Best Quiet Activities for Insomniacs

Are you surprised that I pulled an all-nighter last night? Apparently, I give good advice but I seldom follow it despite my best intentions. I write about this topic a lot because insomnia is currently something that I am majorly struggling with these days. I absolutely hate the feeling of being wide awake when I should be sleeping, which really throws off my sleep schedule and negatively impacts my #mood. Whether or not we are conscious of it, everything from the air we breathe to the things we do are interconnected.

Whenever I have insomnia, I know how tempting it is to just lie in bed and do nothing. However, doing nothing often makes my insomnia worse. Last night, I was up until 0600 after I promised myself that I would be in bed by midnight. Not gonna lie, I can barely function today. However, on rare occasions, insomnia has been a creative outlet for me. For instance, I often end up writing #poetry when I can’t sleep, which you can find under the page titled “Poetry.”

REDEFINING SLEEP [CONT…] 🌙✨

In case you missed my previous blog posts about Improving Sleep Hygiene and 8 Ways to Sleep Better, I highly recommend reading them first. Now that we got that out of the way, what do you do when you have tried everything and still cannot sleep? 🙄 What do you do when you find yourself tossing and turning in bed at 0200? If you happen to be scrolling through your phone at an ungodly hour because you cannot sleep, then you picked the right blog post to read! 💁‍♀️ In this blog post, we will discuss five quiet activities that you can try when insomnia strikes. Hopefully, these tips will help you get the sleep that you desperately seek.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor and I am not here to give you medical advice. Please talk to your doctor if insomnia is a persistent problem to rule out any underlying medical conditions. There may be an underlying cause for your insomnia that can be treated. Additionally, your doctor can recommend other treatments or strategies that may help you sleep better.

Redefining Sleep: Best Quiet Activities for Insomniacs

1. Write in a journal. Keeping a journal is one of the best ways to work through anxiety or stress and fall asleep. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try writing out your thoughts in a personal journal. The act of writing your thoughts down will help you organize your ideas and let go of some stress that may be contributing to your insomnia.

♡ Photo by Miesha Maiden on Pexels.com

2. Listen to instrumental music. Listening to calming music when you’re trying to fall asleep is a great idea, in theory. Studies suggest that vocal-free music can actually help keep you awake since it activates our brain’s auditory cortex, which is known for being overactive in insomnia sufferers. Instrumental and/or ambient sounds like rainfall, wind chimes, or nature sounds (ocean waves, anyone?) tend to be more soothing. Personally, I love listening to BTS piano music on YouTube and the best YouTube channel in my opinion is Smyang Piano 🎧 Here are some songs that I listen to on repeat:

♡ Photo by Yuri Yuhara on Pexels.com

3. Read a book. Books are one of many quiet activities you can do when you have insomnia. Books don’t require all your attention, which means you can easily read one while also doing another task that requires less focus. This makes it a great activity for winding down at night before bed. Plus, reading about topics that interest you may help get your mind off any problems keeping you up. That being said, try not to read anything that is too exciting or makes you think critically.

4. Take deep breaths. Breathing deeply can help you relax and fall asleep faster, which is important if you have trouble falling and staying asleep. I cannot stress this enough, but it is best not to look at your phone, TV, or computer while practicing deep breathing—all of these activities stimulate your brain and body. In a previous blog post, I talked about using the 3-7-8 breathing exercise which you can read more about here.

5. Clean the house. Keeping your house clean isn’t just good for your mood; it can also help you de-stress, clear your mind and possibly even improve your sleep hygiene. The habit of cleaning before bed is a useful one because it can prevent unwanted distractions at night and make you feel more peaceful when it comes time to fall asleep. I recommend checking out this related blog post which includes a daily checklist to help you stay organized and in control of your environment.

♡ Photo by Ivan Samkov on Pexels.com

(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ FINAL THOUGHTS ♥

Insomnia can be a frustrating condition that makes it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. When you find yourself tossing and turning in bed, you can refer to my list of five quiet activities to help you wind down and drift off to sleep. Do you agree with this list of suggestions? Is there anything that I missed? Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment below ↓ #Sweet-dreams

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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8 Ways to Sleep Better

Some of you know that I struggle with depression and it seems to come in waves. I am going to be totally honest when I tell you that I am struggling with situational depression this month. If we were having coffee and you asked me how I was doing, I would tell you that I am not fucking fine. I don’t swear a lot so I want to emphasize and drive home the fact that things are not sunshine and rainbows over here. Mentally, I am struggling to come to terms with things. I am in no mood to explain what these things are but I might write about it in an upcoming blog post. I am just tired of receiving bad news all the damn time and I do not want to drag all of you down with my negativity.

Whenever I am really struggling with situational depression, my sleep schedule is usually the first thing to go. This week, I have been extremely sleep-deprived as I was staying up until 0500 – 0600 and waking up at 1030 to send my daughter to school. It is hard to find balance when I am dealing with these strong, negative emotions and lack of motivation. I am barely functioning from lack of sleep. Last Wednesday, I missed sending my daughter to school because I slept through my alarm. I feel like I am failing as a mother and this is not one of my prouder moments.

Redefining the Way You Sleep ✨🌙

In case you missed my post about Improving Sleep Hygiene, I highly recommend reading it first. From years of struggling with insomnia as well as excessive worrying, I know that sleep is vital for a person’s health and well-being. I also know that sleep is even more important for those who struggle with #mental-health and mood regulation. If you are currently experiencing sleep problems, then I suggest checking out my list below ↓ Here are some ways to help you get some sleep for a more productive day! 💁‍♀️

Redefining Sleep: 8 Ways to Sleep Better

1. Figure out how much sleep you need. If you are not getting enough sleep, then your body and mind are not going to function the way they should. You will feel tired and groggy, even when you wake up early. If you don’t address it now, then sleep deprivation can ultimately wreak havoc on your health. If you want to get some rest, you can start by making a plan to determine how much sleep is right for you. While some people can get away with 4 hours of sleep each night, others require more sleep.

2. Have a nighttime routine. Do you find yourself waking up during your sleep cycle? Chances are, you’re probably not getting enough REM sleep. During REM sleep, your body is working hard to replenish and repair itself. Having a nighttime routine can help get you into bed faster and fall asleep quicker, and it may even help regulate your circadian rhythm by teaching your body to start winding down at the same time each day. This might sound counterintuitive, but having a set bedtime and morning routine can actually make it easier to fall asleep at night.

3. Be consistent. We are all guilty of not always following what we say we are going to do. However, one good way to keep a consistent sleep schedule is to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, including weekends and holidays. Also, don’t doze off for an hour in front of your computer or TV late at night; if you can’t fall asleep by 2200, get up and go to bed anyways.

4. Hello, sunshine! 🌞 If you’re having trouble sleeping, then a lack of natural light might be to blame. Spend some time each day getting at least 15 minutes of sunlight and your body will get used to feeling more awake (and alive) in the morning. Sunlight also helps reset your circadian rhythm, which is your internal clock and plays a role in sleep regulation. Since we associate darkness with going to bed, getting sunlight will trick your brain into thinking it’s time to wake up! ☕💕

5. Reward Yourself. When you are struggling to get a good night’s sleep, make it easier on yourself. You could try starting your day with a refreshing shower or a short walk outside. Exercise can also help improve your quality of sleep as well. Making time for #self-care is an important part of sleeping well at night. If you still can’t fall asleep, try adding some relaxing activities before bedtime such as taking a bath or listening to relaxing music.

6. Plan the Next Day. It is natural to have an off day or a bad week from time to time, but it can also be difficult to get back on track if you fail to plan for these mishaps. Instead of waiting for the morning, plan your next day prior to bed. In 30 minutes, you can figure out what needs to be done tomorrow and how much time each task will take. 

7. Turn off social media. The blue light from social media keeps you up at night. If you have trouble sleeping, I suggest that you deactivate your account and read a book. And please don’t bring your phone with you into bed. If you must use your phone as an alarm clock like many people do, then you need to check out this blog post for a sans phone solution.

8. Eat light before bedtime. While a few crackers won’t hurt, too many late-night calories could lead to weight gain. It is important not only to avoid eating close to bedtime but also skipping meals altogether, as that leads your body and mind into starvation mode, which can leave you feeling tired and cranky in addition to losing precious hours of valuable shuteye.


(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ FINAL THOUGHTS ♥

Sleep is a critical part of staying healthy and it is not just limited to your physical or mental well-being. Like eating well and exercising regularly, it is important to make sleep a priority in your life. If you want to be at your best, then you need your beauty sleep. And while everyone has their own way of sleeping better, there are some general tips that can help you start getting more—and better—sleep every night. Do you agree with this list of suggestions? Is there anything that I missed? Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment below ↓ #Sweet-dreams

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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Surviving January

(◔_◔)っQuestion: Is January a depressing month for you?

It is the beginning of a New Year and I am already off to a rocky start. I have been depressed since New Year’s Eve. I wasn’t planning to stay up past midnight but my husband and daughter insisted that I watch the fireworks with them… on TV. We had planned to watch the fireworks IRL but plans were canceled due to extreme weather conditions, which is not surprising to anyone who lives in western Canada. Okay, maybe I am being a bit melodramatic, but to give you an idea of how cold Canada is, I wanted to share a photo with you that my husband took on his phone. Just looking at this photo makes me feel cold! #brrr

I am Feeling Blue (SAD)

The New Year is meant to be a hopeful time for us all. Many of us have ambitious goals and feel motivated to crush our goals or face our inner demons. How many of you are familiar with the saying, This will be my year? or New Year, New Me? As tempting as it is to push the reset button on January 1, reality does not have a reset button. January 1, 2022, is no different than December 31, 2021, unless you decide to make a change and take action to make it different. Usually, I am motivated enough to make a list of resolutions for the new year, but this year, I am struggling with my mental health which includes Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It could also be due to the fact that the holidays are over and there isn’t Christmas to occupy my mind anymore. It could also be due to the fact that I have to go out in the real world again and I have the harsh realization that I am still dealing with social anxiety. To be honest, I haven’t done much to overcome that during the Christmas holiday. 🎄🎁

❄ The Long, Long Winter ❄

I want to hide under the blankets and hibernate until spring 2022. Nothing about winter feels rejuvenating to me. I cannot wait for spring because spring brings me hope. I need longer days, warmer weather, and sunshine in order to thrive 🌞🌻 In the meantime, I know that routines are essential when it comes to surviving the long, long winter. Last year, I distracted myself by doing a No Spend Challenge in January 2021. However, this year, I don’t even have the motivation or mental energy to participate in this challenge. When I tried the No Spend Challenge last year, I enjoyed it very much so I still recommend checking out this challenge if you want to save some money and/or get out of debt. I am 30 years old and live well below my means. Both my husband and I are frugal people and we are actively saving for a brighter future. I might write more about frugality and money-saving tips in future blog posts 🤔

Insomnia Strikes Again

Confession time: I am not good with diary-style blog posts because it takes me several hours to edit them, and even longer if I am struggling to find the energy or motivation to write. I am editing this blog post on January 5, 2022, but I wrote the rough draft on January 3, 2022. To give you some context, I was supposed to work on Sunday, January 2, 2022 (day shift) but I did not sleep at all the night before. I had horrible insomnia because my 5-year old daughter kept me up until 0300 slamming doors and being obnoxious. I am a very light sleeper who needs earplugs and sleeping masks; even that doesn’t seem to help much. On day shifts, I have to wake up at 0430, so I was both physically and mentally exhausted. That morning, I had a pounding insomniac headache which forced me to call in “sick” at 0415. I feel bad for being that person who canceled last minute.

Below is a screenshot from my Instagram account. Feel free to follow me on IG even though I stopped uploading on IG a long time ago. I let go of IG because it wasn’t good for my mental health. You can only filter so much content, and even then, the algorithm is not perfect. There always seemed to be something triggering on IG no matter what I did which is why I took an extra-long, extended hiatus. Looking back, using #victim as a hashtag was a bit melodoramatic. Anywho…. as you can see, insomnia is still an ongoing problem in my life which could also be contributing to my $hit mood. 😴 I have tried everything to help me sleep and I even wrote a blog post about improving sleep hygiene a couple years ago. Insomnia is an ongoing problem for many of us who live in cold climates.

Not only am I disappointed when other people let me down, but I feel really bad when I let others down. I admit that I feel guilty for canceling my shift when I know that they are counting on me to show up and be present at work. I also noticed that this is not the first time that I had to cancel a day shift due to insomnia. What is it about early mornings that I despise so much? I call these “sick” days my mental health days or self-care days. I have to remember to be kind to myself, especially on days when I am struggling with anxiety and depression. Also, I have to remember to practice self-compassion which has started to gain more popularity over the years, especially in the mental health community. If you haven’t heard of the self-compassion movement, I recommend checking out this Ted Talk by Kristin Neff on Youtube.

I had planned to stay in bed all day but then I remembered that I had to go to work the following day (another day shift). Then I remembered that the world goes on without me whether I like it or not, and that the Earth will keep spinning regardless of how I feel. Sometimes, taking a day off after a horrible night of insomnia is absolutely necessary, but I cannot hide under the blankets forever. I know that I will have to get out of bed today and that it is only a matter of time before I have to go back to work. Tomorrow will come and I will have to face the real world once more. I might not see the light right now, but I know that there will be happier, sunnier days ahead.

Do you believe that changing seasons affect your mood? If you live in the northern hemisphere with a cold climate, how do you get enough sunlight? Please join the conversation by leaving a comment below ↓ I look forward to reading your comments. I hope that you are all staying safe and healthy during the winter season. 😷

Thanks for stopping by!

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Creature of the Night

Disclaimer: This poem was originally posted as a separate daughter page, so nobody stumbled upon it. I am editing and re-publishing all of my poems to reflect the direction that this blog is headed in. Thank you for understanding. If you like this poem, feel free to check out my other poetry musings here.

Thanks for reading! ♡

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Improving Sleep Hygiene

As somebody with a history of depression and the tendency to stay in bed all day if only my toddler would let me, I struggle with sleep hygiene. During my second cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) session last month, my therapist gave me a list of ways to help improve my sleep hygiene. I want to share these helpful tips with you, especially if you deal with frequent bouts of insomnia or have mild to moderate depression.

Improving Sleep Through Behaviour Change

Stimulus Control Procedures

  1. Go to sleep when you are sleepy.
    The longer you stay in bed, the more the bed is associated with a place to be awake instead of asleep. If you need to, delay going to bed until you are sleepy. No, this does not mean watching TV or using your smart phone. Screens emit a blue light which messes with your circadian rhythm.
  2. Get out of bed when you cannot fall asleep or go back to sleep in 15 minutes. 
    Get out of bed if you cannot fall asleep after giving it your best effort. It is better to get out of bed than it is to keep laying in bed with your ruminating thoughts. Once you are out of bed, return to bed when you are feeling sleepy again. The goal is to associate your bed with sleepiness.
  3. Only Use the bed for sleep and sex.
    Avoid other activities that do not involve sleeping or lovemaking. Activities to avoid include watching TV, listening to the radio, eating, or reading in your bed.

Sleep Hygiene Guidelines

  • Caffeine Avoid consuming caffeine 6-8 hours before bedtime. Caffeine disturbs your natural sleep rhythm. I would suggest cutting off caffeine consumption around 1700 (5:00 PM) so you will feel sleepier prior to bedtime.

  • Nicotine Avoid nicotine before bedtime because nicotine is a stimulant which keeps you awake. Avoid tobacco before bedtime and during the night as well.
  • Alcohol I don’t know about you, but alcohol makes me drowsy. Even though alcohol promotes the onset of sleep which makes you feel sleepy, alcohol also interrupts your natural sleep pattern. Avoid consuming alcohol less than 4 hours before going to sleep.

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Because we don’t get this drink in Canada. If it’s fruity and sweet, I’m probably going to drink it.

  • Sleeping Pills Sleep medications are an effective short-term treatment for people who struggle with falling asleep at night. However, sleep medications lose their effectiveness in approx. 2-4 weeks when they are taken regularly. Over time, sleeping pills may actually make sleep problems worse due to dependency; withdrawal from the medication can cause insomnia. Use sleep medications only if you need them and avoid relying on them long-term.
  • Regular Exercise Do not exercise within 2 hours of bedtime since exercise excites the nervous system and interferes with your ability to sleep. I am guilty for exercising right before bedtime…
  • Bedroom Environment Your bedroom should have a moderate temperature and it should be quiet and dark. Personally, I leave the window open at night and close the blinds. Also, I sleep with earplugs and an eye-mask which helps a lot.
  • Eating A light bedtime snack, such as a glass of warm milk, a banana, or a piece of cheese can promote sleep. Avoid eating snacks in the middle of the night because awakening may become associated with hunger.

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Eat all the yummy things; my mom really knows how to host a party! 🥳

  • Avoid Naps OK, I am totally guilty of this one! I love afternoon naps and will occasionally take an afternoon nap, typically lasting at least 1 hour in length. Now that my toddler lives with me 24/7, she doesn’t let me take naps. The sleep you get during the day will essentially take away from the amount of sleep you need that night. If you must take an afternoon nap, schedule it before 1500 (3:00 PM). Do not seep more than 15 to 30 minutes, according to doctors’ recommendations.

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Now that is the biggest yawn I’ve ever seen! 😂

  • Unwind Before Bedtime Allow yourself at least 1 hour before bedtime to unwind. Find what works for you to wind down, and give yourself an hour to do so. Consider reading a book or writing in a journal before you fall asleep.
  • Regular Sleep Schedule Keep a regular time each day (7 days a week) to get out of bed each morning. Keeping a regular waking time helps set your circadian rhythm so that your body learns to sleep at the desired time each night.
  • Stick to the Plan Set a reasonable bedtime and rising time, and then follow through with the plan long-term. Set the alarm clock and get out of bed at the same time each morning, regardless of your bedtime or the amount of sleep you got the previous night. This guideline is designed to regulate your internal biological clock as well as reset your sleep-wake cycle.

Monkey Business by Rebecca Tan 🐵

I would greatly appreciate any feedback or tips that you have for fighting insomnia. Let me know if anything on the list has helped you achieve a good night’s sleep by joining the conversation and leaving a comment below ↓

Thanks for stopping by!

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What is “normal”, anyway?

I am on a verge of a mental breakdown. It has been 2 months since I moved into my apartment. During my first week here, I assumed that cats lived above me because it was quiet enough to hear a pin drop and there were no signs of obnoxious behavior. At least, not yet. This was before Godzilla moved in a few days later, prior to the start of winter semester. I am writing this post because I want my voice to be heard. I feel like the people around me don’t care or have the time of day to listen to me complain, and they don’t sympathize with me at all.

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Perhaps the downside of being extremely intelligent? 🙆

I am a 20-something female who you would call introverted, a girl who keeps to herself, a girl who suffers from social anxiety and to make matters worse, a girl who has Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) to an extent. Although my mother had me tested as a child, I do not think that the doctors were actually testing me for ADD, more so, they were looking for a learning disability. Isn’t that what ADD is, a learning disability? However, they didn’t confirm that I have ADD. It takes me significantly longer to complete assignments and tests compared to the average person, and I do not get any special treatment. People treat me like any normal person because like I said before, my ADD was never diagnosed or confirmed, and therefore, it must not exist. The world is very linear but my world is much more complex. Even though I wasn’t diagnosed with hypersensitivity, I know for a fact that I am a chronic sufferer of this condition along with social anxiety, thus, making apartment living unbearable.

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My 8-month-old daughter at the time

Apartment living is a nightmare for me, especially at night when I need to sleep for my 8am classes and 9-hour campus days. What one would call normal noise threshold, I would call loud. I cannot tolerate noise whatsoever. The noise threshold of a concert or DJ playing music at a wedding is too much for me. My ears do not shut out loud noises like normal people and yes, the doctor confirmed that I was born this way. I have autistic tendencies, but I wouldn’t say that these are necessarily bad qualities. For example, we did not have a dance at our wedding and I have no regrets whatsoever. We had a day wedding so we decided that a dance, which usually occurs at night, was not necessary. My 15-month old daughter did not inherit my genes because she can sleep through booming noises with ease. She must have inherited these superpowers from her daddy.

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Sheldon’s struggle is real

My hypersensitivity is really starting to negatively affect my life. I started wearing earplugs all the time in the apartment, on the bus, while walking to campus etc. and I hardly ever remove them from my ears, thus exacerbating the issue of mysophobia – a sensitively/hatred to sound which has been found to be common in people with hypersensitivity. Godzilla, my neighbor upstairs, enjoys being obnoxious especially when I am trying to study or sleep and it has started to take a negative toll on my life. I still fail to get quality sleep despite the industrial earplugs, white noise machine, and fan blasting in my bedroom. As a result, my grades will pay the ultimate price due to lack of focus and concentration. Thanks, insomnia! Surprisingly, my essay writing skills have improved but writing takes significantly less brain power vs. studying. When I write essays, my mind is on autopilot while I blast Tokyo Ghoul instrumental music to drown out the elephant, er, I mean…. gorilla stomps above me. I have tried studying on campus, but at night I cannot sleep because of Godzilla’s annoying tendencies. I don’t want to complain or continue to aggressively bang on the ceiling since these temporary solutions are not long-term answers. I already requested transferring to the top floor but my request could not be accommodated for various reasons. Today I cried my little heart out. I felt defeated and mentally drained. I have even considered behavioral therapy but who has the time for that?

I’m desperate for solutions, so if you are reading my blog post and can relate to my struggle, please leave your suggestions in the comment section below ↓ I am desperate for your help.