*I want to start these self care posts by saying that I’m not a professional. I’m just someone who suffers from both anxiety and depression. These are all things that I personally do that help me either physically, mentally or both. What works for me may not work for you – so take these ideas as a stepping stone to figure out what resonates with and helps you. Something I DO know is the more consistent I am in focusing on various self care things for myself, the better I feel. As I write these, they will be added to the Self Care page so they can be easily found and not jumbled in with all the blog posts.
This is a big one for me. When I’m getting good and restful sleep, my day usually goes easier. I have more of a clear head, more energy and feel a little calmer. When I struggle with sleep, my mental health definitely declines.
I’ve incorporated a pretty strict sleep hygiene routine to help keep me in the groove of good sleep.
It all starts with trying to sleep around the same time. For me, it’s around midnight as I have to be up just after 7 to get ready for work. If you work overnights or a different schedule, it’ll be whatever time works for you. I try and keep a similar schedule even when not working, but I set my alarm in the morning a little later on weekends to let myself sleep in a bit.
As an introvert, I like my quiet alone time and need it to recharge my mind without anyone around, so I will usually head up at least an hour before I want to fall asleep to get some awake alone time (especially if the family is hanging around the living room) and watch a little Netflix or YouTube as I wind down.
Before I get into bed to watch something short, I do my out of bed stuff first. This includes a shower if I’m having one that night (sometimes I already will have had one in the morning or right after work), brushing my teeth, filling my bedside water glass and changing into pj’s if I haven’t yet.
When I get into bed, I take my night supplements (magnesium, vitamin D, zinc) and sometimes either CBD or melatonin (what I take, if any, depends how I’m feeling. Anxious, depressed, insomnia or pain? CBD. Off my sleep routine? Melatonin. Already passing out? Nothing). If I’m feeling especially anxious or want some extra comfort, I’ll drape my weighted blanket over me as I’m watch my show winding down. I’ve tried sleeping with it on, but it feels too restrictive for me. I really like how it feels while I’m awake still though – so calming and feels like a hug. I wrote a full review with an even more in depth sleep routine in this write up.
Once I’m feeling like I could crash soon or it’s getting later than my target time, I usually put on a body scan meditation podcast. The only time I don’t do this is when I’m basically already passing out. I almost never hear the end of the meditation as I’ve fallen asleep before it’s over.
For me, it’s so much easier to keep the sleep routine when I’m working. When I’ve been off work I really found it so much more difficult. Without that purpose to get up, it was easier to just sleep in as long as I wanted and also to take naps. Napping definitely made sleeping at night more difficult – that’s definitely something to pay attention to.
What’s your sleep hygiene routine like? I’d love to hear what you incorporate into yours!
Until next time, xoxo