I envy those of you who can fall asleep when your head hits the pillow. You have a superpower, seriously.
Sleep is the only thing I still don’t get in life.
As a kid, I would feel anxious if I was the only one that’s still awake in the house (I still do, honestly), so I would go to my parents’ room and wake them up. I could sleep better when there are people around me and they are awake, it’s like leaving the TV on to get that background noise.
I think the only thing that’s making me sleep when I was still in school was the fact that I should be somewhere in the morning. That, and being so tired from the jam-packed day of studying and socializing.
So now, as an adult that’s working remotely in the middle of the pandemic, my sleep is getting so much worse. I’m in bed at around 11, but I never sleep before midnight. Sometimes it’s 2 or 3 in the morning.
Methods I’ve tried to sleep better
If you know me, you know that I always want to optimize everything. Make everything in life better. Learn, watch, read everything that I can find about the subject.
For this sleeping problem, I have read the ultimate guide to sleep, the HUGE 350-page book, ‘Why We Sleep’ by Matthew Walker. It’s full of facts, research, what the science knows about why we sleep and dream, and how to sleep better.
And yet I still can’t sleep properly.
A few months ago, I asked my coworkers for some advice. One method worked for several days, but I soon went back to the old pattern. Even worse. Last week, I even went to Twitter to ask people with the ‘superpower’ for their secrets.
These are the tips I have gathered from the book, my coworkers, my Twitter friends, and random things I’ve found on the internet. Some work and some don’t, but I will just leave them here and a rating of how it worked for me. I hope these methods can help you if you’re also struggling:
- Stay away from your gadgets two hours before your bedtime. (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)
- Wake up at the same time every day. (⭐⭐⭐⭐)
- Sleep in the dark. Pitch black. (⭐⭐⭐, I’m still getting used to this, I’ve been sleeping with the lights on my whole life)
- Write your to-do list in the evening to free your mental space. (⭐⭐⭐)
- Meditate or do some yoga before bed. (⭐⭐)
- If you’re not sleepy yet, don’t be in your bed. Your bed should be only for sleep. If you’re using your phone in bed, your brain will start associating bed with lounging instead of sleeping. (⭐⭐⭐)
- Use rhythmic tapping to feel sleepy. (⭐⭐⭐)
- Use this military technique of saying ‘don’t think, don’t think, ‘don’t think’ to yourself over and over again. (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐, love this one)
It’s hard. Be kind to yourself.
When I asked how to sleep on Twitter, one of my coworkers, Josh, reminded me that it’s a hard thing to do, and therefore, I should be kind to myself.
That’s so true. It can spiral down quickly. You can’t sleep. You worry that you’re not getting enough sleep. You think about it at night and you can’t sleep.
That’s why it’s so important to be compassionate and forgiving in the journey. If you’re also struggling (most likely you’re struggling because you’re here), know that it’s not only us, people all over the world have been experiencing it, too. Know that you’re not alone. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
I write all of this as a reminder for myself too.