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Do You Have Trouble Falling Asleep?

You are not alone.

27 percent of people in a new Consumer Reports survey of 4,023 U.S. adults said they had trouble falling asleep or staying asleep most nights, and 68 percent—or an estimated 164 million Americans—struggled with sleep at least once a week. 

A good night’s sleep can require everything from the practical (a cool, comfortable pillow) to the ethereal (a deep sense of calm and peace of mind). The modern marketplace has exploded with proffered solutions for people who can’t sleep, from mattresses to white-noise machines, sleeping pills to sleep coaches.

Before you rush to something out of the ordinary, try my suggestion first:

Creating Your Own Power Down Ritual

It’s a small habit, the power down ritual, but consider what brushing your teeth—a very small habit indeed—does for you.

How do I create a power down ritual?

Like this:

1. Compose a list of tasks that will comprise your power down ritual. This first list is a draft that you’ll experiment with until you arrive at the power down tasks and order in which to execute them that works best for you. We recommend including these for sure:

  • Review the workday. How’d it go? What did I make progress on? Where am I blocked? Am I blocking anyone else?
  • Consider my next steps. What actions will move my most valuable projects forward?
  • Sketch out a plan for my next workday.
  • Log out and power down.

2. Try out your new power down ritual. You may discover tasks to include that you hadn’t thought of when you made your list. Add those in where they belong—order matters; try to follow what feels to you like a natural progression.

You may also find that some tasks don’t work well for you as part of a power down ritual. Go ahead and jettison those.

3. Keep experimenting until you have a list of tasks that make sense for you and an order for executing them that you like. By all means, try out the fun, rabbit’s-foot type things other shutdown ritualists use, but remember that just because Cal Newport says a “magic phrase” and Stephen King washes his hands doesn’t mean that those sorts of symbolic activities are more (or less!) worthy than simply reviewing the workday that’s ending and planning the next one. If it helps you fully disengage, it’s worthy.

4. Now use your power down ritual. Do it every workday. This is important. You are training your mind and body to associate these tasks (executed in this order) with closing out your workday in the same way that parents train their toddlers’ bodies and minds to associate bath + pajamas + teeth brushing + storytime with sleep.

That’s all there is to it.

Go forth and shut down.

Normally I Sleep Like a Baby, But There was a Time I Did Not.

In this post on Instagram, I detailed my experience after getting sick with The Thing in December 2020 and how it seriously messed up my “sleeping like a baby” habit.  I got first-hand experience what it was like to toss and turn and wake up exhausted.  The two things that made the biggest difference for me was:

  1. Implementing a proper Power Down Habit
  2. Wearing blue light blocker glasses after every sundown
  3. Waking early to watch the sunrise

My power down habit was instrumental for me emotionally and symbolically. My routine included the pre agreed upon time of “powering down” at 8:30pm.  I told everyone in my house that I would be putting my phone away, downstairs in the kitchen and not looking at it again until the following morning.  I physically turned it off some nights and other nights I activated airplane mode.  Nonetheless, it was an act of shutting down for the day.  Also, it was important to me to leave the days events behind me and turn my focus on what was possible, what could be, what was to come.  I meditated on Proverbs 31:25, as she is the woman I desire to become, the one who smiles at her future.  Mindset is important in illness and I knew I needed to be imagining a better day when the symptoms of Long Haul could be behind me.

Secondly, and possibly even more powerfully, I bought my first pair of blue light blocker glasses.  Understanding artificial blue light to be a toxin to be avoided, similar to glyphosate, mold, vegetable oils, and other man-made chemicals, I soberly addressed my nightly exposure and mitigated the effects with a simple fix: cute looking glasses.  You can find my favorites here.  (They are also linked in the Favorite Things page in the footer)

Lastly, the power of the sunrise is never to be underestimated.  I will write more in detail on this in the coming weeks, but suffice it to say two of my very favorite health hacks are sunshine and sleep.  Both are free, but neither is easy.  One needs determination and the other needs troubleshooting.  I can help you with both.

I would love to hear about your Power Down Routine, if you have one…or even if you’re just beginning to think about creating one.  Always happy to brainstorm if you have any questions.

Tracy Rickstrew

Tracy Rickstrew

I am an Integrative Health Practitioner, Registered Nurse, wife of 20+ years, mother to five strong, adventurous children, and most importantly, a Bible-believing, reformed Christian.

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Hi! I'm Tracy!

I am a homeschooling mother to five amazing children who became an Integrative Health Practitioner after healing herself from an undiagnosable and mysterious chronic illness.  I’ve made it my mission to help as many moms as possible get off the couch, ditch their brain fog, and live vibrant lives in the most wonderful season of life: motherhood.

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