How to Count Sheep
If the title of this post sounds obscure to you, please stop reading now.
Kept reading? Are you sure you should be? Maybe you have the ability to turn your brain off on command. Perhaps you find airline seats comfortable, and slumber for most of your 18hr flight to Europe. Your dreams are uninterrupted by garbage trucks, the sound of glass breaking in the kitchen, a dog barking from under your bed, flying foxes screeching outside your window, and toddlers - well, doing just about anything.
If so, this really isn't for you.
You know, I used to be like you. Until I became a parent and developed a superhuman ability to hear my daughter whimper/roll over/have an extra-long inhale from across the house in the middle of the night.
So, now and then, I find myself trying to fall asleep. Trying. Trying. and Trying. I lay there thinking about lists and jobs and unfinished stuff. Or my legs ache. Or I've invited my toddler - who sleeps like an octopus - into our bed.
These are my strategies for getting back to sleep.
1. Chamomile tea. To be honest, I don't even like chamomile very much ... but it's a tried and true sleep-inducer that's been used for - well, a really long time. So when I need to sleep, this is what I call upon.
Chamomile is a flower - and I buy mine dried, but you can also find it fresh and make a really lovely tea.
Plus, it's even better if you make your tea in one of the porcelain teacups you bought at the thrift store last week. One of the 6 teacups that formed part of the entire set of 6 tea + dinner settings that you got for $9.
Ok, back to sleep. Or sheep. Or whatever.
2. Bloom. This is an app, so you'll have to convince your partner you need an iPhone if you don't already have one. But it's a really cool music program that plays trippy, pinging music and has a sleep timer on it. You can actually contribute to the music via your touchscreen (i.e. toddler entertainment device) or you can let it play on its own.
3. Lavender. Also a flower, lavender is another way to get back to sleep. Add drops of lavender essential oil to a hot shower or bath. Mix it with your favourite vegetable oil (like almond) and give yourself a quick massage (or, wake up your partner and get them to do it for you). Spritz it on your pillow case.
Or, you can use the dried flowers to fill a little sachet ... set it on your pillowcase or cuddle it or throw it at your partner when he refuses to give you that massage or set it on top of your pj's ... and it'll transmit the fragrance without the risk of staining anything. (If you're keen on this idea, look here. Or you can buy them here.)
*Lavender is quite safe, but it's always best to check with your doctor if you have allergies or are pregnant before using any new essential oil. Plus, keep all essential oils out of the reach of kiddies ... lest they get any ideas.
4. Count down from 100, backwards. Simple. Does not require getting out of bed to make tea or have a shower. And if all else fails? Try it in Spanish and at least you'll be improving your foreign-language skills.
5. Guided meditation. I find, particularly when I'm trying to fall back asleep, that I need someone telling me how to meditate. My favourite source of guided meditations is a woman called Stin Hansen. You can find her meditations via her website ... you'll have to pay a little bit if you do it this way, but she also has some freebies via iTunes podcast. Download them - they're awesome.
And if you can't handle Stin, try Meditation Oasis ... you can download some fantastic free meditations from them on iTunes!
If all else fails? A midnight snack. Like a slice of peanut-butter-slathered toast. Or a cookie. (or two).
Like one of these ...
Buckwheat and Butter Cookies
A Basket of 'Googies' (Cumin-Lime Cookies)
Orange Poppyseed Cookies (and Joshua Tree NP)
Oat and Sunflower Biscuits
Peanut Butter, Chocolate and Quinoa Cookies
Vegan Sesame Cookies with Cacao Nibs
Lemon Millet Cookies
Sneaky Vegan Chocolate Cookies
Chewy (Vegan) Anzac Biscuits
So, happy sleeping. Say hello to the sheep for me. It's gonna be a good night.