While obviously I want to help you fall asleep by listening to my podcast and judging from feedback I am helping a lot of people, there are other steps that can be taken to help you get a restful night.
Most are very sensible and are thing’s you’re heard about already. But it’s always worth reminding people of good habits and practices that help sleep.
“Prof Espie says many of us fall into a pattern of “boom and bust” – squeezing sleep in around other commitments during the working week, then catching up on days off.
However, evidence suggests that having a stable, consistent sleep schedule is generally effective at producing satisfying, efficient sleep.”
Ban tech in the bedroom
In the intro I often make a little swipe at the technology we use to shine light in our eyes. Of course, you need something to listen to the podcast with, but if it’s part of the process to help you fall asleep I like to think an exception is okay. 😀
PILLS AREN’T THE ANSWER
I don’t like to shame people who use medication, I had a major anxiety experience just over a year ago and I needed Xanax to get me on an even keel, and help me sleep. But one should be cautious with medications in the long term, IMO.
Fitness trackers and sleep tracking are become increasingly ubiquitous. People like to gamify their lives and health insurance and medical schemes tie bonuses and benefits to trackable goals.
But here at Sleepy Time Tales you will know that one of the purposes of the podcast is to prevent the frustration that can come when people get tense about not being able to sleep. And I’ve often wondered if putting alarms and detailed minute by minute analysis of one’s sleep doesn’t play on one’s mind and cause tension.
And the science has started to vindicate my suspicion…
” But as the use of sleep trackers has become more widespread, so too has the idea that actually, they might not be the best thing you can wear to bed. In 2017, a report published in the journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine suggested that sleep trackers may reinforce sleep-related anxiety or perfectionism for some patients – a condition dubbed ‘orthosomnia’ by the authors. “
It turns out that sleep tracking can cause anxiety about being unable to sleep in many people and this of course is preventing them from getting a good night’s sleep.
I’d probably never use a sleep tracker. I’m someone who gets frustrated when sleep won’t come, and knowing I’m being observed would be very bad for my state of mind. But it may still help some people, so what’s the solution?
The Sleepy Time Tales podcast is intended to hold your attention just enough to help you drift to sleep, so maybe it can get your mind off the sleep tracking that’s busy observing your rest patterns.
Personally I’m a fan of rooibos tea at bedtime, but there are a lot of sleepy teas out there to help restless sleepers get a good night. The linked article tries out several. Even if the specific ones mentioned are not available, it may inspire you to explore the options available to you. And of course, once you’ve settled down with a nice herbal tea, put Sleepy Time Tales on in your ears. 🙂
” Getting enough sleep can be tricky. Shelves of gadgets and gizmos promise to deliver the holy eight hours, but herbal tea is one of the original sleep aides. With calming ingredients such as camomile, lemon and lavender, these brews promise to leave you relaxed and ready for lights out. A simple cure to your bedtime woes or too good to be true? “
Honestly I’ve never really been a fan of chamomile and other traditional sleepy teas. But one thing us insomniacs understand is that not everything works for everyone.
Sleep has been challenging to people ever since we were people. The night was full of dangers that made a good night’s sleep difficult and dangerous. While modern life has sleeping tips and tricks that are unique to our day, including the very podcast that is attached to this blog, people in ancient and early modern history had their own. Some of which may be useful today. We have the highlight below, but be sure to click through to the story for more info, some fun, some useful. 🙂
“Everyone wants to get a good night’s sleep – and people in the past were no different. So how did our forebears tackle sleep deprivation and insomnia? As Sasha Handley reveals, their sleep routines included eating lettuce soup, placing cow dung at the end of their beds, and hanging wolves’ teeth around their necks to ward off the devil…
1. Stick to a routine
Early modern sleep gurus believed that consistency was the key to a long, virtuous life
We’re all obsessed with sleep – or the lack of it. In our modern world of long working hours, high stress levels and soaring screen time, the quest to get the recommended eight hours a night has become something of a holy grail. So what did our forebears do? How did they combat the ogre of sleep deprivation? Top of their list of priorities was to put aside a set period dedicated to sleep – and to stick to it every night. In fact, they believed that keeping fixed sleeping hours was one of the keys to keeping body, mind and soul in good order. John Wesley, leader of the Methodist movement, echoed the views of his 17th-century ancestors when he advised his followers to “lay all things by til the morning… keep your hour or all is over”.
2. Eat right, sleep tight
For our forebears, the secret to a good night’s sleep lay in the contents of your gut
We’ve been alive to the sleep-disrupting qualities of caffeine for almost as long as it’s been drunk. As far back as the 17th century, the self-styled French pharmacist Philippe Sylvestre Dufour declared that tea and coffee should be avoided before bedtime, noting that they were only useful for those “that would study by night”.
But our early modern ancestors believed that food and drink could cure sleep deprivation, as well as cause it. They prized lettuce soup for its soporific qualities, and often supped a hot, milky drink known as posset – a common bedtime beverage that strengthened the stomach by placing a dairy ‘lid’ on it.
3. Treasure your own bed
Never underestimate the power of a safe, soothing and, above all, familiar sleeping environment
“Someone’s been sleeping in my bed!” As this famous line from Goldilocks and the Three Bears reveals, people have long cherished the security, familiarity and comfort that comes with sleeping in their own beds. And they don’t take too kindly to it when that space is violated. This is as true today as it was when Robert Southey’s celebrated fairy tale first became popular in the 1830s. And it was certainly the case in the early modern era.
4. Keep your cool
One of the best ways to nod off at night is to lower the temperature
Modern sleep experts believe that there’s an optimum room temperature for a good night’s slumber: 18.5°C. Our early modern predecessors might not have been privy to such precise data but that didn’t stop them being keenly aware that excessive heat is no friend of sleep.
5. Talk to God
Bedtime prayers were regarded as the best safeguard against the evils that stalked the night
It may have fallen out of fashion in our more secular age but, back in the 16th and 17th centuries, prayer was an integral part of most people’s bedtime routine. And there was a good reason why believers sought to speak to God before retiring to their beds: self-preservation.
To the early modern mind, the night was fraught with danger, a time when the body came perilously close to death. As the physician and clergyman Thomas Browne put it in his most famous work, Religio Medici (1643), sleep was “that death by which we may literally [be] said to dye daily… so like death, I dare not trust it without my prayers”.
6. Get creative in the kitchen
In the early modern era, homemade remedies were a key weapon in the war on sleep deprivation
When sleep escapes us, many of us today seek solace in sleeping pills. That course of action wasn’t open to early modern insomniacs. But that doesn’t mean that their options were exhausted – they simply had to be a little more creative.
Homemade sleep remedies were an important part of the household’s medicinal stock and it was at home that most episodes of sleep loss were treated with tried-and-tested recipes passed down and adapted across family generations. A recipe book signed by Elizabeth Jacobs in 1654 included four remedies for sleep loss. One was designed “To make a man sleepe”, and it mixed the key ingredient of poppy seeds with beer, white wine or fortified wine depending on the patient’s age.”
While some of these methods may seem strange to today’s sensibilities, many may work for you. Try them out and let me know!
Let me help you keep your routine with my Podcast, Sleepy Times Tales. This will help engage your mind in a positive way and create a suitable mindset to relax for a good night’s sleep.
While a mix of poppy seeds and wine sounds like a good way to get a good night’s sleep, maybe a more modern sleep aid will be easier and maybe more useful.
” one of those misconceptions that we can dispose of today is the idea that you can make up for sleep you’ve lost during the week by sleeping in on the weekend.
University of Colorado researchers have found that people with consistent sleep deprivation gained weight and experienced a loss of insulin sensitivity. The researchers said that attempting to make up for lost sleep on the weekend not only didn’t counter the harm done to metabolism, it seemed to have made it worse.
Experts recommend that adults get at least 7 hours of sleep every night, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). That’s true of older adults as well, but many seniors don’t get the sleep they need, because they often have more trouble falling asleep, sleep less deeply and wake up more often throughout the night.
“Many people believe that poor sleep is a normal part of aging, but it is not. Sleep patterns change as we age, but disturbed sleep and waking up tired every day are not part of normal aging,” Live Science reports.
Whatever the cause for lost sleep, scores of people try to make up for these deficits by sleeping more on their days off. Scientists now say that not only can you not make up for lost sleep, but you’re likely damaging your health long-term by not getting enough sleep in the first place.
Consequences of lack of sleep
Findings from the Global Burden of Disease study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), found that 603 million adults were obese in 2015, and cardiovascular disease and diabetes were the first and second, respectively, leading causes of death from a high body mass index (BMI). And studies have repeatedly shown that insufficient sleep and untreated sleep disorders are recognized risk factors for obesity and diabetes.
The Colorado researchers outlined that specifically, “insufficient sleep alters several behavioral and physiological processes implicated in metabolic dysregulation, including regulation of energy intake and delayed circadian timing, which results in weight gain and reduced insulin sensitivity.”