Hi guys! This week I started my second slow your own trial of getting some zzzzzs. And boy was it needed.
I don’t think I realised how much I needed it until, on the first day of the trial, I got a twitchy eyelid. You know the really annoying thing where your eyelid is dancing without you inviting it to party?! And it was ALL DAY! I spent most of the day in meetings trying to surreptitiously hold it still…
And the following day I got a migraine. Full on gollum headache where I couldn’t stand light, noise, movement without a bout of nausea. I’ve had mini migraines and tension headaches before but this was a whole new level.
I’ve been a rather stressed and tired bunny for a long time. And I had some social events coming up which had sent my shoulders in to tense, hunch back mode – and together with struggling to sleep and other stressors it just sent me over the edge.
So, unsurprisingly, I was even more keen to get this trial started!
Each night I’ve been staying away from my phone and laptop screen for at least an hour before bed, writing down any worries I have, and trying to fit in some reading (even if only for 2 minutes). I already get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep (when I can sleep), but I’m trying to push that closer to the 8 hour mark. For more info on what I’m doing and why then you can check out my last blog post.
So how have I found it? Well, I don’t know whether this is the trial or because I’ve just been so wiped out with the migraine, but I’ve slept SO MUCH BETTER!
Not looking at my phone has been a real challenge, especially on the nights it’s still in the same room as me for that hour. I have the pull of “must check what’s happened on Instagram” or “what if someone’s messaged me”. Nothing that can’t wait has so far ever happened when not checking my phone. What’s worked really well is before that “hour before bedtime” point, I take my phone upstairs by my bed, plug it in to charge, and set the alarm. Then I know it’s dealt with and I don’t have to think about it. And actually, it’s quite nice – there’s this kind of “peaceful” feeling about knowing that your time with your phone is done for the day.
Writing down my worries really didn’t help at the start of the week, but over the days I tweaked how I did this exercise. Rather than just writing everything down, I started writing the worry, along with a more helpful thought. For example:
Unhelpful worry: That piece of work I did is shit and my manager will hate it.
Helpful thought: I did the best piece of work I could do in that situation, and either way I’ve progressed something that otherwise would not have got done.
I don’t have to fully believe that helpful thought when I write it down, but I find it does take the edge off my worry. I also started writing down one nice thing that I’d done that day. It could be as small as smiling at someone in the corridor, but in a week of a hell of a lot of negative self-talk (we all know those weeks!) it really makes a difference to how I feel about myself. These, along with my usual gratitude journal (all of which I do in my bullet journal), are helping me to reflect, take the edge off my worries, and end the day in a more positive place. They’re not a perfect solution, but a step in a helpful direction for my sleep.
As for reading, it is just the most calming and mindful task you can do. Often within a couple of pages my eyes are drooping and I’m ready to drop off!
What you can do:
- Join along with me! Do all, or even just one, of the things I’m doing before bed. If you’re going to commit to not having your phone around you, then go and plug it into charge, with your alarm already set, an hour before bed. Have a book by your bedside that you want to read, even if just for a page. If you have stress dreams then try and write them down before you go to bed, alongside an alternative way of thinking about it!
- If none of these are you, then try and add something that suits you into your bedtime routine. Maybe have a bath. Maybe do bedtime yoga. Maybe just dim the lights and light a candle. Whatever works for you!
- Comment below with what you’re trying/have tried! Would to love to get further ideas for what I could incorporate!