It’s been another busy week here at KIWI. So busy, in fact, that I’m left with one thing and one thing only on my mind: sleep. Ahh. The fact that I’m still in the middle of a workday doesn’t stop me from dreaming about sleep, planning about sleep, or writing about sleep. So in anticipation of going horizontal, here are three soothing sleep strategies that I’m daydreaming about. Let’s hear it for sleep (but—shh!—not too loud; we’re getting ready to rest here)!
Step one: Relax already!
You know that feeling. You have your comfy pjs on, drank your warm mug of soy milk, have your favorite blankie clutched under your arm—the stage is set to drift off to dreamland stat. But then your mind takes over: “Ah, these sheets are as soft as my cat Sniffles’ fur. Fur…uh-oh, did I feed Sniffles? Sniffles…I wonder if Sniffles would like a dog friend? Friend…nuts, I never returned my best friend’s call. Call…the PR rep never called me back at work. Work…the draft’s not finished and it was due today and now it’s officially late and…”
Yep, when racing thoughts close in, sleeping is about as likely as Sniffles getting up to cheerfully feed herself. But not in this dream fantasy—no claustrophobic thoughts are allowed. Instead, I’ll be pulling out calmspace a portable scent stick formulated with 100 percent natural pure essential oils to help manage anxiety (who, me—anxious?!). About the size of a lipstick, calmspace is a blend of lavendar, melissa, clary sage, chamomile, and bergamot essential oils. Simply take off the cap, hold it under your sniffer or dab it on your skin, and voila! Off to dreamland—stat.
No bedtime routine would be complete without a story. Hmm, what to read, what to read…War and Peace? Another time. The Financial Times? Very funny. The World Champion of Staying Awake? Perfect! I’d be hard-pressed to come up with a book about sleep that’s cuter than this one. Published last month by Candlewick Press, this children’s book follows a young girl’s quest to go to sleep. Sounds like a simple task, but not with her rebellious crew of stuffed animal friends who claim to not be sleepy (My favorite: Beanbag Frog. “Is he asleep? No. He’s not. He’s going hoppety-hop again!”). The little girl has to get creative to coax her fuzzy friends to bed so she can get some shuteye. A sweet read for kids of all ages (ahem), with smart sleeping lessons I can use on Sniffles if need be. ($16, Candlewick Press)
Sure, a nice firm bed has its place, but not in this fantasy dream session. Nope, turns out if you want the most soothing sleep possible (yes, please) a hammock is the way to go. The swinging motion of a rocking hammock reinforces our brain’s natural sleep rhythms in a way that sleeping on a stationary bed does not, according to new research from the University of Geneva in Switzerland. Researchers set out to test whether rocking does indeed soothe sleep (something anyone who’s ever rocked a baby to sleep could tell you), and to understand how this might work at the brain level. After monitoring napping adult volunteers (those lucky nappers), the study authors found that those who snoozed while swinging fell asleep more quickly, and their brain wave activity was more synchronized—leading to a deeper and more refreshing sleep—than volunteers on stationary beds. Bottom line, there’s a hammock out there with my name on it.