Sweet dreams are made of this…


I need your help! Disclaimer: This is a post about getting better sleep. If you sleep well, it’s cool if you don’t want to read it (because why would you if you sleep) but I do need your help. So, if you’re a friend, acquaintance, complete stranger or someone who barely tolerates me, but you have things that help you sleep, can you add them to the comments section. I would greatly appreciate it!

I don’t sleep much. I talk about this often. There are stretches of time (I mean weeks to months…years) when I only get two or three hours of sleep a night. I work on little but sheer motivation and coffee. On a “good” night, I’ll get five hours of sleep but still wake up frequently. Some people ask me how I do it, but I’m just used to it. And sometimes my greatest ideas come to me at night. I feel like a super-genius! But when I get up, I forget 70% of what I thought was so amazing.

  • Are you having trouble sleeping or finding it hard to get out of bed in the morning?
  • Do you have trouble concentrating when you’re doing things?
  • Do you fall asleep while reading or watching TV?
  • Are you forgetful, irritable or jumpy?

If you said yes to any of these, congratulations, you’re probably just like me! Sorry, I started writing before I had coffee, so my joke is probably not appropriate here. But if you are, you could be experiencing signs of sleep deprivation (lack of sleep).

Many studies show the importance of sleep to our overall health. Not sleeping enough impacts your mood, concentration, slows down your metabolism and can ruin your skin. The amount of sleep that’s enough varies depending on your age and the source of information. According to Canadian and U.S. guidelines, adults should get approximately eight hours sleep, while teens need around nine to 10 hours. However, I’ve also read that some adults can function well on as little as six hours sleep and some need as much as nine hours to feel their best.

The causes of sleep deprivation are as varied as its symptoms.


Drinking alcohol late at night can ruin your sleep, so try not to have any drinks a few hours before you go to bed.

Some include:

  • stress-related insomnia,
  • medical disorders such as sleep apnea (you stop breathing for short periods of time during sleep), lung functioning and thyroid diseases, narcolepsy (uncontrollable attacks of drowsiness or sleep),
  • hormonal changes for women (e.g. getting your period, pregnancy or menopause),
  • having children that have needs at night,
  • a change in your regular sleep routine, such as late-night studying for exams or a change in work shifts, and
  • too much stimulation right before you go to bed, including phones, tablets, computers and television (including writing blogs late at night!).

Whether you suffer from a sleep condition, or if you struggle with bouts of sleep deprivation when your stress is high, you can follow some steps that can help improve your sleep. You may have to change your routine to get some of these done.

  • Stick to a sleep schedule. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
  • Exercise daily, it has beneficial effects on sleep, but try not to do strenuous exercise late at night.
  • Avoid or reduce your caffeine intake, especially later in the day.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol late at night or before you go to bed.
  • Eat a balanced diet, but avoid large meals and beverages late at night.
  • Relax before bed, for example, take a warm bath, meditate or do some very light yoga.
  • Remove distractions in the bedroom such as loud music, bright lights, your phone, a TV, tablet or computer (including writing blogs and social media).
  • Don’t try to go to sleep if you’re not tired. If you’re tossing and turning, get out of bed and do something else until you’re tired.

To nap or not to nap?


My cat Ebony’s “why’d you wake me up from a nap” face


Napping has been a subject of debate for years. Is it good for you, or isn’t it? Some studies have shown that napping can be beneficial for some people and certain circumstances. For example, people that work in shifts may benefit from taking naps because they’re unable to maintain a regular sleep schedule.  On the other hand, napping is most likely not a good idea for people that have insomnia.

I’m a napper. I always have been. In high school and university I would take power naps right after school and then start doing my homework. It kept me more alert, but I couldn’t sleep for more than 30 minutes or I was groggy and useless. Speaking of being groggy and useless,  I’ve always read that pets are like you. My cat, when he was alive, used to wake up the same way. I think we even had the same “what are you saying?” look on our faces until at least an hour had passed.

I haven’t been able to nap lately. Maybe this is part of my problem! How amazing it would be to have some time right now to put my head on a lush pillow and wrap myself in my Montreal Canadians blanket, just for 20 minutes.

One Mayo Clinic article, Napping: Do’s and don’ts for healthy adults, offers some great tips on appropriate napping habits.

Like many health-related issues, healthy lifestyle habits result in better sleep. If you find that your lack of sleep makes it difficult or impossible to function during waking hours, or if your sleep problems continue for more than three or four weeks, see your doctor.

Do you have any tricks for sleeping better? I’m willing to try almost anything, even if it reduces some of my super-genius breakthroughs that never materialize come morning!

Some additional resources
New study finds sleep deprivation boosts intake of fat, from psychcentral.com
Sleep deprivation effects on memory, from webmd.com
New study shows sleep deprivation can increase productivity at work, shape.com

34 replies »

  1. Hi, I wanted to stop by to let you know Esmé nominated me for the Blogger Recognition Award.  This is my second nomination in the last four weeks,  Bern was the first.  If you don’t know them check out their great blogs.  I have nominated you for the Blogger Recognition Award. You are not obligated to participate though I hope you will enjoy being nominated.   I love your blog.
    Check out the link.   


    • Thanks a lot Lu! He is still very missed 😦 I have to shut down earlier for sure. I have started the hot shower to help shut down. I am finding it helpful. Thanks for sharing the things that work for you. I hope they can help me too 🙂


  2. Great one again ! I can’t function if I don’t get enough sleep and quite honestly I don’t know how you do it. I read a study on how eating cherries or drinking tart cherry juice can regulate your sleep due to the melatonin levels in the fruit. Orange bell peppers and walnuts were also mentioned. It also helps to resolve your issues during the day and not take anything negative to the bedroom

    Liked by 1 person

    • The women in my family have a tradition of not sleeping well so I guess we get used to it haha! I have been using orange peppers, cherries and walnuts in my smoothies or cooking to help. I haven’t noticed a difference as yet but I haven’t been doing it that long. I am hopeful it will work! And yes I have to get better at clearing my mind before sleeping!!! Thanks for sharing these details!


  3. Great post Sam, really enjoyed reading this.I hope this helps you as I sleep like a baby for many hours. What I noticed helped me was self-expression and letting go at the end of each day, you maybe think what? But yes what has contributed to me sleeping like a baby is not holding anything in, expressing myself freely and letting go of all issues or anything on my mind each night. what helped me was communicating my needs and saying no when I meant no.Sometimes we have unresolved issues that keeps us awake at night and without awareness can continue to rob us of sleep. I know you may say , what has self expression and letting go, has to do with sleeping. if at the end of your day you have no unresolved issues it’s hard for you to not sleep just my opinion. Going to bed knowing you’ve let go of everything not serving you and that you’ve expressed all your needs and how you feel can free you to sleep peacefully. If you are already doing all this and expressing yourself freely then try at the end of the day when you’re about to sleep to Surrender all your worries and cares and trust that you can rest peacefully with no worries as you will be taken care of. I don’t want to write an article so am going to end here. This is what has helped me. Let me know what you think if you do try it .😊

    Liked by 2 people

    • Such an amazing comment! I totally understand what you’re saying. It is one of my greatest issues, not being able to “quiet the noise” that goes on. Sometimes its things I haven’t resolved (even if it’s as small things like finishing off thoughts for work the next day, it’s still unresolved before I go to sleep). I really have to get better at it. My mind is always “on” . I truly appreciate the time and detail you took in responding to me. And I wouldn’t have minded if you wrote an article about it 🙂 I am going to try to resolve everything, even if it’s small before I go to bed. I will let you know how I progress! Again, thank you kindly for such a detailed and thoughtful reply. Have a wonderful weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome, I was a bit nervous giving my opinion but am so glad I did. I hope it really helps you as it took some time for me to let go, it’s a step by step process that is achievable. My mum was exactly the same and I used to tell her to Surrender and trust it will be all OK. But she just didn’t know how to and this kept her up. You are right maybe I will write an article on it on my blog since the idea is so fresh in mind, it’s nice we can all grow and share ideas together. Hope you have a great weekend too 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes! I need to get back in the habit of sleeping early…cuz honestly, for me, early is now “before midnight”…I remember when staying up til 10 was “late!” Thanks for writing this, Samantha. It strengthened my resolve to start getting enough sleep. 🙂 Happy weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad this was a helpful reminder! That’s my problem too (well probably just one of many!) I don’t go to sleep before midnight either. Thanks for bringing that point up because it’s the one I gloss over and “forget” that I do 🙂 Happy weekend to you too!

      Liked by 1 person

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