I got a good night’s sleep last night. Like, really good. Good like I dozed off around 9pm and didn’t wake again until about 5am. I woke up feeling rested and calm. Why is that a big deal you ask? Because I haven’t a decent night’s sleep in as long as I can remember.
I am among the 40 million people in the US who suffer from anxiety. I’ve had it most of my life. I’ve taken medicine for it and have tried to keep it under control with exercise. Certain triggers like lack of sleep, stressors at work, and of course having a baby tend to send my anxiety levels soaring. Having a fussy baby who didn’t sleep the first year of his life has sent me to the brink of many meltdowns. Who am I kidding – I wasn’t on the brink, I went straight over the edge into those meltdowns. It wasn’t pretty.
After a year of minimal nonexistent sleep, I had to make some changes. First being that I moved the baby monitor to my husband’s side of the bed. He is a sound sleeper and does a better job tuning out slight noises than I do. Second, and the most impactful change, is that I started nightly meditations to help me drift into a deep sleep.
I’ve tried meditating in the past but could not turn off my mind to be in the moment. My mind would race and focus on everything but the meditation. It was an open invitation to dwell on every single thought I had. However, this time around it has been a different experience. I look forward to coming to bed, covering my eyes, placing my ear buds in, and tuning into my favorite meditation. The laundry can wait, the mess can wait, everything can wait because it will all be there tomorrow. This moment is about me. My body is still while my mind moves to each point. And off to sleep I go.
I may not be able to sleep the entire night (restless baby), but the sleep I do get is deep and relaxing. I feel more energized on nights that I do my meditations.
Obviously anxiety is still something society has a difficult time talking about, but the stigma is lessening a little at a time. Take Ryan Reynolds – he recently gave an interview in the New York Times about his crippling anxiety and what he does to cope. Can you guess? Yep, meditation. He uses the app Headspace, but there are many apps out there. My go-to is Aaptiv. I’ve used the app since it was in the beta stage and love the vast workout options, but lately meditations have been at the top of my playlist.
So if life has you feeling stressed, know that A) you’re not alone and B) there are resources right at your fingertips to help you find ease.