Mental Health Update: How I Improved My Sleep Pattern

If you are a follower, you probably know about my run-ins with a bandit called anxiety. I’ve been dealing with anxiety over the last 3 years, which has impacted a large part of my life, including my sleep. Sleep anxiety is this feeling of fear of falling asleep/staying asleep. I’ve spent hours on my bed, totally exhausted but unable to sleep cause I’m terrified. I’ve also gotten up mid-sleep in total panic. While working on curing my anxiety, I also wanted to take some active steps to ensure that I am not causing any impediments to my sleep cycle. I started making these changes slowly and noticed an observable difference in how well I slept (on some days). I am not a medical practitioner just another anxious adult, sharing their experiences in the hope that they might help someone out there. So what changes did I make?

I. SETTING A FIXED BEDTIME: I think a very important part of having a good sleep cycle is to have a fixed bedtime. As an entrepreneur, I often find myself working till late at night or writing my blogs late at night, or just using the quiet nighttime to binge-watch content – which has led to a poor sleep schedule. So for my experiment, I set my bedtime as 11PM with the hope that I’ll at least make it to bed by 12AM latest (I try to wake up at 6AM). It really helps to have a frame of time around which my mind knows to shut itself off.

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II. NO COFFEE AFTER 6PM: I’ve been having coffee for 15 years now and in all honesty, coffee doesn’t have any real impact on me other than making me happy. But I decided to experiment with my coffee intake and restrict my coffee consumption after 6PM and surprisingly, it helped. How do I know? After a few days of following this, I did cave in on the day Starbucks launched its fall drinks to get my FAVOURITE pumpkin spice cold brew at 8:30PM – and I couldn’t sleep till 2AM. I only realised this 2 days later after a good night’s sleep.

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III. EATING DINNER BY 9PM AND EATING LIGHT: I can literally vouch that eating a light dinner helps me sleep so much better just cause a week back I made this really heavy avocado smoothie for dinner and I couldn’t sleep till 2-3AM just cause I felt SO full. Ideally, I’d like to be done with dinner by 8PM but I usually make it home post work after 8PM. Finishing eating early and eating light gives my stomach some time to do its thing before I hit the bed and it has really helped me sleep better.

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IV. NOT WATCHING NEW CONTENT NEAR BEDTIME: Any new content – good or bad – leaves my brain thinking about it for a while. So I avoid watching any new content near bedtime to let my brain not go into a frenzy of thinking.

V. LIGHTS OUT AT BEDTIME: I have started turning off my lights max by 11:30PM to ensure that I go to sleep by 12PM max. Switching off the lights has a way of signaling to the brain that it is time to shut down and relax.

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I’ve been doing these 5 simple things for the last month or so and it has really helped me improve my sleep cycle considerably. I am going to keep experimenting and do other things to ensure a fixed sleep cycle, especially waking up on time. I am enjoying sleeping after a really long time and it has been difficult to wake up in the morning. The next goal is to get my waking up schedule fixed. I’ve been researching REM sleep cycles and experimenting with myself to figure out how to wake up feeling refreshed.

How do you ensure you get proper sleep? Have you ever struggled with sleeping problems? How did you deal with it?

PS: I am off my posting schedule again thanks to hectic few weeks at work. I’ll hopefully be back at it in a week or two.

If you haven’t already, check out my other recent posts:

22 Comments Add yours

  1. Wm. Allen says:

    Good advice, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You have taken the right steps….sleep well 🙂
    I do one more thing..read for a while….kind of works for me!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hilary Tan says:

    I’m glad that you found something that works for you! I find that I’m more committed to a better sleep schedule when I have something going on the next day, like an appointment etc. if I have nothing planned the next day, I’m more likely to slack off and slip back into old habits. Tonight is one of those nights where I stayed up too late fiddling with computer software and now it’s 0400. Oops 🙊 I know I’m going to regret this in the morning.

    I think it’s time that I take your advice and implement it as well!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lucy Thomas says:

    It’s great when we find something that works for us, even better when we share! Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Useful tips. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Moksha,

    I felt like I’m talking to myself.

    Most of the points are correlated.

    I’m trying all these things:

    1. Having light dinner.
    2. Setting fixed sleeping time (09:30pm).
    I have a habit of not sleeping until 12:00 am.
    3. Drinking enough (not much or less) water before sleeping.
    4. Avoiding watching standup and roasting videos on YouTube.
    (Otherwise, they’ll become part of my dreams).

    Some points I want to add:

    ✓ Be regular with your schedule.
    ✓ Do not take more than 1½ hour sleep in the day time.
    ✓ Listen non-vocal, happy and peaceful music to get a good sleep.
    ✓ Avoid unnecessary fights and negative thoughts.

    Thank you sharing the post.
    Have a complete and peaceful sleep.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. petespringerauthor says:

    As someone who wrestles with some of these same issues (sleeping, worrying, turning my mind off at bedtime, etc.), I was interested in this post. For years, I’ve taken a sleeping pill to fall asleep. After many years, I cut that cord about a month ago because I worried about the long-term effects of taking medications, and I’m sleeping reasonably well.

    Like

  8. Thanks for sharing! I have a habit of watching shows late at night too, or scrolling through social media. It definitely helps to set a schedule and go to bed on time every night.

    Like

  9. Ugh. I suffer from Panic Disorder. I feel you on the anxiety.

    Like

  10. These are great tips, I sleep fairly well and I do all these. Stopped drinking coffee entirely, my tea routine in the morning is better for me. I also struggle with getting home from work late and making/eating dinner before nine but I had to find a way because I started having digestion problems…very important to wind down the body at night, physically and mentally.

    Like

  11. Ally Bean says:

    I like all of your actions, especially the one about NO NEW CONTENT NEAR BEDTIME. For me that alone has helped me get a good night’s sleep more than just about anything else. I like to bore myself to sleep so my monkey brain doesn’t kick in and keep me awake.

    Like

  12. Pooja G says:

    For me, it’s no coffee, period. If I have anything with caffeine I know I won’t be able to sleep well and the anxiety will be a bonus! 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy Panda says:

      hahah! I tried quitting coffee completely but 2 days in – I literally felt the desire to live – leave my body. 😀 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Pooja G says:

        Lol that happened to me too but luckily I was able to fight through it (mostly cos I had to, thanks anxiety) 😂

        Like

  13. Juliette says:

    Great post and great tips! I used to have a hard time falling asleep when I was at university but it suddenly stopped as soon as I finished it, and I have to say I now only have trouble sleeping when I’m very anxious or when I have a very early morning flight. But again, I have always been very good with my sleep schedule – and I actually couldn’t live any other way than *knowing* I have to be in bed by 10.30 pm, maybe that’s why it helped! I also use a light alarm that I put on “sunset mode” in the evenings and on “sunrise mode” for me to wake it – is has truly been a life saver for those difficult mornings! Thanks for sharing your tips!

    Like

  14. bosssybabe says:

    You’re one of the lucky ones, I haven’t been great at following any sort of sleep routine. Sorry, lucky is not the best word. I am sure you worked hard at staying consistent and that’s just what I need to do. But the cliche is true, there is just not enough time in a day to do everything I NEED to do and everything I WANT to do lol…. sigh

    Like

  15. LenoreDallas says:

    Thanks for sharing! I really need to set a bed time!

    Like

  16. Tamara Kulish from https://tamarakulish.com/ says:

    Coffee: I found I did even better with my sleep when I limited my coffee to the morning, and switch to tea. Even though they both have caffeine, the one in tea seems to make me less jittery. In the evenings I switch to flavored green tea, which has really helped me.

    Bedtimes: sleep is very undervalued and underrated in our culture today, but I found when I went to bed 1/2 to 1 hour earlier, I slept better.

    Bedtime routine: This is very crucial to sending the signals to the brain that it’s time to slow down. If my brain starts to race I use my notes app on my phone to just jot everything down to get it out of my head. I’ll share it with my email, and I can look into the pressing issues the next day. If I still feel anxiety after that, I will take extra CBD or even Delta 8 to help me calm down.

    Indigestion is a big issue I deal with now, and the discomfort can keep me up at night, so now I take digestive enzymes with each meal, and I have found it really helps come time to sleep as my system isn’t keeping me up!

    Like

  17. Lani says:

    I follow what you do as well and it helps, I think, but my sleep is interrupted throughout the night so that’s my issue.

    Glad you are taking steps to get your sleep under control! xo

    Like

  18. Thanks for this. Reading during a bout of insomnia, so I’m inspired to hunker down on a few of these good sleep habits this week.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Ganga says:

    It is good that you found a way to sleep better… Thans for sharing how you achieved that 🙂 sleeping at a fixed time is the best tip 🙂

    Like

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