My July Journey: Day 5 - My Struggle with Sleep
Updated: Jul 6, 2019
Salvation thy name is bedtime… at least it used to be.
Most students if not all of them struggle at some point in getting a good night’s sleep. Despite teenagers on average needing about 8 hours of sleep daily to function properly, most of us hardly ever reach that mark. Whether it be pulling that all-nighter the night before an exam, partying until early in the morning or a few of those nagging thoughts deciding to play on your mind right before turning in, sleep often takes a back seat during Uni.
Sadly, I’ve fallen victim to all of these at some point this year.
For the majority of people nights out are the main way of socialising with people on your floor due to everyone’s timetable being different. Whilst I’d consider many of these nights the high points of my first year in Uni, often I’d end up going out as often as 3 or 4 nights per week – so in terms of a regular sleeping pattern, well, there was none.
I quickly became a night owl. I found that I was most productive at night (plus that was practically the only time you could get a seat in the library) and during my lowest points, there came a point where I was scared of falling asleep because of the inevitable nightmares it would bring. Sadly, this isn’t something new with me. Sleep is a part of self-care that I’ve struggled with the most and it’s been particularly difficult this year. It got to the point of me getting scared of falling asleep because of the inevitable nightmares it would bring. Old painful memories would resurface, I’d feel particularly isolated, be incessantly worrying and often I would end up waking up in tears. Thus late nights would become common even going as far as to run on only four hours of sleep per day.
So maybe it’s a bit hypocritical for me to be spouting words of wisdom about sleeping considering ‘m not the best role model as you’ve clearly seen. However, I’m taking advantage of my 12 week break from the social and work overload that is UnI life to try and get back to a regular sleeping schedule and am currently exploring new ways as well as reverting back to old ones that I have abandoned.
- ASMR– Another trend that has recently taken the internet by storm, and whilst not being everyone’s cup of tea, I’ve found it really effective at clearing my mind of all the worries and upsetting thoughts to focus on something else. Standing for autonomous sensory meridian response, ASMR is a soothing and often sedative sensation spreading over your head, typically moving down your spine and body, triggered by calm sounds such as whispers and lightly tapping. I’m particularly a fan of YouTube channels such as Karuna Satori who takes the role-play approach, simulating the feeling of being in a sleep clinic and ASMR darling who uses things like makeup brushes to creating relaxing noises. With studies such as PLoS One affirming their psychological benefits claiming that it tangibly lowers your heart rate, adding a therapeutic value to the videos, I’d definitely recommend trying at least once to help ease anxiety before sleep.
- Headspace App– Personally this has been one of the greatest apps for guided meditation that has really helped me rest the mind as well as the body. Through utilising a variety of different methods such as “Wind Downs,” guided exercises like deep breathing and visualization to prep the body and mind for sleep and soothing voices speaking over the ambient sounds, it’s easy to find something best suited to your tastes. My favourite choice though has to be Sleepcasts, varying from traditional sounds like Desert Campfire, including sounds of crickets chirping at night to more unique options like Midnight Launderette, featuring the gentle whirring of washing machines. Whilst everyone’s preferences differ, I’d definitely recommend adding one of these sleepcasts to your night time routine to see if it works for you. If anything you’ll be entertained by the idea of being lulled to sleep by a washing machine.
Although I’ve still got a long way to go with this journey and a regular sleeping pattern is difficult to achieve for most of us, hopefully these methods will help you find something that helps make a restful night's sleep that much more obtainable.I’m still battling against this fear of sleep day by day but by applying these measures hopefully this is a small step for me to getting back on a health sleeping schedule.
- Katie x