How to sleep
Updated: Apr 19, 2021
I’ve always had trouble sleeping and had never realise it had anything to do with depression.Then, as soon as I became pregnant I immediately became an insomniac, I hoped it would subside and my sleeping patterns return to normal once my son was born, but he is now 9 months old and the only thing that’s changed is how I’ve adapted to lack of sleep.
I’d lay awake half pissed off, half terrified and not at all tired. My mind jumbled with thoughts about the future and the past, I’d worry about how I would survive the next day with no sleep and think of all the things I had to get done and no matter how big or how small it would be- it always seemed bigger if I was tired.
If you asked me to do any task while I lay there with my eyes fixed to the ceiling I would gladly jump at it, any excuse would pull me out of bed, it seemed that anything was more important than sleeping, anything was more important than myself. I didn’t realize what was happening to me at the time but I knew that I had depression, I was diagnosed as a teen and an adult, but had never done anything about it and had absolutely no education on the subject or any idea that depression and insomnia were linked.Then when I became pregnant I was suddenly struck with insomnia, I became a creature of the night, hanging up pictures, organizing the cupboards and sorting out my paperwork in the middle of the night instead of being asleep, while during the day I would shy away from sunlight, stay in bed with Netflix and a coffee and waste the day away.
As I went deeper into pregnancy my depression worsened, then after the birth of my son it reached its peak and I wanted to end my life, that’s when I finally got help.
My husband, baby and I moved in with my family the night I wanted to die. My sister came to the rescue and gave me Valium, I had no idea what was happening to me but I knew I couldn’t stand to be alive for another second. This burdening feeling was overwhelming and extremely brutal. I was being dragged down into a black hole and was so weak that I went willingly without a fight. I felt guilty that my son wouldn’t remember his mother if I killed myself, I felt guilty that I would be leaving him and my husband without a wife and a mother, but nothing, not a damn fucking thing sparked any sunlight within me that night, nothing made me feel relief, my heart felt love for my son and my family but no love for me, not a single drop.
How I survived that night I don’t know, all I can remember is losing my shit and being taken to my parent’s place. It felt safe there, a bed was made for us with blankets and a lamp and a heater in the room. My baby was playing with my family and I could hear them giggling, I slowly started to feel better because the cat was out of the bag, everyone knew now what I had been going through and wanted to help me, and we were going to stay there until I got better.
As I lay my head down on the pillow I realized I was going through the darkest night of my soul and it wasn’t the last of it, I could feel the energy lingering around ready to pull me back down again into the darkness. I had to do something fast, but couldn’t overwhelm myself, this would take time and patience. So I set to do one thing at a time, one day at a time.
But first, I needed to get some sleep!…We sleep half our lives, for me not to get any sleep meant that half my life where I was supposed to get rest, was getting frustration, angst and feeding my depression instead.Eventually I was so depleted of energy I couldn’t find any reason to stay alive. It may sound extreme, and that’s because it was. Of course it wasn’t the only factor; there are many factors that contribute to a person being depressed. But this was the one that needed immediate attention for me, and I knew that once I got adequate sleep I could then focus on the other aspects of my depression, which I did.
My son is now 9 months, I’m still not getting adequate sleep but it has gotten better thanks to my family helping me out and a few tools I’ve picked up along the way. This journey I’ve gone through hasn’t finished, I’m still learning how to sleep, but it has inspired me to write about how to get sleep so I can learn for myself and help others who have gone through the same thing.I also looked at it like this; getting sleep is a way for me to show myself that I love myself, that I am worthy of rest, relaxation and peace and that my waking hours with my son are full of energy and sunshiney days.
That said, I’ve written down some proven ways that I’ve tried or that have been proven by experts in order to get some sleep!
…In other articles I will talk about the other aspects of my depression that I’ve had to deal with and how I handled them with helpful suggestions as well, but for now this post is about sleep. For anyone going through dark night of the soulplease read this article I wrote, or to learn more about how to deal with suicide head here. …
HOW TO SLEEP
DAY TIME EFFECTS NIGHT TIME What you do during the day effects how you sleep at night. Avoid caffeine after lunch and day time naps, and have a light dinner. Try to get some sunlight during the day as well as at least 15 minutes of exercise. WRITE IT DOWN Before you lie down, write a list of what you need to do the next day, get it out of your system and out of your head space. CONDITIONS NEED TO BE RIGHT Wear loose clothing, make your room nice and cool, make it clean so that energy isn’t being blocked in congested areas of your room and that everything is flowing. Lastly, make sure that everything is dark and there are no distractions.
DITCH THE PHONE Invest in an old school alarm and ditch the phone, having our phones near our beds is an easy distraction.
ONE HOUR BEFORE BED Train your body to know that you are winding down, instead of watching a movie before bed, read a book instead, take a hot shower and have some quiet time, this will get your mind and body ready to wind down. TENSE AND RELEASE From the top of your head down to your toes- tense and tighten each muscle for 20 seconds then release, repeat 3 times until you’ve gone through your entire body. Start with your eyebrows, then your nose, your mouth, your shoulders, your arms, wrists, fingers, stomach, pelvic floor, bum, thighs, knees, shins, ankles, feet, and toes. You will feel relaxed and loosey goosey and ready for sleep.
BREATHING TECHNIQUES (Left Nostril method) There are a few popular breathing techniques that help with falling asleep, one ancient technique that works is a yoga method that involves breathing through the left nostril, it is scientifically proven to help you relax and helps calm the mind and body. BREATHING TECHNIQUES (4-7-8 method) Another popular one is is the 4-7-8 method, this involves exhaling through your mouth, then close your mouth and inhale through your nose and count to 4. Next, hold your breath and count to 7. Once you’ve done that, you can then exhale through your mouth again and count to 8. BUILD YOUR HAPPY PLACE What does your happy place look and feel like? From scratch build your dream home or dream garden or dream sacred space, imagine all the small details, how does it smell, what’s the lighting like, how does the floor feel? WHITE NOISE There are plenty of white noise tracks and appls available for download and purchase that help with falling asleep, from rain to shushing. GROUNDING MEDITATION Imagine an invisible cord of light connecting you to the earth, send any projects you’ve been working on that day down to the ground, send your fight or flight down there too, any healing projects and bring up healing energy instead. If any thoughts come up to distract you, acknowledge them as they come and let them go. REDUCE STRESS LEVELS IN YOUR LIFE If there is something that is keeping you up you may need to make a change, speak to a psychologist, councillor or support group to get proper advise to help you make those changes. KNOW WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR If you are still having trouble sleeping or it’s been going on for more than a few weeks, seek professional advise and see your doctor.