One of my most cherished memes that graces the Internet space is this: Every night I’m like “I have exactly 5 hours, 32 minutes and 53 seconds of sleep… if I fall asleep in 2 minutes.” This feeling, unfortunately, is one I am very close friends with. At this point, this feeling and I are nearly related. When I’m constantly anxious about an exam the next morning, or having to go into a new rotation, or getting “pimped” by a preceptor, my frontal cortex goes haywire conjuring every possible horrific scenario possible. Is tomorrow the day I cry in front of preceptor? Is tomorrow the day I have to do CPR!!??!?!? Is tomorrow the day I get a job offer?! (Sometimes I imagine positive scenarios too when I’m good about sticking to my morning meditation.) I honestly wish I could sit here and tell you that every night at 7pm I sink into a bath filled with eucalyptus, perform a seance with palo santo, practice ujjayi deep breathing, read poetry, then shut the lights off. But that would be a true and vicious lie. This happens maybe 5% of the time. Usually it looks a little something like this:
- 5:30 pm: I get home and wonder if it’s too early to eat dinner. My rational mind says yes. My emotional
mind drags my limbs to the kitchen to heat up something lackluster, usually the likes of 3-day old leftover
chicken crockpot medley
- 6pm: Ugh, I was hoping it would take longer to cook and eat. I suppose this means I have to study now
- 6:12pm: Did I really just stare out the window for 12 whole minutes procrastinating studying???….
- 6:30pm: **closes Snapchat** ***reopens Snapchat then realizes just closed Snapchat*** Katie I swear to
G if you don’t get off your phone right now!!!… (to be read in a mom tone of voice during a medium to
long car-ride like “ I will turn this car around!!!!”)
- 6:30-8:30pm: begrudgingly studies (extra emphasis on the word begrudgingly).
- 8:30pm: gets in bed
Ladies and gentlemen, this is not a misprint, I am usually in bed by 8:30pm. My brain is engaged so, so, so hard
during the day, that I just can’t manage to be vertical past 9pm. At 8:30, though, is when my nighttime routine gets serious. Insert dramatic music here.
I have a book on the night stand at the very off chance I am motivated to read at night. But most of the time I’m
too exhausted to look at words anymore, so I turn to the deep dark cavernous whole that is Netflix, usually with
some easy watching to take my mind off the day. Heavy in the line-up are Parks and Rec, The Office, and New Girl. Get me giggling before I get to snoring. I have had to discuss sleep hygiene both in the classroom and on rotations, and so I definitely know what I should be doing before bed (establish a routine, read, drink tea, do some deep breathing, light a pleasant smell, put my phone away by 7pm, etc., etc., etc.,). And what I should not be doing, i.e. screen time. Ugh, but I really must say. Turning to a tv show at the end of the day is something I just really look forward to. Especially during this brief time of my life when my brain is the equivalent of 4 people living in a studio apartment: impossibly crowded.
So here is my new pledge to myself, because I know sleep is something I definitely need to work on. I will drink
Traditional Medicinals Nighty Night tea before bed. Because Traditional Medicinals teas offer some of the best
quality medicinal-grade herbs, I know I’m getting the good stuff, which in this case includes organic passionflower, chamomile and linden flower – a combination of herbs that supports a good night’s sleep.* I will turn my electronics to night mode starting at 7pm. I will try to do a stress decompress activity before bed, like chess or cards or read a few pages of a book that has NOTHING to do with medicine. While I am watching my cherished rom-sitcoms, I will do some 4-7-8 breathing (inhale 4 counts, hold 7 counts, exhale 8 counts). And once a week I will draw a dramatic bath for myself with lavender and eucalyptus while drinking Nighty Night tea with a few squares of dark chocolate!! So that when I do have a bit more time, and I’m not constantly feeling like I should be studying (or guilty that I’m not studying), I can make these things a more regular part of my weekly routine.
I am into doing and suggesting very minimal effort behaviors, especially when everything else in life feels
pretty effortful. I understand why behavior change can be so hard, so rather than doing a complete overhaul, I’m over here keeping things realistic. I will not completely abandon my friends Leslie, Ron, and April, but instead I will add on some new behaviors, like tea drinking and deep breathing and a bath once a week, as mentioned above. Maybe even make a game out of it? Every time Leslie says the word waffles I’ll take a swig of my Traditional Medicinals Tea? Now that’s a behavior I can make a habit out of. And one that will likely have me looking forward to my nightly tea.
If you have a loved one in your life who has occasional stress or sleeplessness, a really good holiday gift idea is
creating a stress decompress package. Here are my recommendations:
- Traditional Medicinals Nighty Night Tea
- A bath teak (I like this one)
- A bouquet of Eucalyptus or lavender
- Lavender essential oils
- Body balm
- Really dark chocolate
- A list of light-hearted book suggestions (or tv series…sorry, I’m only human!!!)
- A soothing music playlist
- Subscription to a meditation app (I like Headspace)
- A class to a local yoga studio
- Or whatever it is that makes them feel zen! These are just the things that I personally enjoy
Find a box of Nighty Night at a retailer near you – I like to pick mine up at any local grocery store, like Price Chopper or Whole Foods.
Thank you to Traditional Medicinals for sponsoring this post. I wholeheartedly adore you and both me and my
taste buds are absolutely delighted to represent you.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.