Over the past few months I’ve been struggling to fall asleep. I used to be the sort of person who could sleep the minute my head hit the pillow, so I’m on a mission to find a way to get back to that. Here are some things that have helped.
I’m pretty sure most of my insomnia stems from anxiety and my fight or flight response being triggered. The tossing and turning and watching the time tick away ends up sending me into a physical and mental spiral. My anxiety manifests in restless limbs, a racing heart and thoughts. Here’s an insight into my inner dialogue…
“Has my pillow always been this uncomfy?”
“Why do my arms feel too arm-y?”
“Did I lock the door?”
“No, I’m not checking it. I need to relax.”
“What do I have to do tomorrow? Maybe I should check my phone.”
“Oh no, it’s 3am and I have to be up in 4 hours.”
Sound familiar? I have something that may help.
In a desperate attempt to fall asleep one night I was frantically searching for solutions on TikTok - my new Google! Something that was mentioned a lot was 4,7,8 breathing. This technique helps slow down your breathing enough to mimic the rhythm you’d have if you were asleep, helping prepare your body (and mind) to fully relax.
I stuck with it and within 20 mins or so I eventually fell asleep. I now use this when I’m really struggling.
Sleep cycle trackingSometimes I forget that, as a woman , I’m run by a complex set of hormones. Something I’ve become aware of is I struggle to fall asleep on certain days of my cycle. When I did some digging on this I found that when progesterone reduces, towards the end of the luteal phase and before menstruation, sleep problems can occur. A drop in progesterone can affect the body’s temperature control and in turn affect sleep quality.
I’m in the early stages of looking into this but I found this fascinating. I’lll keep you posted.
Chasing the sun
I know you’ve probably heard daylight exposure really helps sleep but there’s a reason it’s spoken about so much - it really works.
I feel way more sleepy in the evening when I’ve been outside in the morning. I’ve been getting off my bus slightly earlier and walking the rest of the way on my commute and this is really helping.
I’ve also been topping up my vitamin D levels with Beam & Balance as I wear factor 50 for most of the day. I think this combination has really helped my circadian rhythm.
I also love this sleep drink recipe. Give it go!
Written by Liv - Head Of Content & Community at Bare Biology