How to Upgrade on Sleep
I hope by now it is no secret that sleeping well can drastically improve one’s life, including mental health disorders. The catch, however, is that mental health disorders will affect the quality of sleep (assuming there is sleep).
As a girl who has tried a wide variety of sleep pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter sleep aids. I feel it is my responsibility to share some of the sleep hacks I have discovered through the years.
For as long as I can remember I have always had the most vivid and sometimes lucid dreams. I still remember some of the dreams I had as a child because they felt so real. Unfortunately from the age of 15–19, I had a very treacherous and exhausting battle with a range of mental health disorders, and the quality of my sleep was heavily beaten down due to intake of (consistently changing) pharmaceuticals, unrealistic pressure put on myself to perform, and a lack of the knowledge I have now. The lack of sleep I was getting also affected my mental health and the toxic cycle took me into some dark places.
Sleeping. Is. NOT. Just. For. The. Weak.
And f*ck whoever started that ridiculous little phrase. I personally have had so much personal growth physically, mentally, and spiritually since I have realized the power of sleep. More nights than not I currently get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep. I have heard so many times “SlEePiNg ToO lOnG iSn’T gOoD fOr YoU eItHeR” and to that, I say “how do YOU know what is good for ME?” You’re not my mom and (love you mama) but even she doesn’t always know what is best for me. I listen to my body and when she needs 10 hours of sleep, I give it to her. By honoring what she needs, she allows me to perform in ways that leave me shocked by my own strength and power.
There is power in routine
Creating a routine for your evenings will help your body learn when it is time to wind down and prepare to sleep. This will obviously vary from person to person. The beautiful thing about humans is our uniqueness. But I recommend considering adding some of these into your nightly routine.
1. Drink plenty of water, bonus points if it is warm and soothing. I will never be you warm water drinking folks, but I envy the extra points in your bank for this.
2. Practice some form of a self-love ritual. As an esthetician, I highly recommend washing your face. But this can be as simple as giving yourself a high five in the mirror and saying something nice to yourself. Lighting your favorite candle and chanting. Or slipping into your favorite panties and touching yourself… relaxation is the goal, just saying.
3. Read something… on PAPER. Personally, this has been a routine of mine since I was a wee little bean. My dad and I used to read together every night. I love to curl up with a good fiction book and get lost. I also believe fiction stimulates the creative juices in my brain making my dreams consistently more entertaining.
4. I recommend journaling. It can literally just be a sentence about whatever. It is such a good way to release and process what happened throughout your day so your body can focus on repair while you sleep, and not as much processing.
5. Brush your teeth, just do it.
Along with a strong night routine, having a solid morning routine will heavily improve your sleep. Not having to subconsciously stress about how your next day will start will reduce your anxiety and allow you to sleep deeper.
Know when and how you sleep best
Waking up and falling asleep at the same time every day allows your body to easily build healthy sleep habits. I recognize this is not possible for everyone. But aiming to be within an hour window of the time you lay out for yourself will make falling asleep easier. It’s also important to know at what time you sleep best. For example, research has shown teenagers typically get their best quality of sleep in the morning. Adjusting your sleep time to best fit your natural sleep rhythms will benefit the amount of healing you get through sleep. Along with when you sleep, how long you sleep also matters. Standard research says 6–8 hours, but some people need significantly more than this. I thrive best on 8–10 hours of sleep.
Finding what position you sleep best in will also eliminate a lot of tossing and turning throughout the night, allowing your body to sleep deeper and for longer. What position you sleep in is. entirely up to your personal preferences, but make sure your spine and neck are supported in whatever position you choose with the use of pillows between or under the knees.
Avoid your screens
They are poison!! The blue light messes with your brain waves. Shining this blue light directly into your eyes is extremely stimulating and sends the wrong message to your brain at night. The goal is to let your body know it is time to start relaxing an hour or more before you fall asleep. If it is within your budget I recommend buying an old fashion alarm clock and letting your phone charge in a separate room than the one you are sleeping in.
Your bed is for sleeping
Doing any other activity in your bed that is not part of your nightly routine will make it more difficult for your body to recognize the bed as your sleeping place. Avoid studying, working, and eating in your bed along with the use of your screens.
I have done an entire article about meditation and what it has done for my life. But practicing 5–10 minutes of breathing exercises right before I fall asleep helps clear my mind. It allows me to sleep deeper and significantly ups the vividness of my dreams. Meditation often leads me directly into sleep if the routine I have been practicing is solid.
Okay, enough about sleep prep…
People often ask me how I have such vivid and extraordinarily produced dreams at night so I have complied some more advice to hopefully help you in your dreaming journey.
Sleep and Dream logging
Whether you believe there is meaning behind dreams or not, dream logging is a great way to track your dreams and help you recall details. Making a habit of this will help you recall more vivid details over time. I recommend logging these babies on paper (again screens do not have our best interest at heart). Have a specific pen and journal right next to your bed so you can wake up and immediately begin logging before you do anything else. Any movement after you wake up will make it much harder to remember your dreams. When you log write down every detail you possibly can. It doesn’t matter how legible your writing is, or if the order you write and recall the details and events make any sense (often our dreams only make sense while we are in them). I also. recommend documenting what time you fell asleep and woke up and if you can recall any times you woke up throughout the night.
Let’s talk crystals
Call me a crazy witch all you want, but I love my crystals and what they have helped me manifest in my personal life.
Amethyst, a universal master crystal. This beautiful purple stone will help stimulate your third eye, allowing you to tap a little deeper into your dream realm. This crystal will help connect you to other dimensions, intensifying your dreams. This soothing and healing crystal is a great one to keep under your pillow. It clears the mind of negative vibrations allowing more clarity in many different aspects of your mental world.
Kyanite is an extremely intuitive supporting stone. This stone does not hold to negative energies and when used to regulate your sleep rhythms, cycles and increase your dreaming ability it will provide. This healing gemstone improves the communication abilities of your subconscious to your conscious self. This will provide you with more clarity of your dreams and interpretation of them.
My favorite is Blue Celestite. This dream logging crystal will help cleanse your aura and restore balance to your inner systems. This crystal assists in the connection to angel realms, allowing you to communicate to your spiritual guides in your dream realm. This crystal activates the third eye chakra and the crown chakra. I keep one of these crystals on top of my dream log to protect my dreams and help me find clarity through them.
Stop regular use of THC
For my fellow chill hippies out there, I see you, and I feel you. I am one with you. THC has many wonderful benefits, but this flower also inhibits and puts a cap on your ability to dream and have vivid, explorative dreams. This is great when you struggle with nightmares or sleep anxiety. But if your goal is to live another life through your dreams, slow down your regular use of THC. I promise you will watch your dreams transform before your third eye.
Remember, this takes years of practice, dedication, trial and error to figure out what your body needs best. So be patient and kind to yourself. Begin by adopting one thing at a time to successfully build strong, useful habits. I believe in you and I am rooting for you ❤
A good night’s sleep will increase your vibration and the planet’s.