How Can You Have Restful Sleep Despite Your Circumstances?
Sleep is the most fundamental action we can take to achieve mental awareness and balance. When we make restful rejuvenation a priority (superseding our emotions and feelings), we can better deal with life issues.
I didn’t realize individuals who experience childhood sexual abuse were at an increased risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), having trouble sleeping, or having nightmares until I was in my mid-20’s. What I knew was I loved gazing at the dark-lit sky and hearing the symphony produced by the nighttime creatures. I loved sleep, and sleep loved me. I could fall asleep anywhere and at any time.
My mother helped with setting the foundation of quality sleep. She didn’t make us take naps, and we were in bed most nights by 9 pm. And my mother was an early riser. On occasions when I would wake up to go to the bathroom, she was sound asleep in her bed. In addition, my mother would say things like:
- “take control of your dreams.
- “You are in control.”
- “Children need their sleep.”
- “Let the past be the past.”
- “Nip things in the bud and “don’t start nothing, won’t be nothing.”
During my 20’s and early 30’s, I kept my regular sleep habits and often had trouble staying up past 9 pm unless I was on a date. Thanks to my alignment with my circadian rhythm, I could never read or study all night during my undergraduate and graduate studies. While living in my Saint Louis apartment, I would set my alarm to 1 or 2 a.m. to watch the 4 pm Oprah show I missed, and even then, I couldn’t stay up.
As you know, our circadian rhythm is our internal process that regulates the sleep/wake cycle. This alignment with nature is something we all have until we believe something can affect how our body is naturally wired. Unfortunately, over the past two years, I forgot about this alignment.
- I took things personally (a big cause of interrupted sleep).
- I stressed out about things I couldn’t control and didn’t trust God.
- I forgot the answers to life’s issues often come in the morning after a good night’s rest.
- I felt overwhelmed, unsupportive, unappreciated, and alone. In other words, I felt like a victim and attacked.
- I made things more than what they were. I saw problems and more problems. My imagination was getting the best of me.
Does anything above sound familiar to you?
I even thought about taking melatonin supplements, but I‘ve never been a big advocate about taking stuff my body already has. When I stopped doing the above things and others, I found my way back to peaceful rest.
So, what helped to restore me to restful nighttime sleep? And what can help you?
- At one time, you didn’t have problems sleeping because of your natural built-in system. Your body releases relaxing chemicals such as melatonin and lowers other chemicals. Your body didn’t change. Your perception changed. When I changed my perception, I returned to restful sleep.
- Make restful sleep a priority. Everything else can wait in the morning or later. I incorporated some melatonin-producing foods (apples, nuts, yogurt) for a few nights, but the more I slept, the more I wanted restful sleep. You make the most of these melatonin-producing foods by eating small quantities of them, staying away from sweetened products, and making sure you eat a well-balanced snack. Avoid foods that cause indigestion. Remember, it takes your body approximately three hours to digest foods. Small snacks can be eaten no later than an hour before bed. Here are some additional tips for increasing restful sleep.
- Everything you need, you will have. I remembered how all my needs are always met. So I continued to pray and meditate, retraining my mind to trust in God, nature, and myself to know the right thing to do. God did not change. I did.
- You are not a victim but a student of life. I remembered my student approach to life and started speaking more positively to myself. Although my circumstances were not ideal and what I wanted, there were something to learn about myself.
Make this lifetime great! You deserve it. Please share if you believe this post can help someone and subscribe to my quarterly empowering newsletters.