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Fitness + Health 6 years ago

my struggle with sleep + sleep remedies

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Anytime I post something fitness related on instagram stories, I get a decent amount of DM’s. Anytime I post a recipe or something about food, normal amount of DM’s. Same with outfits, books, and pretty much anything else. But anytime I post or say anything about sleep issues on IG stories…my direct message inbox gets FLOODED. Like we’re talking thousands of DM’s haha. So, I figured it was time I talked about my struggle with sleep on here and shared some sleep remedies with you guys. It’s clearly a topic tons of people are interested in! I will share sleep remedies with y’all that I tried before being pregnant, and what I’m doing now that I’m pregnant.

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So I’ve had issues with sleep now for about 7 or 8 years. It started in college and has been a consistent issue ever since. I don’t have trouble falling asleep usually – I just can’t stay asleep. No matter what time I go to bed (10pm or 1am)…my body does not want to stay asleep longer than 3 or so hours. I have seen several doctors about this, been on prescription sleeping pills, and tried just about everything under the sun! My sleep issues are not a physical issue (like sleep anea or restless leg syndrome). I think my sleep issues are totally circumstantial, life-related / totally mental. I typically sleep okay on vacations or at my parents house if I’ve gotten “all of my work done” and don’t feel behind on things. I don’t really sleep well at home because I always feel like there’s more to do and not enough time. (I know – not a healthy mindset! I’m working on it, people).

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Here are some sleep remedies I tried before pregnancy. I will also share whether or not they worked for me:

  • Prescription sleeping pills – I had a prescription for ambien for a while, and I’m pretty sure this is the strongest sleeping pill you can find. Ambien sort of helped me. The thing with ambien though is it knocks you out, but doesn’t necessarily keep you asleep for long periods of time. So, if you have trouble falling asleep…this would definitely help you. I still tended to wake up about 4-5hrs after taking ambien though. The other problem with ambien is…it’s addictive and has a lot of negative side effects. So, I knew this was sort of a short term solution that I didn’t want to be a consistent thing.
  • Melatonin – I feel like everyone under the sun swears by melatonin. If your sleep issues are pretty mild (ie: this week I haven’t been able to sleep or I have a test coming up and can’t sleep or something like that), then melatonin will probably help you. It’s a much more natural supplement to help you sleep, and (to my knowledge), doesn’t really have negative side effects. Honestly melatonin doesn’t do much for me because I think my sleep issues are a little much for melatonin to handle haha. But, tons of people love this option!
  • OTC sleeping pills – Advil PM, Tylenol PM, Zzzquil. All of these actually work pretty well for me. The downside to these is they make you feel pretty groggy in the mornings but…that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make if I can sleep at night haha. The other downside to these is that they are addictive. So, again, another short term solution to sleeping problems (ie: if you’re traveling / jet lagged, have a big test, etc), but probably not something you should be taking every night.

Now that I’m pregnant, I’ve stopped taking any of the pills mentioned above. Check with your doctor about what sleep remedies are okay for you during pregnancy.

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Sleep remedies I’ve tried that aren’t pills:

  • Sleepytime tea – I think the nice thing about sleepytime tea is it helps you establish a bedtime routine. Have your tea, read a book, etc. This is another one that tons of people swear by and love, so if you have sleep issues and don’t want to take a pill…you should definitely try this. This honestly didn’t really help me though because again, it helps you fall asleep, but didn’t help me stay asleep.
  • Weighted blanket – If you haven’t heard of a weighted blanket before, definitely research why this is an effective sleep remedy. It’s really interesting! This is supposed to help with anxiety, so if your sleep issues are anxiety-related, this might be a good idea for you to try. I actually really like this weighted blanket and have found it helpful with my sleep issues!
  • Essential oils – I was really skeptical of essential oils because I thought it was mostly direct sales people on facebook blowing up my feed and my inbox lol (sad but true). But, after hearing so many people say they helped with their sleep issues I decided to give them a try. I ordered essential oils and a diffuser from Young Living (no, I do not sell them and no I’m not interested in joining your team haha sorry!). I have found essential oils to be extremely helpful with sleep! I either diffuse them at night, or put them in a roller bottle and roll on the bottom of my feet. My favorite oils for sleep are peace & calm, stress away, lavender, and cedar wood.
  • Natural calm and/or magnesium supplement – I mix this natural calm with hot water every night before bed and I think it’s helped tremendously with not only sleep, but also with digestion issues (yes, pregnancy has given me major constipation issues ha sorry if that’s TMI), and stress levels! I like the raspberry lemon flavor the best but there are a few different options. You can order it off of amazon or whole foods carries it as well. This has been a wonderful sleep remedy for me and I highly recommend looking into it if you haven’t already!

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As far as other ‘lifestyle’ sleep remedies like meditation, sound machine, don’t be on your phone after 8pm, take a bath before bed, keep a pen and paper by your bed so if you wake up in the middle of the night you can write down all of your thoughts…(I could go on), yes, I have tried those as well. These obviously work for a lot of people (because tons of y’all have DM’d me about it!), but personally, these did not work for me. If you struggle with sleep though, there are some other ideas you could try out that have helped a lot of people! Other things I’ve tried that either didn’t work for me or don’t work for pregnancy: CBD oil (yes, i did try it once haha), Gaba, and pretty much every other supplement you can find at health food stores.

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short pajama set | throw blanket

So, now that I’m pregnant…the sleep remedies that are helping me the most are natural calm and essential oils, and I occasionally sleep with my weighted blanket. (I would sleep with it every night but I have a really small one and need a bigger one haha). For any of you that struggle with sleep, I hope this post gives you some options to try out! I know how frustrating not sleeping can be. If it’s an issue that’s been going on for a while now, I’d also recommend going to see a doctor about it.

Thanks for reading!

xo Lauren

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