Sleep Revolution

When I was a baby, whenever my parents had people over, they would ask "Are you sure that she's alright?" - apparently, a baby that sleeps whenever and wherever is a rarity. But it's true: I slept through the night very early, and as soon as you put me down, I passed out.

At around age 8, I started having my first nightmares (that I can remember). A closet that took up the entire wall in our bedroom threw a weird shadow on the opposite wall so that I was convinced it was a bad man crouching down, waiting for me to fall asleep so he could grab me and steal me away. This meant I had trouble falling asleep, and then whenever I woke up in the middle of the night, I was really scared. 

As a teenager, I developed some of the bad sleeping habits I have now (staying up later than necessary, having cell phone and laptop in bed, drinking alcohol & snacking late in the evening), and its also the first time my anxiety reared its head.

Strangely, things normalized again at university; while I did my share of partying, I was opposed to all-night cram sessions, rather going to bed and then getting up a little bit earlier, always convinced this was more effective. Whenever I was depressed or feeling lonely, I instinctively did the right thing and curled up in bed.

For the last few years, however, my sleep pattern has been all over the place. I have become an early riser, never being able to sleep in longer than 8 AM. I still have those bad sleeping habits, and on top of that, my anxiety is a lot worse than it was a few years ago. Most nights, I am awake at least an hour before I finally have my brain calmed down enough to fall asleep. I am restless, waking up a few times per night and then tossing and turning, trying to go back to sleep; all of that combined adds up to around 4-5 hours of sleep per night, which is simply not enough.

This year, I have the goal of reading 17 books - we're already 6 months in, and I've finally managed to read my third! After Hannah Brencher's "If you find this Letter" and Lily Collins' "Unfiltered", I finally got around to Arianna Huffington's "The Sleep Revolution".

For a non-fiction book, this one was a real page turner for me. Insightful, full of personal anecdotes, and very well researched, "The Sleep Revolution" clearly shows just how much not sleeping enough can impact our health, and gives great tools for making sleep more of a priority in our lives. Did you know, for example, that just a few nights of less than 8 hours of sleep have the same effect on your body as if you were constantly drunk?

If you've ever had trouble with sleep, or getting to sleep, I can really recommend this book. In fact, after you read it, I encourage you to come back here and join me in making your own sleep resolutions! Maybe if we all decide that sleep is just as important as all our other goals for the year, we can finally all get enough of it.

My Sleep Resolutions

  • stop feeling bad/old for going to bed early - if you get up early, you should go to bed early!
  • turn off devices 30 minutes before sleeping, even if it means not finishing the episode
  • create a bedtime routine (incl. skin care, outfit planning, maybe journaling)
  • change sheets more often, because there's nothing better than fresh, crisp sheets
  • have seperate sleep & chill-out clothes to signal to the body that it's now time for bed
  • continue to work on healthy snacking & be more firm with not drinking during the week
  • try meditation | tea | reading | yoga before bed to relax
  • work out twice a week
  • be patient with myself as I implement these changes

Photo by Redd Angelo on Unsplash