When I had my darkest, deepest and most devastating insomnia bout, I was highly sensitive in every imaginably way. I couldn’t tolerate any noise, deviating temperatures, light, disappointments, arguments, setback, bad news, stress… well it looks like I could go forever so let’s stop here. However, there were some critical props that gave me comfort, pampering and hope – especially when I decided to drop all meds.
Don’t get me wrong, none of these props ‘deliver’ sleep. Our good sleep lives within us, not outside us in any form or shape. If there was a quick fix for better sleep, over 30% of people in Western Countries wouldn’t be suffering with poor sleep. But I do believe that often dutiful sensitive sleepers should pay a bit more attention to themselves and just enjoy life’s little things and treats a bit more. This list reveals some practical props, some educational props and some pampering props. As we learn to relax, we also learn to love sleeping again.
Top 10 healthy props for better sleep:
- Quiet bedroom. I got a snoring partner 10+ years ago (what a lovely little bonus…NOT!). Needless to say that this did not help with my already fast evolving sleeping problem. Since then I have tried all possible ear plugs the market has to offer. I have noticed that using ear plugs made me even more sensitive to noise – suddenly I couldn’t tolerate even a dog barking in the 10 miles radius. Ear plugs also make my ears itch and block. Using them as sparcely as you can is advisable. To my vast experience these are the best ear plugsin the market.
- Art-of-napping. I am a napper, hence I am an artist and every artist needs a muse. I love napping on our living room sofa in bright day light. However, I need something soft, warm and lovely to wrap myself around. Even if you think this is a bit granny, I recommend you to delete all your prejudices as nothing beats the electric blanket. It warms up in nanosecond and is a treat sent by sleep angles, literally. Also, if you still have single glazed windows, I don’t even grasp how you survive against draft without this heated throw.
- Blackened bedroom. When morning light brightens up your bedroom at 5 am and repeatedly wakes you up, perhaps something should be done. We humans have different sensitivities. Don’t try to fight back and ignore your sensitivity if you repeatedly wake up alongside with the rise of the sun. Eye pads don’t cost a lot but they save your sleep and can give you the extra sleep you desperately need. Note: They have to be comfy and well fitting – these silk filled eye pads are worth the investment.
- Reading at night. Some experts tell you not to read at night and to go around the house and return to bed when you feel sleepy again. Some experts say to read if it works for you. Well, it works for me with 3 caveats: 1) dim the light, 2) read not too exciting/gripping book, 3) while reading concentrate on breathing/exhaling slowly. This natural light reading lightis a great little tool to read a few pages to calm the mind again and not to disturb your partner.
- Writing a diary. I like writing down to-do lists, sleep diary, ideas, thoughts and different stuff to remember. Even more so: I don’t rely on my memory – great ideas can vanish into a tired mind space so easily. Sensitive sleepers need books – to declutter mind and to put down all ideas and worries. This book is a classic. I have many books, notepads and but I repeatedly buy this Moleskine notebook. It simply feels right. (Btw, this is a Mickey Mouse limited edition, giving it a little oomph).
- Sleep Toolkit. Before we can change our mindset and take actions, we need to get inspired. I hope that sensitivesleepers.com can do its own fair bit in doing this but if you think you need a bit more I suggest to read the book Tired But Wiredby Dr Nerina Ramlakhan. This book is a great package of useful information, thoughts for new mindset, guidance for change and concrete tips and inspiring true stories. This book literally helped me to help myself. Worth gold in my eyes.
- Night socks. Tall people suffer from cold feet. This is even more severe if you are a woman and work by your desk all days long. Night socks might easily look like sex-poopers but these cashmere night socksare such luxury that they look great even with silk night dress. A fantastic gift as well, worth reminding as the Xmas season is knocking the bedroom door.
- Hot water bottle. A little investment and a big impact especially in a country where single-glazed windows and drafty bedrooms still are a norm. Even though a typical recommendation is to have a cool bedroom it does not mean an igloo. Freezing at night keeps even an eskimo awake. A cute hot water bottlecan even be a deco element.
- Magnesium. I swear by magnesium, simple as that. I try to get my fair bit of it straight from the right foods but supplements before going to bed just works miracles. Magnesium is considered the “anti-stress” mineral as it is a natural tranquilizer. Stress depletes magnesium. When our magnesium levels are low, our nervous system gets out of balance and we feel on edge and our muscles start to (unconsciously) tighten. Magnesium combats back (especially when combined with Calcium). Alternatively, you can have bath in magnesium- and mineral-rich dead sea salt bath.
- Natural light wake up clock. I don’t have it but my good friends do and they love it. This wake-up light alarm (with natural sounds and radio) is on my this year Xmas list. And now I wish somebody is reading this blog (or… giving him a hint ;-)).
What belongs to your sleep survival kit? Do let us know & leave a comment!