A post from Community Correspondent Emma Goodlad, who is keeping a diary about sleep
I found it ironic that the day after I submitted my first blog, I had my first really bad day in a while. I’m realising this is just part of the journey I’m on, that each day is different.
I have tried a couple of things to help me get to sleep (I haven’t really looked at the getting out of bed bit yet, maybe next time). Both things have been through my much loved iPhone. It’s handy and it’s with me all the time – I use it for pretty much everything!
So, I’ve tried Headspace mindfulness app and a nature sounds playlist.
I’d downloaded Headspace a while ago, but hadn’t used it yet.
Although some of the meditations are free, unfortunately those specifically for sleep aren’t, so I decided to pay for it for a couple of months. Generally it has been helpful, most nights I’ve fallen asleep before the meditation has ended.
It’s been useful in helping me focus my mind and not let myself go into my “let’s stay awake” mode. There is one drawback: the man who guides the meditations, Andy. He annoys me. Not as annoying as some other meditation apps, but some nights he just winds me up and I want to tell him where to go – and I do, by turning him off.
The nature sounds playlist has been more consistently helpful. I felt a bit ridiculous when I first tried it, but was surprised to find it incredibly relaxing. I tried a few and found a playlist on Apple music which was great.
The first track, the sounds of the forest, helps me to relax. It allows me to take my mind off things, shut my eyes and imagine I’m elsewhere, which in turn allows me to drift off more easily.
I’ve used this more than Headspace and turn to it when Andy from Headspace annoys me. I find myself thinking about how lovely it would be to live in a forest, so peaceful, and then I remember there’s loads of beasties and in all of the horror films I’ve seen, nothing good happens in the forest. Maybe not for me then, I’ll just stick to hearing the forest through the safety of my headphones…
Overall I’ve found that these are helping me get to sleep. Reflecting on this is helping me work out what’s going on with my sleeping patterns too.
I’ve realised I’ve been forcing myself to stay awake because my mind (like a lot of other people’s) goes into overdrive when I go to bed and gets carried away and turns little things into massive problems.
Mostly, I know I’m going to struggle to get out of bed and get on with the next day, so I don’t want the morning to come around as quickly as it does when you go to sleep. I need to focus on what will help me in the morning.
Interestingly, despite getting to sleep more easily, I’ve now started waking up during the night, usually between 1:20am and 1:30am. Most nights it’s just for a few minutes and when I notice I’m awake, I try and catch it quickly and use either Headspace or the nature sounds to help me get to sleep.
If I stay awake, some notes for the blog or reading my book have been useful. So, the next sleep challenge is to work out how to stop myself waking up, or do I just accept that this happens and maybe my sleep pattern isn’t one that conforms to the expected norm of sleep? One to ponder I think. And then to focus on the big challenge: what will help me get out of bed in the morning?