If you’ve stayed up late intentionally and felt it the next day, perhaps you thought to yourself, “Hm, maybe I better not do that again because it’s affecting me.” But if you struggle with insomnia, or a child with sleep struggles, or even bad dreams and chronic fatigue despite enough sleep, you are most likely at your wits end knowing what to do to help the issue. I’ve always functioned best with around 9 hours of sleep, but in college this former perfectionist English major overextended herself writing papers or studying for tests until way too late or early too often and dealt with the consequences of self-induced sleep deprivation. In retrospect after having children and 8 long years of struggling with sleep, I wish I chose lower grades back then and provided myself with the sleep I needed instead. Once you deal with insomnia or even simply have a baby for that matter, you may sleep lightly, but you do not take lack of sleep lightly.
If you’re in the same boat or have a child that just does not sleep well and that affects you, you’re not alone. Your bones may ache along with your head, the brain fog is real, and the exhaustion can make coping with every day such a struggle. I don’t really have a one-size fits all cure, but I hope what I have to share can encourage you on your journey; lifted spirits can make your dragging feet a little less heavy. I see you, you matter, and your life can contain joy despite this affliction!
Now I am experiencing early morning waking due to pregnancy bathroom trips, and feel tired yet again, but I no longer feel debilitated by chronic exhaustion. You CAN make improvements even if it doesn’t resolve immediately, so don’t give up hope! Keep reading about stress reduction methods and finding out what triggers you need to avoid to give yourself the optimal rest possible. You’re worth the effort and discipline it may take!
A few things that have helped me and my kiddos are:
Nighttime Routine: I prep for this by 2 p.m. by banning caffeine after that time (in general I don’t drink caffeine anyhow unless it’s a mug of green tea, or have much sugar in my diet). For my kids, it’s a bath or shower, teeth care, storytime, a song and lights out. After an hour or so of quiet myself (no shows, maybe reading, sometimes writing), and probably a hot candlelit shower, I may listen to an Abide YouTube talkdown if needing extra to quiet my brain.
Magnesium supplementing. For my kids, I make sure they have a multivitamin and mineral to take as well as using magnesium lotion on their feet (Life-Flo brand that smells like vanilla is one we’ve used and enjoyed). It helps with leg cramps and restless legs as well.
Weighted blankets: I can’t sleep without mine. I feel like I’m floating without it and toss and turn, but it grounds me and reduces anxiety for a lot of people as well.
Inversion Table: This worked particularly well for ridding myself of disturbing dreams. I read somewhere about the Vagus nerve being where the fight or flight response happens, and that if we are upside down it helps signal to our brains that we are not in danger. I would wake up in the middle of the night with heart racing and have horrible dreams and had awful insomnia, so I was desperate to try anything while trying to avoid sleep medications. (The once during postpartum that I tried them, it made the dreams more vivid and disturbing). I bought an inversion table with a heat massager *in it and would lie on it slanted downward for 5 minutes per night while listening to calm music or whatnot and a blanket over me. It worked! After 3 months of regularly doing this, my bad dreams went away and I stopped jolting awake in a sweat.
Progesterone: Women, it is especially important to make sure your hormones are balanced! My adrenal fatigue and exhaustion, anxiety and insomnia I believe were all linked to my hormone imbalance. Once my integrative physician did blood testing and got me on bio-identical progesterone, which is the calming hormone, my sleep normalized even more.
Meditation: A lot of people talk about meditation. But it’s HARD for people like me with overactive, ADD brains. Still, making it a habit helps me stick to it. If I can’t focus on what I’m reading, I’ll listen to it instead via the many available audio platforms. I try to spend 10 minutes per night reading and prayer, and I especially enjoy the Psalms. See the free printable below that I made for my daughter’s room if you find comfort in the Psalms as well.
Blessings to you on your journey, friend.
If you’re interested in the free printable below I created on Canva for my daughter’s room makeover, click the download button and print at the size that works best for you. (I printed mine to fit a 5×7 frame). Scroll down for the video to watch her room makeover if you like as well!
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