Something a lot of you may not know about me is that I have suffered from insomnia on and off for a solid ten years. Nothing like Christian Bale in the “Machinist”, heavens no, but still, she’s a feral, nasty, bitter mole, that Lady Insomnia. The kind of wench you want to spill a drink or 234 on.
It all started when I moved home to Brisbane from New York City, having lived there for three years for work. It was following a bad break-up, with my anxiety and stress levels higher than the Empire State Building. I think I was sculling vials of Rescue Remedy for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Models diet, right there. I’m hungry just thinking about it.
Perhaps it was the break-up, perhaps it was leaving behind the nocturnal noises of NYC that had previously lulled me to sleep, perhaps it was the apprehension of starting a new life back home in Australia. Either way, I quickly realised that my inability to fall asleep was due to ANXIETY. And not being able to fall asleep, in turn, made me anxious – And so the devilish vicious cycle continued. It was not unusual for me to take 3 to 4 hours to fall asleep some nights. Heinous. I would sometimes take myself off to bed at 7:30pm in a desperate attempt to fall asleep before midnight. There were many nights where I cried myself to sleep out of sheer frustration. Boo to the hoo.
It wasn’t every night. It would come in bouts. Often surrounding stressful events.
In 2011 I was blind-sided by a missed-miscarriage at 13 weeks. Millions of women suffer much, much worse, but this event sent me spiralling into a deeper, more intense insomnia. Bone tired, crying most days, with a two year old in tow (Remy), my body and soul raw from recent events. Head case. And so, a friend suggested calling an emergency session with her acupuncturist. So I did. Because desperate.
Other than needling me to within an inch of my life (I love it), what this therapist gave me were some AMAZING STRATEGIES to manage sleeplessness. Even now, there are numerous times throughout the year where I can feel Miss Insomnia rearing her fugly head. It may be hormonal, it may be kid-stress, or it may just be life. But with these tips, I now have a sense of control and calm surrounding my slumber because I know I can kick insomnia in the teeth, pronto! TAKE THAT, BEESH!
So here they are. From me to you. Because I know I’m not alone, right?
1/ SOCKS ON FEET – Unless it’s 40 degrees out, go to your sock drawer and slip a pair of these puppies on your hooves. The theory is that our brain/body won’t relax, or will be awoken, if any part of the bod is even slightly cold. You may not feel cold at all. But chances are your feet are. Just do it. It works.
2/ REPOSITION YOUR BED – I’ve never been into Feng Shui, but the principle here works a treat. Our bed had previously been positioned in a way where my feet were pointing towards a door. To make a long story short, your energy flows out of your feet, or something like that, and there’s a sense of ‘insecurity’ that is felt when your foot-energy shoots out a door. I am sure a Feng Shui specialist wants to slit my throat right about now for butchering that theory. In a nutshell, flip the boudoir around and give it a go. You want to create a safe cocoon. Just do it. It works.
3/ LIGHT AND SOUND – Where possible, black out your room and close the door. Stuff towels under doors if you need to. At the height of my insomnia, even a single stream of diffused light would be enough to send me to the loony bin. If you can’t black things out, try building a fort around your head with pillows. I’m not even kidding. Create a barrier around you. Do it. It works.
4/ EARPLUGS – Let me tell you what’s sexy. Your wife snoozing away with fluorescent yellow ear plugs sticking out of her head. It’s something The Spouse must endure every.single.night. I go NOWHERE without my earplugs, y’all. I have packed them camping, for sleepovers at friends, I have a pair at my sister’s house and my parents’ house. It’s an addiction and my family are my enablers. Happily. The Spouse even buys them for me wherever he goes. Saaaa romantic. These spongey babies are my lifeline to a good night’s sleep. They help me quiet my mind and zone the f&*ck out. They are my sanity. Buy them tomorrow. Best tip ever.
5/ NO SUGAR AFTER 7:30pm – This is as fun as a pap smear on your birthday. But it helps so much. I sometimes think I have my sleep under control, and so I decide to scoff half a block of Fruit & Nut at 9pm in front of CSI. Big mistake. Same goes for alcohol. Again, this isn’t all the time, but if you’re in a foul period of sleeplessness, alcohol is basically sugar, which means you’ll be Christian Bale-Cray-Cray at 1am in no time….
6/ MAGNESIUM – I should take this much more regularly than I do, but Magnesium is the cats pyjamas when it comes to sleep and muscular relaxation. Or so I’ve learned. You can get it in powder form that you mix into a drink. Or regular gel capsules. Whatever floats your boat. Do it.
7/ RESCUE REMEDY/STRESS POTION – As previously mentioned, the occasional tipple of RR or another equivalent witchy potion always works wonders for me at bed time. I mostly think it acts as a placebo effect, whereby the simple act of taking it, makes me relax instantly. Again, I don’t require this every night, only during shady sleep bouts.
So there you have it, re:MY Stylers! Totally un-fashion related, un-kid related, but I just thought I would share.
Yours in SLEEP!