Sweet Dreams are Made of These

Life is about the small things, that is for sure. The small things add up and soon become bigger, and more rewarding; surpassing your hopes, dreams, and wildest of imaginations.

I used to have a problem in that I could not sleep. I couldn’t fall asleep, stay asleep, wake up late enough to be considered a normal human, and then when it was NOT time to sleep, all I wanted to do was sleep. I would have self-diagnosed myself with paranoia and attempting to combat the overabundant stresses that I gifted myself with on a regular basis. I lie awake many nights wishing it was morning and that night time didn’t even exist at all.

These days, it’s another story….I can’t possibly get ENOUGH sleep. I love sleep and treasure it like the diamond ring I will likely never have on my finger. This past Saturday, I fell asleep at just a smidge past 8:00PM, not to awaken to the light of day until 8:00AM! Last night, I slept somewhere around 10 hours, and most nights it’s a solid 9-10.

I’ve done a lot of research on the whole sleeping process as a whole, I’ve done workshops and written papers on it. I think at this stage in my life, I am thoroughly convinced that I am recovering my long-accrued “sleep debt” and making up for all my years of being an insomniac. While most young people my age were sleeping in until lunch time, I was up at 5am, had completed an entire day’s worth of errands and would sit around waiting for the coffee shops to open.

My job as a mattress Queen, has opened my eyes to how important a role your bed, bedding, and sleep environment play in the quality of your sleep. I always knew this but had not focused on making my room a “haven” in the past. In fact, my room has usually been THE ONLY ROOM in which I live, so it’s been my office, living room, kitchen, den, TV room (minus the TV), and bathroom. Just kidding about the bathroom.

Your room should really be a serene and peaceful spot, with no outside stimuli, not your media hub, or office, no pictures of clowns or freakish dolls strewn about, no additional or obnoxious light, and ideally….no electronic noise. I am one of those freaks who can hear her cellphone when it’s on silent and receives a message or alert. It’s bat-like and crazy, but it’s true. That’s how I went back to Malone my Junior year of college. Another story for another time.

So, to help you my readers, I’ve composed a little list of things that help me sleep, and things that keep me awake, which perhaps you can utilize if you too are struggling with insomnia, too much peeing during the night disorder, or other sleep-interrupting issues that have you waking up feeling like your cells have not been thoroughly refreshed.

HELPS PROMOTE SLEEP

1. The Addition of Natural Sleep Products to My Bed

I’m dying for an Organic mattress; I just have to wait until my allowance increases, but mark my words, “I WILL GET ONE.” Working at The Organic Bedroom, I’ve learned how important this concept truly is. Most beds are off-gassing, dust mite laden, hot boxes of toxicity upon which rest our heads at night. Thus far, I’ve added the following to my bed: Shredded Latex Pillow (all natural latex with organic cotton cover), Organic Merino Wool Comforter (doesn’t need to be washed, won’t bunch like down or cotton, warming and cooling, mold and mildew resistant, dust mite resistant, flame retardant, can you BLEAT that!?), Organic Wool Mattress Protector / Pad (waterproof, organic wool, moisture-wicking and cooling, adds a layer of comfort). I sleep in heavenly peace with just these few simple additions! Did you know that wool actually reduces your heart rate!? That’s just one of the MANY advantages, of course. Changing the way my bed feels has really been great for getting more sleep, and so what if my room smells like a farm scene? BedwithPillows

2. Sleeping a Cooler Room

Some like it hot. I’m one of those people. Usually, I can never be too warm, I pile at least 10 blankets on myself in the winter and curl up wearing a parka, snow pants, and at least two pairs of wool socks. Oh, I forgot to mention the hat and gloves. But I’ve learned that a cooler room, that is one that is not 90 degrees +, is actually better for a good night’s sleep. I also wake up with so many fewer hot flashes now that I have a fan in there!

3. No Weird Foods / No Eating Close to Bed Time

You have to pay attention to your body and what it’s communicating/demanding of you. For me, if I eat onions, peppers, or garlic, in any form, than I’m probably not going to sleep, and if I do, I wake up on multiple occasions having had the strangest dreams and a burning stomach. Alcohol, especially as a beer containing wheat, usually guarantees bags under my eyes tomorrow due to tossing and turning, and an overall feeling of unrestedness upon awakening. Things in your diet can cause you pain, or just overall agitation. It’s important to pay attention to your body and determine what these are so you can R.I.P. Eating too closely to bed time, I think this is more of a problem for women than for men, but it can disturb your sleep. That being said, I’ve also known people who can eat a full meal before bed and have the easiest time sans sheep counting. Perhaps it’s all about your mindset, and why you’re eating late. If you’re eating late to enjoy a meal with friends and family, that might lull you into sweet dreams, but if you’re eating because you’re bored lonely, or having a midnight snack attack, you might be in for a nightmarish spin cycle. If you do choose an evening snack to chomp on, try things that are carbohydrate-based rather than proteinous. Protein takes far more effort for your body to breakdown and utilize and can create more sleep disturbances.

4. Working Out or Putting in a Full Day’s Work

On my more lazy of days, I have a hard time falling asleep. Perhaps it’s guilt, perhaps it’s restlessness, but unless I have gotten some sort of work out in during the span of the day, or accomplished something mentally, I have a hard time quieting my inner demons that are reminding me of my non-productivity. But when I feel satisfied with myself that day, something I’ve done, or working out, all systems are go and I can crash and burn in my comfy bed sans problema!

5. Valerian Root, Chammomile, etc.

Ok, this is sort of a last resort. But if you still have trouble sleeping, a feat I could NEVER master, for various reasons whilst overseas in France, than you should try a natural sleep remedy. Like say, Valerian Root. In tea form, it’s the stinkiest, dirty-feet-smelling concoction, and it’s really hard to make it palatable. I would highly recommend it in capsule form, in which you can barely smell it and it’s gone within seconds. These things became my best friend and they are great for helping you calm down while on airplanes, in cars, when you mess up your sleep routines, wherever it would behoove you to catch some shut eye and you’re finding that you simply, for the life of yourself, CAN’T! Also, taking it as a pill ensures you won’t have to pee seventy times throughout the night. That introduces a whole slough of other problems!

6. Stay Regular

I love talking about poop. But this is not the kind of “regular” that I am referring to. I am talking about consistency with when you wake up, and when you go to bed. It has to be workable with your lifestyle, but ideally you should be falling asleep somewhere within the hours of 10-11pm. REM sleep is in full force between 10-12pm and you want to catch as much of that as possible. Keeping your sleep cycles more regular and constant keeps your whole body more regular. Your cells will become used to their rejuvenation times, and the process will be streamlined and efficient, like a German bus schedule. Some people have a much more difficult time with this concept than others, I know I naturally LOVE routine, but I naturally create disorder and non-routine in my life. But as I’ve strived to stack up the building blocks of regularity, I’ve built a fortress of perfection in which I pretty much do things at the same time, in the same way MOST days.

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A few small changes, and slight adjustments to your sleep habits, and ewe might never need to play Little Bo Peep again! Don’t take it from me, try these things out yourself! And as Levar Burton used to say (on Reading Rainbow circa 1990), “I’ll see ya’ next time!”

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