SLEEP – We All Want It. Some Get It. Many Don’t. 

By Cheryl Ryan

I’ve been a pretty good sleeper throughout my life and I’ll take it. I know people that consistently suffer from lack of sleep and it is brutal. I usually get 6-7 hours which is below the recommendation for my age but it mostly works for me. Unless I’m in one of these ugly patches. Patches when I only get 3 to 5 hours a night for days on end. And that does NOT work for me. 

I’ve been in one lately. I’ve been waking up at 2 or 3 in the morning and I can’t go back to sleep. It starts with looking at the clock, then moves to daytime to-do lists, and on to worrying about those to-do lists. Some of it is important, most of it ridiculous, but none of it can be solved in the middle of the night. And the more I think about it the more awake I get, working myself into a full blow tizzy. It’s horrible. 

Sometimes I turn on my Kindle and read (which I know we’re not supposed to do). It gets me out of my head and into the world of whatever story I’m reading. Occasionally it actually works and I go back to sleep but only after I’ve been up for two or more hours in the middle of the night.  Not the best solution.

So I’ve been asking around to see what people do to get their sleep. Plenty of people consistently take sleeping pills which I would totally do if that’s what it took to get sleep.  But I’m searching for a more holistic approach for now. I’ve heard calming your mind with a mantra, as suggested by Shana Moore, can work. I’ve tried this and it’s worked once or twice but not consistently. I would really like to hone this skill though. 

Sleep by David Clode @ Unsplash

Do you have a mantra?

My problem is that I can’t remember my mantra. So, I’m frantically trying to come up with one in the middle of the night. But the idea of repeating myself over and over and drowning out my thoughts sounds like a meditative trick that could really help with other stressors. I’m not giving up on this yet because I would feel like a badass if I could pull off a mind over matter situation. 

A few other solutions I’ve heard about are wearing an eye mask and earplugs during sleep, taking Sominex or CBD (to break a consecutive sleepless night pattern), and using the Calm app.  I haven’t tried the face mask or found a comfortable pair of earplugs yet but I have tried the others.

Meds or Apps

Taking half a Sominex worked pretty well. It was very relaxing, worked fast and didn’t make me feel bad in the morning. I would try it again to get out of a sleepless cycle. The CBD/THC has been a decent solution for me, but you have to get your combination right and it takes a while to take effect. So if you take it before bed make sure to take it an hour or more before sleep. If you wake up in the middle of the night it will take some time to kick in and then only lasts three or four hours but did help me. 

So far the Calm app hasn’t worked for me but I’ve heard good things. I’ve only used the free version but plan to get the paid version (and check out some of the celebrity voices). If I do some daytime prep before a frantic, sleepless night I think it could help me learn some meditative techniques which is my ultimate goal. 

My intermittent sleep problems are no match for those dealing with life-long disorders which drive some to Polysomnography. And I’m certainly no expert but having a few solutions in my arsenal makes it easier to fall asleep when I’m in one of my bad patches. My problem could end up being hormonal and none of this will work but If any of these ideas can help any of you that would certainly help me sleep a little better. 

We would love to hear any of your sleep advice. As always the more the better.

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  • Reply Shana October 16, 2021 at 6:48 am

    I enjoyed this read, Cheryl. I wish my mantra worked all the time! I definitely still awaken in the middle of the night, but it helps me go back to sleep. Also, I find that acceptance does wonders, too. Once my doctor pointed out that we don’t need as much sleep as when we were younger and that we’re doing just fine if we’re able to do our days without a nap, I stopped stressing out that I was waking up in the night.

  • Reply Deb Merle October 20, 2021 at 11:38 pm

    It makes me feel better that someone else doesn’t always get 8 hours of sleep! I read somewhere that inhaling to the count of 5 and exhaling to the count of 7(!) can work……and I’ve tried it and sometimes it does work (but not when a full moon is shining through my windows!).

  • Reply Christina Morgan October 26, 2021 at 4:21 pm

    I count my breathes and if it is around the full moon then I also need a mask. A long slow inhale and exhale (full breath cycle) is one count. If you lose count usually around 3 you start over and when you get to 5 you start over. Try to start the moment you wake up, before allowing the thoughts to drift into your mind. I rarely make it to the 5 count and it also works well when you first go to sleep after you put down the Kindle. I wish I could remember who to credit for this trick but it is my favorite breathing technique and I’ve tried many.

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