Sleeping for the Freelancer and Anxious Millennial

Meg Summerfield Studio | Sleeping for the Freelancer and Anxious Millennial

Little Pre-Post Note: I chose the photo above to represent this post, because it was taken on a completely sleepless night. 100% sans sleeping. Yes, I was in paradise, on my first vacation EVER as a full-time self-employed #bosslady, but that doesn't mean that your brain doesn't creep in and ruin your sleeping. I got up and did something with my morning and shot one of the most beautiful sunrises I've ever seen. I basically died of exhaustion the next day, but hey, I was in the Caribbean so who cares. Now I've learned HOW to fix this problem I had last year.

 

Sleeping for the Freelancer and Anxious Millennial

One thing in blogging more this year. Is that I like to share things in life that not only pertain to my business but my creative lifestyle. Sharing and learning from one another has been the cornerstone of making this sometimes lonely way of life something so much more gratifying. I would be silly if I thought that hiding that taking on the extra“stuff” that comes with entrepreneurship is easy, but there are a few things that make it work.

We know my word of the year is Eudaemonia, and it’s something I have been working towards for a few months. As a huge part of the focus of the year is happiness and flourishing, in a personal and business sense … there is something integral and intensely important about sleep in the equation! 

Why is sleep such a tough thing to talk about?

Sleep. It’s so personal, it’s something behind the bedroom door, but something that is a key aspect in our mental and physical health. For many, especially the younger eyes on this article, sleep is something that gets in the way. It depends a lot on your genetics whether or not you can be a great employee, friend, colleague, artist and more on less than our ideal number of sleep hours. Beyond the obvious of being tired, we don’t preform at our highest level and more than that, we lose our sense of center. 

In addition to sleep being this topic in the gray area of what is personal vs. business based, it also is a personal topic on a different level. The amount of sleep we need, our personal lives, the circumstances in our personal life all come together and affect our sleep patterns. It’s an integral part of our personal and work life, but but there are factors in each that change our ability to fall asleep each night.

In the attempt to do better this year at finding that work/life balance, I have been working on my sleep patterns. Millennial or not (I'm on the edge), the digital world and I have a tough relationship when it comes to sleep. It's an a push pull between watching netflix and my computer and business life creeping into my sleep hours.

However I have developed/tested a few things that have worked for me personally.


Digital Tools

What? Digital tools? Is this woman crazy? No. Hear me out. For those of you who aren’t ready to ditch your phone from that location directly next to your bed, or IN your bed, let’s work on letting your phone work FOR you instead of against you. Tips to use in addition to the following apps/podcasts

  •  put your phone on DND at a certain hour of the evening
  •  and put the light on a night timer to change to yellow light instead of blue so when you do use your phone to turn on one of these apps, it doesn’t completely ruin any semblance of sleepiness you might already have.

Sleep with Me Podcast

Sleep with Me is a podcast by “Dearest Scooter”, who tells what they dub “Boring Bedtime Stories” in a lulling and soothing voice that helps you fall asleep. Seriously, this is genius, because it doesn’t matter at all what the topic is, you just allow your mind to wander, yet focus on the voice and I have fallen asleep each time I tried it. It’s not my number one go to, but for those nights when you see 1am, then 2am, try this podcast. At the very least it will help you from thinking about work.


Meditation Apps

Have you ever fallen asleep after a yoga class?  Guided meditation works wonders for letting your mind relax. Technically meditation is not meant to help you fall asleep, however it can help in all the things that are stopping you from being able to fall asleep. From a busy mind, to restless thoughts, to not just letting your body relax. If you can turn your focus to your breath and relaxation, and off of the thoughts racing around in your head, you are much more likely to fall asleep.

A few apps I highly recommenD:


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1. Simple Habit

This app is a paid app, but I suggest you try it out. What I love about Simple Habit are their guided sessions. From a “morning coffee meditation” to a “can’t sleep 10 min session” to “relieving stress over the holidays” and a good one “work stress”, can really be great moments to just stop during the day and re-center yourself. For those who want series, there are also longer topic based series, where you can work on a topic for a week or a month.

** there's a good rain white noise in here that's better than most I have found, and only lasts five minutes. For me, a five minute sleep meditation and then some rain background noise and I'm out for a few hours.

 

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2. Insight Timer

This app is not for the meditation novice. This is more for those who want a timer and some background white-noise while they use the methods they already know to find their center and relax. However, there is great background ambiance on a timer, which I really love. A little bit of white noise, for ten minutes can put the focus somewhere other than your list of to-dos for the morning and put you in a completely different mood. Extremely helpful for sleeping.


Old School Methods(non-digital)

For those ready to really take your sleep seriously, these methods are for those that are ready to amp it up, by sleeping more. In addition to these, try removing your phone from the room all together (charge it in your living room!). Also try leaving a notepad on your bedside table, and when you can’t sleep write out a to-do list for the morning. Usually once I get my list out, I know I can relax and I won’t miss something in the morning.

Sleep Aids

Ok, so this one might be a little controversial, but I can’t help but spit it out whenever someone is says oh I take an Advil PM, but I don’t want to take a full dose. My biggest problem with sleep aids (aka usually antihistamines unless you have a prescription), is that it’s too much for me. I will end up sleeping 11-12 hours if there is no alarm clock. I know right? I actually try to wake up naturally, so this would be a no-no in most cases during the work-week. 

A doctor friend told me about Unisom Sleep Tabs, which aren’t in gel or large pill form, but instead a tiny little pill that can be easily cut in half or even thirds. For me, a half is perfect if I take it early enough in the night. For me, Benadryl gives me that “numb face” feeling, but this just slightly lulls me enough to relax to fall asleep. When I wake up, I just fall back asleep vs. being up for EVER, so this for me has changed my life. It’s just important to me, that I don’t take it every night - and practice good other methods to fall asleep, exercise, not overeating or drinking, meditation and removing digital distractions, so this is really for nights where my anxiety is going to interfere no matter what I do.

{ **please do not take any medication, even a sleeping tab, without proper education of the ingredients and side-effects. }

Ear Plugs

Why do these work so well even when it’s quiet? It helps me remove myself from the space I’m in. Somehow once the earplugs are in, my sense of space changes.

Essential Oils

There are a few ways to introduce essential oils into your daily life. There are methods to use oils in the room, find a spray or even directly on the skin (only if meant for the skin), to help your senses and body know that it’s time to relax. Once this is a part of a routine, your body will start to react to these. At first it might be just "a smell", but give your body the routine understanding that jasmine or lavender means sleepy time, and it will help your brain turn off.


Keep in Mind

The most important thing to making any of these methods work, is to buy into them. You have to believe that it works, in order for them to really work. Except for maybe the drugs, lol. You have to find what works for your body and your routine, to find that place where you can leave the day behind and relax. 

Happy sleeping!