Friday, December 9, 2011

December Dreamtime

Insomnia is the worst.  I've written about it before... when I stress, my sleep is the first thing to go.  This is so unfortunate, as sleep is truly the key to health, sanity, and all good things.  And let's be frank, the holiday season, as joyful a time as it is, can also be a time of great stress.  On my mind when I lie awake in the dark these days: travel logistics with a two-year-old, holiday budgets, long to do lists, potentially forgotten items on said to do lists, dog-related travel logistics/angst, holiday weight gain, age/aging related angst (seriously, don't even ask), house related concerns, headache-inducing neck pain... the list goes on and on.

The good news is that I've been battling the evil insomnia long enough that I now know how to successfully fight back.  I refuse to be ruled by these sleepless nights, and so now if I even have one tossy-turny night, I know I have to haul out the big guns to make sure I can catch up on sleep the next.  As such, I have been on a relentless hunt to find natural remedies to help my situation.  I've come across some great ones lately, so in case any of you have a case of the December Dreamless-ness, I thought I would share the love.  Here are my new favorite ways to ensure quality shut eye, this month and beyond:
1) Melatonin.  Melatonin is the hormone our bodies produce to regulate our circadian rhythms.  When these rhythms are thrown off for whatever reason, our sleep cycles suffer. Taking a 3mg melatonin tablet before bed can help naturally lull you off to dreamland by mimicking/enforcing the hormonal process that allows us to fall asleep.  Melatonin tablets are sold at health food stores and Whole Foods, but you should consult with your doctor if you are on other meds, pregnant or nursing.  And, obviously, I am not a doctor so please take my advice with a grain of salt!  I'm just sharing that my physician recommended melatonin to me and, for me, it has been helpful.

2) Lavender essential oil.  I mix several drops with my Alba Cocoa Butter lotion and rub this into my neck, shoulders and arms before bed.  Not only is the moisturizing effect wonderful in this dry weather, the aroma is naturally relaxing and just helps me take that needed deep breath to let everything go before trying to fall asleep.

3) Hot yoga.  I recently scored an insanely great package deal for a month of unlimited yoga at the Baron Baptiste Power Yoga Institute in Boston.  I have been trying to make the most of it, so I've been going to yoga twice or more per week, having a regular yoga practice for the first time in years.  Oh my, I can't even tell you what a difference this has made to my well-being.  And, I have to say, I had forgotten how much I really love hot yoga.  If you can get past the initial oppressiveness of the heat and the mild grossness of all those sweaty people packed together in one room, you will get a cleansing, soul refreshing sweat like no other from hot power yoga.  I'm loving the teachers at this studio and how much more limber my body is feeling.  And as far as sleep goes, the yoga buzz from these classes gives way in the evening to the most wonderfully natural rinsed-out exhaustion... the kind that only really comes from intense exercise... and allows my body to truly grasp on to the rest that it needs.

4) Tazo Rest Tea.  I randomly picked up a box of this delicious tea on sale, and now I am totally hooked.  Rest is an herbal infusion of rose petals, valerian root and citrus, all meant to promote relaxation and restful sleep.  I love ending the day with a steaming cup of this beautifully floral tea, and I swear it helps bring on the drowsies.

5) Put it all down on the page and leave it there.  My mom got me the lovely journal in the photo above, and I've been trying to use it to do full and complete brain dumps at the end of my day.  Whether it is a worry, concern, goal or to do list, I try to just write it all out and then leave it there on the page.  Out of my brain, into the book!  Once these thoughts spinning through my head are committed to paper, I can let them go for the night.  Sounds simple, but it really does help keep sleepless anxiety at bay.
Happy Friday and here's to a restful weekend for us all.


  1. I love Baron Baptiste-he and I work out together in my beautiful basement yoga retreat! How fantastic to have the opportunity to attend his studio! Lucky you!

  2. Amazing blog I like it,will be visiting my link !!

    Valerian tea

  3. Just wanted to say that before I even got to item #1, I was going to recommend Melatonin to you. I have not used it myself, but know a few people who have, and who swear by it.

    Pregnancy insomnia for me these days is its own special category, I'm afraid. Really, is there any reason my brain needs to repetitively obsess over a 2 year old (!) birthday party planning at 3:30am?? No; stfu, brain.