“Deepen your sleep and thrive”Jay Shetty
January is well underway. I’m catching up on life after the festive break, I’ve got started on new projects and I am doing my best (whilst being kind to myself) to keep my new year promises. With all this activity, I’ve noticed I’m pretty tired this month, so lets talk about sleep.
Sleep has always been a favourite thing of mine. My mum will tell you it was a daily challenge to get me out of bed for school and friends could share many tales of finding me curled up asleep with the party still in full swing. Sleep was my thing, my superpower, I could sleep on any journey, I think I’ve slept standing up on one occasion so it became a family joke that I could sleep hung up on a washing line.
These days sleep has become more elusive. It can take hours for me to drift off. This is not because of insomnia or a busy mind, it is because of Charles Bonnet Syndrome which I developed after losing my sight. Some nights I lie there praying for the patterns, faces, and colours to leave me alone and let me get to dreamland!
We’ve all had evenings when our minds go into overdrive just at the moment you are about to lay down your head. We lie there recalling the day, thinking of the things that we need to do tomorrow, that week, regrets, a song, something someone said, the list is endless. When this happens to me my hallucinations are worse and they are defiant, they refuse to go and keep me awake for what seems like hours.
At first, I found this difficult, and I was consumed with frustration. Now I have learnt different techniques and routines to try and on some occasions they work. The reality is that I have had to accept the odd night where nothing will work and when it is best to relax and trust that I will eventually sleep.
So what can we do?
Some of the things I try are drops of lavender on my pillow (my favourite), sleep meditation music, sleep guided meditation, herbal teas, herbal sleeping tablets, pharmaceutical sleeping tablets (these, not so good), a hot bath, a foot massage, reading (or listening), exercise and many more.
As well as the things we can do there are specialists we can see. My research led me to Professor Guy Leschziner, a neurologist and sleep specialist at UCL London. Guy invited me to interview for a podcast series he produced on the senses for BBC Sounds. He has an interest in the connection of the senses and the brain. Through my personal experience with I believe there is a connection with the syndrome, the brain, and my emotions which in turn effects my sleep, in particular my ability to get to sleep. The episode I contributed to is called Vision, you can listen here BBC Sounds – The Senses – Available Episodes. Guy is returning the favour and will be talking to my Esme’s Friends group and sharing advice on sleep for people living with CBS. You can read more about Dr Guy Leschziner here Prof Guy Leschziner.
Massage is also a great way to relax the nervous system and calm the mind. If you would be interested in trying this out, I run a practice in Chorlton and would be happy to have a chat. You can contact me through my website www.fivesensestherapy.co.uk
Doing some research for this blog I came across some quotes around sleep and I wanted to leave you with a couple. Thank you for reading and if you have read this before bed, I hope it helps you sleep.
A well spent day brings happy sleep.Leonardo Da Vinci
Sleep helps you win at life.Amy Poehler
Sleep is the best meditationDalai Lama