on and go straight back to sleep, which is great because it normally takes me a while to doze off again once the sun comes up. Sometimes I can wear it all night with no problems and when I am wearing it I sleep through the sunrise, result! The more I’m wearing it the more I’m getting used to it so hopefully soon I’ll be able to wear it straight through every night. It also comes in a little cloth bag with a set of earplugs. I haven’t tried those yet but might build up to it!

So to recap, there are 3 things I’m going to try for the next couple of weeks;

  1. Keep wearing the sleep mask.
  2. Drink herbal tea before bed.
  3. Put a drop of lavender oil on my pillow

Do you have any tricks for a better night sleep? Let me know in the comments.

Take care,

Hayley x

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Changing habits: Sleep

I wish I could be one of these people who puts their head on their pillow and fall straight to sleep. I’m not one of those people. At all. I can lie awake for hours before finally dozing off and I’m such a light sleeper that little things such as sunlight or noise from outside can wake me up.

The issue

At the moment is that I’m between jobs. Up until recently I was working long hours as a nanny. I lived with the family I worked for so I would work until 7/8pm, go up to my room, shower and fall asleep not long after. This kind of worked for me, I was exhausted enough to fall asleep quickly instead of staring at the ceiling for half of the night.

Long story short, I finished my time working for that family and returned home with a couple of promising interviews lined up. The plan is to get a job in a city a bit closer to home but this time renting a room in a house share so I have a better work/life balance. The promising interviews didn’t come through so I’m still at home trying to secure a job. With my routine gone, my sleep pattern has screwed up and I’m back to staring at the ceiling at 2am.

Something has to change

I’ve been reading a lot of articles about how to sleep better. They tend to all give similar advice; limit caffeine, keep the room cool and dark, no screens before bed, read, go to bed the same time every night and wake up the same time every day etc. I’ve experimented with a few of these before so I know that going to bed and waking up the same time doesn’t work for me. Not when I don’t have a job forcing me to get up at the same time every morning. When I’ve been awake at 3am and my alarm goes off at 8.30 I don’t have the will power to drag myself out of bed unless there’s somewhere I have to be. I grumpily turn the alarm off and have another hour or two.

The plan

For the last few days I’ve been using my bullet journal to track how much caffeine I’ve been drinking. I’m now down to 2/3 cups a day and I drink only decaf after 6pm. However a few of the articles I’ve read, including this one from the website sleepeducation.org states that caffeine can take up to 6 hours to leave your system so I’m going to change this to no caffeine after 4pm.

The next thing I’m going to try is a sleep mask. I have black out curtains but still get woken up by the sun poking through in the morning. I did a bit of searching on amazon and found a sleep mask with great reviews, so I bought it and will be trying it out over the next few days.

Those two steps might not sound like much but I’m hoping they will have an effect. The next thing I’m going to do is come up with an evening routine but I still need to dig into that a bit further. If anyone knows any good blog posts or tutorials for making an evening/bedtime routine, please send the links my way =)

Take care,

Hayley x

 

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