What three things do you need for a good night’s rest?
Well, I need a lot more than just three things, for one thing I need at least two pillows so it’s already two things, but let’s at least try to narrow it down to the most necessary things (let’s skip the pillows though since they’re pretty default, except for their preferred amount which I’m sure varies for everyone).
So, for the most part of the year, I need a hot water bottle. Like I recently wrote, I’m okay with being cold during the day, I’m totally used to it, I even like it, and really the fact that I am cold most of the time doesn’t necessarily have to mean that I feel cold, but at night, regardless of whether I feel subjectively cold or not, it will take me ages to fall asleep if I’ll have cold feet. Another thing that I need quite critically is some background noise. Not too loud, so that I can actually fall asleep and sleep deeply, but also not too quiet so that my brain can latch onto something when I’m awake so that it doesn’t have to generate scary auditory stimuli itself, or so that it’s less likely that it will do it. For lack of anything better, even some white noise humming will be better than nothing, but if I have a choice, which I usually do, I much prefer it to be something more tangible like music that I like or a radio station where they talk in any of my favourite languages, because it’s just more interesting to listen to some nice music or a beautiful language before I fall asleep, and gives me something to focus on so I won’t start ruminating and overthinking which I generally have a tendency to do a lot at night anyway. Also it’s fun to have a nice soundtrack to your dreams. 😀 For that reason, I also really like to sleep with Misha. I’mm not really including him on this list, because he’s not a thing and it’s not like I really really need him to sleep well, because he doesn’t even sleep with me every single night, but when he does sleep with me, it also tends to decrease my night time sensory anxieties and makes me feel more peaceful overall, even though Misha is very quiet, but his mere presence makes me feel safer.
And the third thing… I was going to say a good book because I often read before sleep, well, I almost always read before sleep, and sometimes I get so engrossed in a book that I just can’t fall asleep because it’s so interesting so I keep reading instead. But a book doesn’t really make my sleep better or worse, it’s just a fun element of my bedtime routine. So I think the third thing on my list is going to be an open window. I guess I take it after my Mum that I can’t sleep in stuffy and very warm rooms or else I’ll wake up with a raging headache or even a migraine. And usually I’ll oversleep then and wake up feeling totally, disgustingly lousy, as if I had a hangover or something. And since I already have way more than enough migraine triggers, I’d rather avoid the ones that I have control over and keep the window at least partly open, or at least solidly air the room before going to bed, depends on what the weather is and what seems most reasonable at a time. So I’ll sleep with a hot water bottle, Misha who generates a lot of heat, and in the autumn-winter season like now Misha sleeps on a lamb skin, which lies on a blanket that belongs to both of us, and the blanket lies on my duvet which is quite thick in itself, so I like it to feel warm and cosy in bed while at the same time having very cool air in the room that makes sleep feel refreshing and that keeps my brain cool so that it won’t overheat. 😀 My Mum is a lot more hardcore though because she sleeps with her window wide open every night, and she doesn’t do hot water bottles, has no blanket most of the time and just a single duvet, but unlike me she always puts something over her head and ears, like a scarf or something, to keep more warmth in and to isolate herself from noises that could wake her up (like my Dad’s snoring). That would make me personally feel very much out of control and, knowing myself, I’d constantly wake up thinking that someone was calling me or something and I didn’t hear it, not to mention that it would make my anxiety worse, but my Mum literally can’t fall asleep without covering her head, and she can’t have any light. My Dad was previously a definitely window-closed person, but he just had to get used to it being different when they married, because this is one field where my Mum doesn’t tolerate compromises, and now that she’s going through menopause, she’s even worse, so my poor Dad sleeps under a huge duvet and a really warm, heavy weighted blanket, and with socks on, and he says he’s still freezing some nights. I guess that’s because he does socks instead of a hot water bottle. Socks don’t really give you additional warmth, just keep your natural warmth in, and if you’re not really warm to begin with, that’s not much help I guess. Sofi also likes to sleep with a hot water bottle, but it’s more just because she enjoys it a lot rather than that she won’t fall asleep easily without it. And she’s also like me in that she needs some quiet sound in the background, as well as a bit of light because she’s scared of the dark.
So yeah, it’s funny how you can find so many tips on how to sleep well from all kinds of sleep experts, when in reality, everyone has such totally different habits, even within one family, and can’t fall asleep if something’s even slightly different than the way they like. 😀 And then there’s Misha, abut whose sleep routines one could write a whole essay and how they change based on seasons, his moods, external circumstances etc. I guess even I don’t know everything about them and don’t always remember the order in which all his sleep rituals should take place.
How about you and your ideal sleep conditions? 🙂