My closest friends and family will all tell you I stay up pretty late. My body is almost making up for all the years I was constantly tired all day and went to bed at 9. I can tell you I'm going to bed several times, and nine times out of 10, I am STILL awake. However, after being taken off meds, I made a promise to my mom that I would continue to take care of my body and try not to induce anything that would cause me to have more seizures or potentially bigger seizures. Now, it's funny that I am writing this post because three years ago when my anxiety entered my life, I experienced MAJOR sleep anxiety. I refused to sleep most nights and would only fall asleep after fighting the urge. I was convinced if I fell asleep, the most unimaginable, horrific things would happen to me. According to the Sleep Foundation...
"Anxiety can get worse at night as people find themselves focusing more on their worries once they are lying in bed without the distractions of the day. For example, sometimes people with insomnia may begin to develop worries about whether or not they will be able to fall asleep."
So, I obviously feel qualified enough to speak about the topic of sleep. Here are my tips & tricks on how to have an adequate sleep schedule as an epileptic & lessen anxiety.
Tip #1 - Get in bed earlier
I usually physically get in bed at 10:30. But I don't go to bed until 12/12:30. Getting in bed earlier helps me fall asleep at a time that works best for me. Something as silly as getting into bed an hour later honestly screws me up so much since that downtime is now rushed.
Tip #2 - Reducing light exposure
Ok, so if you talk to hardcore people (like my mother), they will tell you using a red light is beneficial because it blocks out all the blue light you absorb during the day and gets your brain into a circadian mood. Me, on the other hand? Just turn your lights off. Even if it's just scrolling through Instagram reels or TikTok, it gets you in the mood for bedtime. This has been a big game changer because I started getting ready to relax.
Tip #3 - Take any epilepsy medications at a set time.
If you're medicated, I used to always make it a priority to take my medicine with breakfast and dinner because A) taking heavy-duty meds on an empty stomach is never a smart idea. & B) It's easiest to remember you took them! Obviously, if you are out for dinner with friends, it can be taken before or after you go out.
Tip #4- Do a nightly "wind down" to help you before bed
My family will never let me live down the fact that I listen to a nightly meditation. Personally, I use the app insight timer and use the meditation "deep sleep meditation" by Tarika Lovegarden. Before my meditation, I also pray and reflect on the highlights of my day. Even if it is something as small as "I cooked my favorite dinner!" considering humans are more anxious at night, this is a great way to reflect on all the positive things that happened during the day. Because even on your worst days, there is still something to be grateful for.
Tip #5 - Be consistent.
Be consistent! Make it a habit of going to bed at the same time every night!
I hope these tips help you sleep well, especially during the holidays!