Dear Africana Woman,
Howz it? Have you been sleeping well? Yes. No. If you know me well then you know I am awake at ungodly hours and I often get the question, “Do you ever sleep?” The truth is I have a sleeping problem. I have struggled with this for many years, I think as far back as uni days. It’s been more than two decades. Many a night I get an average of about 3 hours of sleep.
Most people will tell me that I am thinking too much or I am stressed about something. Sometimes it was true that there would be a lot going on, but a lot of times there also wasn’t anything significantly disturbing going on. I just could not sleep. Then when I find there is no sleep I decide to work. So what is the real problem?
My insomnia really kicked in this last month again and I thought I have to do better. I have read extensively about how to get a good night’s sleep and I was very clearly ignoring all the tactics then getting shocked at the results. Lol. Ati Definition of Madness. This is me at night typically; I will feel tired, so I take all my books, laptop and phone to the bedroom and throw them on my bed. Turn off the light, then find something to watch on Netflix that will be a lullaby. Who does that? So then I am waking up about 5 times in the night, whatever is playing jumps into my dreams. Literally shambles. Then this month, I really took the piss, why because I watched Blood Sisters in one go. Then Savage Beauty in one Go. Then I read Hlomu: The Wife in two days non-stop.
This had to stop.
Let’s talk about how to get a good night’s rest.
First thing is take away DISTRACTIONS. If you are like me and you work from home, have clear delineations of what happens in each space. I have an office where work is done. I have a bed for sleeping in and resting. Which means when I bring the books, the laptop etc it confuses my brain to say work is not over. Because I can still see it and subconsciously my mind is thinking about that thing I have not quite finished or still need to attend to. All in all if it is not for helping you sleep it should not be in the bedroom. Might I add here that your bedroom should be designed in a way to give you peace. If you have piles of dirty clothes on the floor, clusters of items that have no home that aggravates your spirit. And the big one, do not have a TV in your bedroom for goodness sake. Which then follows do not substitute a TV with your phone or laptop.
Give your BODY SIGNALS that is time to sleep. This is what they call an evening routine. Literally winding down, getting your body into a relaxed state. This could be leaving your phone in the office. If you are like me you don’t need an alarm to wake you up. When you go to your room turn off the main light and use the side lamp. Dimming the lights is another signal to your body to start relaxing. Taking a bath is also a way of symbolically washing away the gunk that came with the day and saying it’s time to rest and refresh. Using aroma therapy like candles or scents can calm you down. Or even just reading a good book for about 30 minutes to an hour before you sleep. You could also journal and write about what happened that day or write 10 things you are grateful happened during the day. Sis I do not do all of these, I have just chosen what works for me.
TURN OFF YOUR INTERNET for the night. Not only are you saving data but it’s another way of guaranteeing you will not get a notification that will disturb you as you sleep. Now if you know me well, you know I do not have any notifications on my phone. If you are not able to be this extreme at least give yourself relief whilst you sleep. You can also freeze or lock your social media apps for the night. You know how they say, you will always find work, there is no point taking it home. Same goes for social media. The news will still be there when you wake up in the morning.
Taking a few pointers from above this is what I did. I turned off my internet at 22hrs. My social media apps go into my freezer I want to say at 21 but its more of 22, still working on that. I do not bring my work into my room let alone sleep with it. I turn the lights low and read for about 30 minutes. That is enough to relax my body. The results are that the last three days straight I have slept through the night for a minimum of 6 hours. Can I do better? Yes. One day I will get to 8 hours. But from 3 to 6 is a major win for me this week. I just need to be consistent with my evening routine. That’s it.
I hope you are getting the rest that you need. There is no doubt that sleep is necessary for you to be performing at your best. To be Creative, Productive, a Problem Solver, Innovative, Loving, Patient, Kind, Generous… if you want all of these things improve the quality of your sleep. Let me know if you start doing any of the above and how it goes for you. Africana Woman is a blog, podcast, and community. You can catch me on Instagram @ChulubyDesign. And remember I want you to love yourself flaws n all and attract the life that you truly desire. Day 3 done.
Love you Babes