So I woke up this morning with a burning question on my mind. What on the earth was I going to blog about??!
With a million thoughts running through my mind, the task of selecting one single topic seemed like it would be quite the process. BUT then it hit me. What is in common with having a million thoughts?? Anyone?? Anyone at all?? Alright, I’ll spill. Sleep!
That’s right, I’m not sure about you but there are some nights when my brain will literally not shut down, I’m flooded with thoughts that are ground breaking and then literally other thoughts that are absolutely pointless (and then I have to stop and think why I even thought about those useless thoughts in the first place.. do you see this vicious cycle??)
Sleep for me comes and goes… allow me to explain that phrase further. I have this magical condition called Insomnia, which to shed some light is commonly coupled with those who have bipolar. Sleep is a magical thing if you ask me. There are some days or weeks where I will literally struggle to close my eyes for more than 2 hrs a night. And other nights and days I strain to open my eyes after a 10 hr snooze which I call “Sleeping Beauty Syndrome”
Why the drastic difference with my sleeping patterns especially when I claim insomnia?
Simple, the weeks I feel like a superhero that doesn’t need more than a couple hours of sleep I am in my manic state. A state when I run faster than a Duracell Bunny, literally. A high that when I am in it, I quote “sleep is for the weak.”
It’s not, don’t worry – sleep is for the healthy.
However this brings me to the point of when I excessively sleep, this is the period when I hit my low, my depressive state (not so fun) Sleep seems like the safest and most logical form of avoidance (I’ll explain that thought process on a later date)… nottttt the best way to deal with life BUT hey! I’m human.
So what’s my happy medium? It’s is about 7-8 hrs of sleep. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would hit the trademark “optimal hours of sleep” but lo and behold here I am in 2015 sleeping regularly within that time frame- for the most part.
What’s my secret?
Firstly (this is mainly applicable to those with bipolar) Medication.
Is medication the B-ALL to falling asleep? No! HECK NO! But for me it was something that my doctors and I agreed was necessary for me to start building healthy regular sleeping habits. And it has helped… ALOT.
Perhaps a prescribed sleeping aide is not necessary for you, there are defiantly natural alternatives out there to explore I would recommend talking to your doctor about the right options for you)
Alright now for some tips I’ve been taught along the way (applicable to everyone)
- Eat a banana before bed. One of my mom’s friends is a nurse and told me this tip. Bananas are a natural source of melatonin, the sleep hormone, as well as tryptophan. YAY for bananas!
- Drink warm milk before bed. I thinks it’s just a relaxant, with a calming affect. Tip: add honey with a wee bit of cinnamon (not a lot because cinnamon is a natural spice used to raise your metabolism)
- DO NOT use your phone, computer or TV an hour or so before bed (or in bed) This is because these devices emit a blue light, which your brain registers as day time… who would’a knew?
- Get up outta bed that’s right, you read it correctly. When your tossing and turning the best thing you can do is get up out of bed. When you stay in bed restlessly, your training your body to feel anxiety about sleep- in the very place it’s supposed to sleep… twisted.
- Do low simulating activities till you feel drowsy. Again this is recommended when you are out of your bed, for instance I’ll do crosswords till I start to feel drowsy, then I’ll crawl back in bed and try round two.
- Set your Internal Clock. This one is perhaps the most challenging tip BUT for me has made the difference. After so many years of my sleeping being all over the map I screwed up my internal clock and any form of regular sleep was beyond my grasp (even with medication) So the trick, wake up everyday at the same time, regardless to if you fall asleep at 2 am or 4am, when you do this your internal clock will start to reset (it may take a few weeks, CONSISTENCY is key) and eventually you should be able to start falling asleep and waking up at a decent time.
Hopefully something in that mix sticks and helps out with your sweet dreams.