My current favourite thing would be a full nights sleep. There was a time in my youth when I could go from parties to the workplace on a couple of hours sleep and remain a fully functioning person. Currently, I am fully functioning until about 9 pm. I should be watching edgy box sets until midnight, instead of wondering if I can stay awake until the end of Bake Off.
Sleep becomes such a precious thing once you become a parent, something to covet. The ultimate parenting achievement seems to be a child that sleeps through. Although babies aren’t designed to sleep for 8 hours. Once babies become less night owl, they grow into dawn loving toddlers and a parent’s main outlay is DVD’s to fill the gap between 5 am and the start of Cbeebies at 6. Tiredness becomes a wearying companion. It has shades from absolute brain frying to a shallow film, that renders the world as if viewed through a slightly grubby window. Those years are behind us but sleep is something I still chase.
Every so often I have periods of insomnia and then without explanation, or reason, sleep returns in a to normal pattern.
Over this summer, my brain has developed a pattern of waking in the night, mostly for an hour or so. On difficult nights, longer. Some nights, I seem to gently wake. On others I feel as if I’ve been ejected from a dream, jerking awake as if a brake has been applied too suddenly. I lie in the dark for a while. Check the clock hoping to see 6 am, mostly it’s a development on 3 am; 3.09, 3.17 or 3.23.
For an hour or so my mind wanders like a car looking for a space in a busy car park, round and round it goes. Randomly moving through insignificant things; Need to clear out my wardrobe. Must reply to that email. The photos on my phone need downloading.
A sandwich of sleep, with an hour or so of wakefulness in between. Then in the morning, the time awake seems almost dream like and all the small things easily forgotten (unless I write them down).
In the past, I’ve tried imagining a tropical paradise, via hypnotherapy recordings. Until paradise stopped inducing sleep, maybe I needed a holiday. I can’t concentrate on mindfulness apps, syrup voices a background drone to thoughts of re-organising my desk or other minor concern.
Over the counter sleep tablets, which wrapped me in the a wonderful bundle of deep sleep and smoothed all the creases. Waking up was like swimming to the surface of deep blue pool. Then the negative press, ended that.
While not being cure-all, things induce a better nights sleep are internet free evenings, reading, a long bath and bath oil, specifically this one, which I reviewed last year and still eke out on an emergency basis. Practically, this arsenal isn’t always possible to deploy and currently, isn’t working.
Regular sleep helpers currently include;
It’s not hammer on the head soporific, I find the scent and application to pulse points of ‘Sleep balm by This Works’ comforting.
Drops of lavender oil on my pillow and a sprig of lavender in a vase.
Counting backwards from 100, but often by 88 my mind is in-car park mode again, going around and around. Counting slowly and more deliberately focuses the mind.
Putting my pillow at the other end of the bed and changing ends. I’ve no idea why and I’m always loathe to do it.
Yoga breathing, in for the count of 4, hold a moment, and out for the count of 4.
On very bad nights, after a couple of hours of real restlessness, I take a pile of blankets and book and settle on the sofa. A some reading and a change of room works.
I was wondering what works for other people? Any top tips?