Struggling to sleep? Alternative ways to catch more ZZZs
The effects of a good night’s rest stretch from greater concentration to more glowing skin. Something that isn’t talked about enough, in my opinion, is how it also promotes healthy hair growth. All that serotonin, increased blood circulation and slower protein breakdown (which is what your hair is made of) is definitely worth a mention.
So whether you want all these benefits or just want some darn sleep, it’s sometimes easier said than done. Before you rush to grab your sleeping pills or repeat a failed approach, try some of these alternative methods when insomnia comes knocking.
If you haven’t yet heard of ASMR, Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response is a calming sensation caused by sounds or visuals called ‘triggers’. Scientists are in the early stages of figuring out how exactly it works, but we do know that it helps to slow the heart rate and produce a tingling feeling of comfort and calm. When I’m feeling particularly restless and need something to help me quieten the millions of thoughts in my head, I go over to YouTube to see what my favourite ASMR creator has posted. If you’ve never watched an ASMR video before, you may be struck by the weirdness of the whole thing, but bear with me. Here’s a video that explains what it is, and here’s one of my favourite black girl ASMR creators.
I have questions too, Sis, but it works!
If ASMR isn’t for you, meditation might be. This mindfulness practice is becoming more mainstream and accessible. It’s even being used in schools as a way to address the roots of bad behavior. The benefits of meditation are endless, and better sleep is just one of them. Whether you use a guided meditation app like Calm, use free videos on YouTube or if you like to do it yourself, meditating before bed (or in bed) will help you let go of the day and put your body and mind in a state of relaxation.
Sleep stories A sleep story is essentially someone reading you a story to fall asleep. It’s a bedtime story for grown-ups. Sleep stories can be beautiful stories with a clear beginning and end, or they can have no clear point at all and involve meandering tales of things such as lavender fields and galaxies. Either way, the point isn’t to fully follow the story from beginning to end, but rather lean into the comfort of being read to, and hopefully fall asleep. You can find them as part of most meditation apps or, once again, our trusty friend YouTube has you covered.
A while ago, we shared about the importance of a morning routine, but a bedtime routine is just as important. Truth is, starting a new routine of any kind isn’t easy, so here are some ideas that you can incorporate in your nightly routine.
Go to bed at the same time every night. You can set a reminder on your phone that lets you know it’s time to wind down for bed
No screens (TV, laptop, cellphone) 30 minutes before bed
Read or listen to an audiobook
Take a bath
Drink a cup of something warm and comforting, such as chamomile tea or hot chocolate
Wear comfortable pyjamas
Those are all the tricks I have in my sleeping bag. They’re not all perfect, but definitely worth the practice. I hope they help you get the beauty-rest you deserve.