Another sleepless night was in the books. Nearly a year had passed and I still barely slept through the night. Before you ask, there was no newborn baby or boogey man that robbed me from some shut eye. Nope.
The culprit was simply the absence of my better half.
Being unable to sleep because of missing a spouse seems silly, but the fact remains, I missed him too much and it kept me up.
Roughly twelve months ago, my beloved husband packed his bags, his favorite pillow, and kissed us goodbye to serve overseas. You would think that by now, as a seasoned military spouse, I would have been ready and capable to handle whatever approached on the horizon alone. But, alas, for the first 10 months, I barely managed to pull off a full night’s sleep.
For the first few nights, every single sound threw me into a hyper-alert ninja pose. After that, the exhaustion of non-stop thoughts filled with “what ifs” and “how come” were just enough to mentally wear me out, but didn’t quite lull me to sleep. Other times, anxiety raged through my mind and caused me to painstakingly replay every moment of the day in slow motion. About halfway through, at the six-month mark, I truly thought I would go crazy.
Now, in the 11th hour, I seemed to have straightened it out. Yep. That’s right. After fighting the battle for dreaming at dark for what feels like forever now, I finally have a grasp on grabbing my nightly Z’s. I wish someone had shared these tips and tricks with me at the start of this chaotic season, so I hope and pray these helpful hints will tip the scales for you.
1: Get a routine
One of the most important things I learned is the importance of a nightly routine. Let’s be real. The first few months aren’t really conducive for a nightly routine as everything feels like mere survival. But, try to get a routine together. Start shutting down the house at a specific time. It really helped me to have all of our evening chores done by 7:00 pm so I could start showers, tuck everyone in, and be done by 8:30-9:00.
2: Listen to an audio book instead of watching tv
I know the urge to binge watch your favorite show into the wee hours of the morning is tempting, but don’t give in. I promise, you’ll regret it. Spending the day in a permanent fog from a late-night streaming session is the worst. Instead, try to snag an audio book. An audio book or podcast will allow you to slowly shut down by focusing on a story or series without engaging your brain with blue lights.
3: Try different ways to relax and keep what works for you
One of my favorite things to do to relax is to brew a hot cup of chamomile tea, turn on some soothing music, and read the Psalms in Scripture. Journaling also helped me to unpack the day’s events and happenings. When I finally crawl my way into bed, I snuggle up in my favorite soft blanket. Think about the things that you need or want when you are trying to relax and allow yourself the permission to have them.
Without sleep, I am one cranky creature. The longer I went without it, the more irritable and depressed I seemed to get. I am beyond grateful that I finally stumbled upon the handful of hacks that helped me drift into a good night’s sleep. It has made all the difference. I hope these tips and tricks will usher you into a better night’s sleep too.