Sleep is so important but it can be so elusive. For the most part, I’ve always been able to sleep well - especially if I exercise each day. But there are times it has escaped me. Raising infants and children being one major time. Traveling across time zones can be a challenge to sleep - which I am presently doing. I was just in Iceland – the land of fire and ice - but also the land where the sun can perpetually shine, for the past 3 days. For instance, tonight the sun will set around 11pm and then rise around 3:20 am. With complete darkness only being about an hour. So, not only am I fighting jet lag, but also the midnight sun. [...]
However, two times in my life stand out in regards to sleep difficulties. Each instance took extensive work and a well-researched self-designed program to be able to get back to a regular schedule.
One recent difficult time I had in my life was in June of 2013 after my father died. I was overcome with overwhelming fatigue. I felt like a deflated balloon. It was the type of exhaustive fatigue that prevented me from my usual exercise, thinking clearly and even being too tired to sleep. I believe it was soul exhaustion. This was an emotional fatigue from grief. This required intensive intervention.
A more recent time was due to late hours studying from for my doctorate in Physical Therapy. It was an online program based in Arizona. Arizona time was either 2 or 3 hours earlier than Ohio. If a paper or project was due by midnight, that meant I could turn it in at 2 or 3am Ohio time. Sad to say, this late schedule often happened because procrastination or just life got in the way. Those late college hours were difficult to keep for this 50-something year-old! After graduation last June, I had to reset my clock.
When your internal clock is set, you will automatically wake up at the same time each day without an alarm. It can be hard to believe that one does not need a pharmaceutical to fall asleep and stay asleep or one to wake up – but it is possible!
I needed to get back to this bio-rhythm! My methods worked both times. And as well to cure my jet lag and midnight sun challenges in Iceland. So, I know it can be done! And I’d like to share with you some of my tips.
So ... here we go.
First of all, what am I doing to sleep here in Iceland?
1. At the time I want to sleep, I put on a white noise app on my phone, of which I actually use the brown noise. Another option is to use ear plugs. Wearing an eye mask, and using room darkening curtains signals your body that it’s time to go to sleep. Click HERE to check out white noise apps.
2. Turn off all electronics one to two hours before going to sleep. When you do use electronics later at night - or read - blue light blocking glasses are helpful. My glasses are from Swanick. Click HERE to check out some Swannie’s.
3. Take some form of natural sleep aid like melatonin. I use this Liposomal Melatonin by BioPure. Many herbs are helpful as well such as chamomile. Other helpful herbs are - Valerian Root, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Passionflower, and Magnolia Bark. Click HERE for link to BioPure products.
4. Essential oils can be helpful. I often use a SLEEP blend of Orange, tangerine, blue tansy, ylang ylang, lavender, lime, spikinard and citronella which is from Vibrant Blue Oils. These oils can be dabbed behind the ears, sprinkled on your pillow, diffused, or even massaged onto your body or feet. If an option, taking a hot bath with some oils mixed into magnesium and potassium salts can be very sleep inducing. Click HERE to check out Vibrant Blue oils.
5. Listen to a sleep inducing meditation such as Yoga Nidra. My go to is one on the insight meditation app. I never get through the whole 20-minute meditation before falling asleep. Click HERE to check out the Insight Timer app.
6. Elevate your legs higher than your heart. Either prop them up on a pillow or on the headboard – doing Viparita Karani yoga posture. Elevating your legs is always relaxing to the nervous system and the heart.
7. Practice belly or abdominal breathing with the belly rising and falling for 5 to 10 minutes. While breathing through your nostrils, attempt to work up to a 5-count inhale and an 8-12 count exhale.
8. Catch the sunrise and sunset each day to reset your clock. Let the light enter your eyes. In Iceland, no problem waking up to some sun. But it sure can be an issue catching a reasonable time for a sunrise and sunset to reset your clock. However, if wherever you are - it’s a cloudy or rainy day - or the sun is rising too late for you, then you can use this type of device called the human charger. It shines light into your ears for 10 minutes and helps to wake up the brain. Click HERE to check out the Human Charger.
9. Exercise or do some type of movement early in the day. This will wake up the nervous system, while being too stimulating if done later in the day. Even a brisk walk is helpful. Preferably in the fresh air and sunshine if it’s available.
So, that’s it!!
Hope this post was helpful to you so you can have sweet dreams and many productive happy days.
Catch you next time.
And, Be Well.
Questions/ comments? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimers: No connections or income made from any products listed above except for an affiliate connection with Vibrant Blue Oils, and a distributor for BioPure products. This information is not meant to qualify as medical advice. Please see your health care practitioner for proper individualized medical advice.