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Take It From the Nap Queen

The most realistic guide to better rest I can give you

By Dani BananiPublished about a year ago 8 min read
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Take It From the Nap Queen
Photo by Eugenia Shustikova on Unsplash

No lie, it is hard as f-bomb to get the right amount of sleep. It is never just right. Why is that always the battle, and where are the magic solutions?

I've had these questions and issues for years. Truly, years. When I was seventeen years old, I developed what my doctor referred to as "the worst case of mono" he had ever seen in his entire career. I'd wager he was in his seventies at the time, so it didn't feel very impressive to me. Ever since then, the need for rest has been extreme.

On the flip side, life challenges and difficulties have turned me into an insomniac monster between periods of horrific exhaustion I cannot battle. There's just no winning! And let's be honest here, we've all read and tried the hundreds of remedies out there that promise you restful slumber and refreshed demeanors in the morning. I've tried them all, okay, and the best I wake up with is one entire hour where I don't feel like collapsing right back into my bed. That is not worth it to me.

Those sleepless nights and hard days are ones we all need a guide in battling. I'm no expert here, regardless of my "Nap Queen" nickname, but I've tried a whole lot of things to make my sleep life easier. The first piece of advice I can give you is this:

By Patrick Fore on Unsplash

You have to be able to wear yourself out enough for proper rest!

The question is, how do we get our bodies to the point of wanting to rest? What do we have to do? We’ve read a billion guides on this, but how often do we get something a little more realistic for the average person?

Well, I’m pretty average (and proudly so), and I’m no expert whatsoever so I figured…why not give everyone that guide to better rest that no one really asked for?

After all, I am “The Nap Queen." That’s sort of like royalty.

By Ashton Mullins on Unsplash

So let’s get started with what we should try to incorporate into our daily lives to get our bodies ready for that moment of glorious, deep sleep.

By kike vega on Unsplash

Finding time for light physical exercise.

I know, this has been in practically every guide to better rest, mental health, and physical health ever, but hear me out.

When the pandemic hit, I gained a lot of weight from stress and quarantine. Eventually, I got myself wanting to change for the better, so I began to use a pedal exerciser. My boyfriend bought it for himself and he graciously allowed me to borrow (steal) it to utilize whenever I pleased. As a stay-at-home mom, I was able to find time to pedal by doing so while watching TV, writing, reading, and during the family movie and TV show viewings. Whatever your lifestyle is, be creative and look for time to get your body to exert some energy. The goal is to be tired enough to get true rest, so get rid of that energy in little ways that won’t even make you break a sweat!

By Josh Riemer on Unsplash

Brain exercises are just as important, too.

Whether it’s apps or games on your phone or tablet, crossword books, word search books, Sudoku (a personal favorite), or watching educational YouTube videos, your brain needs to work in order to get tired enough for rest as well. Partaking in a reasonably limited amount of time on games like this helps wear your brain out and, like we’ve been discussing, this is part of the goal. The major bonus is that no one can rag on you for gaming because it’s actually for science!

By Kristin Brown on Unsplash

Short naps are seriously freaking cool.

The idea of short naps used to make me grumpy. If I’m going to nap, I’m going all or nothing! Two hours has always been my favorite length of a nap.

But then, there have been days when naps lasting anywhere from 15-45 minutes had to occur for one reason or another, and as completely annoying as it is to admit this…I feel a million times better after a short nap than I do after a long one. It may take me a bit of time to readjust to life, meaning speaking to me will be similar to speaking with a zombie, but once I snap out of it I am refreshed on an unbelievable level. My long naps are my favorites, by far, but if you need to rest before nighttime, I implore you to consider the short ones. You will feel much more prepared for bed after a 20-minute snooze as opposed to hours of one.

By Oğuzhan Akdoğan on Unsplash

Avoid screens for at least 30 minutes before you want to fall asleep.

I don’t love giving this advice, nor do I love taking it, but let’s be honest: the longer your eyes aren’t focused on your phone or another device of sorts, the easier it is to rest. Rather than let the screen wear your eyes out, let the darkness and peaceful atmosphere rest your brain instead. Your eyelids will follow in no time. It’s not your eyeballs that need the encouragement, it’s the major control center of your body. Nourish that part first if you want to rest thoroughly.

By Estée Janssens on Unsplash

Write, plan, review, and double-check weekly and monthly budget plans, meal plans, and appointments for accuracy.

If you don’t plan things like this, you should start trying to do so. It takes up that brain energy we want to drain out through the course of several hours. For myself, I like to work on these things at least once a day, keeping inventory of ingredients in the kitchen and overseeing the household needs. We’re a family of six, though, so you may not need to do this as much as I do.

By Marcel Strauß on Unsplash

Understanding the challenges mental health can create for rest, and being kind to yourself in terms of those difficulties.

Having mental health disabilities, issues, and challenges is commonplace in society, even if we don’t talk about it enough. Even if you cannot achieve as many hours asleep as you hoped for, celebrate what you did accomplish. If many of the suggestions in this guide feel too difficult due to your mental health, I encourage you to write down things that work for you and do your best. No matter what you accomplish, it’s going to be a big deal. Just because my ideas aren’t working doesn’t mean you can’t find ways. I believe in your ability to write your own guide.

By JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Stick to a routine as much as possible; work to identify stressors and reduce stress.

Spontaneous living can create stress, and stress can inhibit our sleep, but knowing what to expect by being more mindful of planning is a comfort while keeping your day active. According to the Mayo Clinic:

“Common causes of chronic insomnia include: Stress. Concerns about work, school, health, finances or family can keep your mind active at night, making it difficult to sleep.”

Concerns about such things can be minimized through routine and planning. Keeping up to date on all basic needs maintains an ease of mind. Remember, that's the goal!

By Brooke Lark on Unsplash

The American Institute of Stress shares that a 2017 research study conducted by the American Psychological Association deduced these five factors as the most common cores of stress:

  1. 63%, Future of our nation
  2. 62%, Money
  3. 61%, Work
  4. 57%, Political climate
  5. 51%, Violence/crime

If, when reading this list, you find that these stressors are present in your own life, this is the beginning of you finding ways to reduce them. If a stressor, such as political climate, is out of your control in order to reduce your stress levels, seeking therapeutic discussion or conversations with trusted loved ones might be enough to ease the weight of this kind of stress. Identify what brings you down the most and find what lifts them off your shoulders, even if only for a tiny moment.

By Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash

Well, it’s bedtime. Now what?

You did everything you could for the day, and now it’s time to rest. What else can we do to make sure it happens better?

Check your pillows.

You may not even realize a new pillow will help you rest better. According to The Sleep Doctor,

“Look for one that's as thick as the distance between your ear and outside shoulder. Stomach sleepers may need a soft pillow—or no pillow at all—underneath their head. A pillow under your stomach and pelvis may help prevent back pain. Back sleepers may need a flatter pillow, to keep your head and neck in alignment.”

By Deconovo on Unsplash

Wash your bedding regularly.

The comfort of soft fluffy bedding is unmatched. If you’re going for the best rest possible, give yourself the gift of keeping your bedding washed regularly. This may be a challenge for those with depression and/or other challenges, but it does help if you can find the strength one day or another.

From the Sleep Foundation,

“Washing sheets and making your bed once a week may seem excessive, but it’s well worth your time. Even after a few days, bedsheets can accumulate significant amounts of:

  • Dirt
  • Dead skin cells
  • Body oils
  • Sweat
  • Dust mites, including their carcasses and fecal matter”

For more info on how to wash bedding properly, visit sleepfoundation.org

A sound mind can help one sleep more restfully. Knowing that you’re ridding yourself of such abominations has to help ease you into better sleep, right?

By Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Buy your bed with the soundness of your sleep at night as a priority.

Most certainly in current times, money is the main issue when buying a new mattress. However, if you are going to make at least one sound investment, choosing the best kind of bed should be made a priority. Money always comes and goes, as it is an endless and vicious cycle, so if the slightly more expensive brand of bed is going to work for you, that money will be well spent. Money will always come back, in some way or another, so worrying about the little extra now won’t help your overall comfort and daily energy. Settling for less is settling for a body not rested. Click here if you want some help on how to choose the right mattress for you.

By Anna Selle on Unsplash

All we ever really want in life is peace, and one of the simplest ways we can give that to ourselves is through something like changing our approach to sleeping. Treating it as the necessity it is with the care it deserves can have numerous positive impacts on other aspects of your life. Take it from someone who has tried and isn't an expert trying to sell you anything: the work you put into good rest is worth it. Give it a try, whenever you're ready.

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About the Creator

Dani Banani

I write through the passion I have for how much the world around me inspires me, and I create so the world inside me can be manifested.

Mom of 4, Birth Mom of 1, LGBTQIA+, I <3 Love.

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