Sleepy time with a story

Oh to go back to the days when sleep was the easiest part of any 24 hours. I remember when my Mum would tell me to enjoy my sleep while it was easy. All I had to do was close my eyes and off to dream land I would go. Or the alternative was when you were out all Friday night and didn’t have to book the next 2 days off of work, because you’d just power through… those were the days!

Sleep has definitely been a journey for me over the last few years. Everyone has challenges in their lives, none of us are immune. Personally, the last 2 years have brought on a tremendous amount of stress into my life (good and bad) that made me realize that even when we think we have it all together, our sleep might tell us otherwise.

Moving to a new house was an amazing experience but it was also difficult. I had moved out for a short period of time many years ago but moved back home and made a little apartment out of Mum’s basement. I had never lived in a brand new home before. The adjustment of being above ground, and beside my fiance every night was a change I was looking forward to making my new normal. But it did affect how I slept. We also had about 5 months to prepare for our wedding when we moved into our beautiful new home, so there were lots of thoughts swirling around in my mind.

Got the keys!

A couple of weeks before I was going to get married to Steve, my Mum got very sick and had emergency surgery that saved her life. We were sad she couldn’t attend our wedding, especially because she was such a huge part of our 10 year relationship, always supporting us along the way. But we were blessed to have her in our lives for another 5 months. My sister and I stayed positive right until the last moments, and I think we both put away any of our struggle because we knew Mum was struggling more than we were. If we told ourselves we were good, than we were good. No ifs, ands, or buts.

Sleep told me otherwise. I don’t think I slept for months before, during, and after. If I did sleep its’ because I was exhausted or I took something (non-medical) to help me. I’m sure many moms out there would agree, when your body goes without sleep, it learns how to go without sleep. I don’t have kids, so eventually this pattern caught up to me (I don’t have the supermom quality yet). Feburary of last year began the resurgance of what now seems to have been lack-of-sleep / grief / trauma side effects (this is not a medical term). I had brutally severe head pain, earache, face parasthesia, muscle tension. It felt as though someone was jamming a wire through my ear and down the right side of my face. When I say I couldn’t sleep, I mean, I would fall asleep and wake up screaming out in pain. Many doctors’ visits, hospital stays, medication trials, and months later… somehow it all disappeared.

Hospital stays are never fun! Especially during a pandemic and you can’t have visitors. All the Moms and elders who were in hospitals alone during lockdown, I felt
so much empathy for you.

I have had every test in the book and on a piece of paper, I am blessed to be healthy and without any abnormality. So what happened?

It’s more important to note what wasn’t happening. I was not listening to my body. Anyone who knows me would probably say that I am outspoken and confident, sensitive but openly emotional, and really quite in-tune with myself. I would have agreed. Until I went through these last couple years. Sadly, we had to put our sweet little angel pup Tica to rest this January. She was almost 13 and I had her since she was 7 weeks old. She was having tremors and eventually seizures and it was time. Steve and I didn’t sleep for a few months because she wasn’t settled. Not until I experienced this loss did I realize the importance of rest and relaxation. I realized I might be outspoken and easy to express what I’m feeling, but its’ more important how we talk to ourselves when we are trying to relax and go to sleep at night, than anything we say to anyone else.


This might all seem very heavy and a stretch from discussing how to sleep well every night. But all of the things that I’ve experienced these last years, have and will happen to all of us. Life happens. How can we help ourselves navigate these traumas and still be okay?

I have tried many products to help me sleep — natural sleep aids, medical sleep aids, CBD oil, sleepy teas, lavendar, a glass of wine, yoga, medidation — you name it, I have tried it. Some definitely helped, but I think the best of all is habit. I finally have been able to fall asleep and stay asleep better than I have in years. There are a few things we can all do that will help us get the rest we need. Our bodies need to relax! I am still telling myself this daily because I am still a stress-ball each and every day but I can keep trying and so can you!

1. Go to bed about the same time every night & wake up about the same time every day. Our bodies excel when we maintain our circadian rhythm [a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and repeats on each rotation of the Earth roughly every 24 hours]. Encouraging our body to maintain this rhythm will help it to follow the necessary physiological processes to keep us healthy. This also will help your body feel tired and feel awake as a routine.

2. Limit electronic stimilus before bed. Not all of us are heavily impacted by this, but I am. When I lay in bed on my phone (which I still do, and note to self: must stop) I feel tired but I am still up. Melatonin is a hormone that is activated when the sun goes down and encourages us to go to sleep. Some of us are great sleepers and have no troubles with this, but some of us (me) who aren’t great sleepers would likely benefit from the wind down. Turn the lights down low as you’re getting ready for bed. Put the phone or tablet away. Turn the tv off. I am still working on these but when it’s dark and every light is off, I do fall asleep faster and stay asleep. Using a sleep mask can help too.

Click here for my favourite sleep masks. They are cushioned and block out light well.

3. Relaxing sounds. When I can’t turn the mind-spinning off, I open up my Spotify and put on relaxing sounds. If you search sleep, many options will come up. I enjoy the sounds of ocean waves most. You can set your app to turn off after a certain period of time so once I catch those waves and I’m in dreamland, the sound turns off and I stay asleep. Sometimes focusing on something else can help tune out the lists, and worries.

Don’t want to use your phone? Click here for a white noise machine that can tune out external noise.

4. Environment. Do not under-estimate this. We all have a sweet spot when it comes to our comfort. If I am too warm, I will not sleep. If my feet are cold, I will not sleep. If my skin is too dry, I will not sleep. I sound very high maintenance! But, sleep is about relaxation and rest. Think of a baby… some babies can sleep amidst noise and light and travel, some need a quiet room with a white noise machine, and dim lights. (Note I was the baby that could only sleep on the couch amidst the noise of Mum… however, now I am the other baby haha) Each baby has comfort in those environments, and we are all just giant babies. Learn what is your ideal environment and recreate it.

Click here for the humidifier we use. It is quiet and can run as many hours as you set it to. You can also set it to blow warm or cool vapor.

5. Acceptance. There are so many google-able articles on what helps us sleep. I am not mentioning anything new or novel. I think my purpose to share these ideas are to remind us to accept where we are on our journies. Sometimes, we just won’t sleep. So sleep when you can. Don’t guilt yourself. I do it all the time and it’s not worth it. Our world is set by so many standards that govern how we feel about ourselves and our routines. But these standards are by-products of what life is today. Think of a flower. It opens in the morning when the sun begins to shine, and it slightly closes when the sun starts to set. We aren’t flowers but we have to remember we are delicate and have to treat ourselves with gentle care.

Try journalling to clear your mind. Click here for a journal with a spot for every day of the year.

If we accept each step in our journey, we will relax that much easier. We will feel more equipped to tackle our days; we will encourage our feel good hormones to flow; we will interact with others in a more mindful way. Sometimes we will lose our way and mis-step, but the more rested we are, the quicker we can realize our fall, and pick ourselves back up. I share my experience here because I am trying to accept and evolve from all of the moments that have affected what was my equilibrium. If one person reads this and feels like they can’t find their way, try to take your first step after a good nights’ rest, or your trial at one. Give yourself a week or two to create the habits and I promise your mind will start to open up. Keeping the habit is the second step — I am still there. I will update you again soon if I can get to the third step.

xox Francie



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