Surviving Midterms

I'm not sure I can ever top last week's blog. Special thanks to my classmates for the inspiration. We're already talking about a follow-up.

Midterms are upon us and we are in the throes of studying. While many of us are pulling all-nighters (and some all-weekenders), I feel like I need to remind everyone how important sleep is. I have been suffering from insomnia--for weeks. I'm not one to spend a whole lot of time sleeping, normally--but ever since my move, I've been sleeping less and less. So, I thought I'd share some of my tips for working on sleep. Here we go (see, I put you to sleep already). 


Clear Your Space

This is the absolute most important tip I could give, and the one I've benefited most from myself. Make sure there's as little in the way as possible. Get rid of the clutter; get rid of the dirty clothes (I know there's no time for laundry--it's midterms!); get rid of anything in your space that isn't conducive to sleep. This includes workout equipment, study materials, etc. Granted, if the only space available is the bedroom, some concessions can be made. Cover it up. It also helps to remove the TV, if at all possible. 

Set the Mood

Make it dark--REALLY dark. I had way too much light coming into my space, so I acquired some light blocking curtains. I still see daylight in the morning, but at least I don't feel like I'm looking at the surface of the sun. Also, making sure the bed is the most comfy place to sleep in the house is key. The only place I was falling asleep, was the couch.

Set Up a Routine

Whatever it is, make a routine for going to bed. Brush the teeth, wash the face, turn on some chill-out music--whatever works to get calmed down. Try not to turn on the TV. Some people like to work out in the evening. I can't work out and sleep within a few hours of each other. If I'm going to go to the gym at night, it has to be before 8pm. Working out helps with energy during the day and also with sleep at night, but it's not a good idea right before bed. 


No snacking within a couple of hours of bed. It's bad for the metabolism and having sugar spikes when it's time to calm down is a no-go. Don't try to sleep within 2-3 hours of eating. 


Last but not least, if sleep is still a real struggle, there are some fantastic herbs that will help with sleeping. Some old standbys are catnip, chamomile, and valerian. Other than the chamomile (be careful those with ragweed allergies), I tend to avoid Catnip and Valerian. I avoid Catnip because I have to fight the cats for it, and Valerian because of the side effects. 

I made a nice herb/tonic with rhodiola (adaptogen for stress), lemon balm (nervine, sedative), and white peony (nervine, calming agent). It knocked me right out. It was just enough sedation and calming for me to have two doses and then it reset my clock, and now I'm sleeping better. I also didn't wake up with the "hangover" that Valerian is apt to give. 

Remember that sleep is extremely important for memory--especially good sleep. We need those four phases of sleep to be able to, not only replenish our bodies, but also our minds. 

So, until next week -- Happy Sleeping (and Studying).