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“I sleep alone so you can sleep safe.”
It’s great on a bumper sticker, but it doesn’t feel quite so noble when you’re alone at night jumping at every shadow.
Even if you’re not exactly the jumpy type, it can be hard to sleep alone – especially if you’ve just become a police wife and have gotten used to your husband next to you every night.
I had a friend who would stay up all night because she hated sleeping without her husband. Now obviously, if you can and want to do this, that’s great. Whatever! I’m not a night owl, but whatever works for you.
But for the majority, sleeping alone is just another quirk of LEO life you have to get used to. Fortunately, there are things that can help.
9 Ways To Sleep Peacefully When You Have To Sleep Alone
Develop a nightly routine.
When you have the house to yourself, it’s really easy to get out of your “normal” habits for bedtime (or create new bad ones altogether), so having a nightly routine is key. Mine usually consists of writing in my journal, reading a chapter or two of a book, then turning out the lights.
The beauty of a bedtime routine is that your body comes to understand that when x and y is happening, it’s time to start making sleep hormones and get ready to settle in. That makes it less likely you’ll lie awake wired because your body hasn’t quite caught up with your bedtime plans.
Speaking of which…
Skip the caffeine after 5:00.
You definitely don’t need anything extra keeping you awake at night, and caffeine does just that.
I mean, maybe you’re not as sensitive to it as I am, but if I have any caffeine after 5, I’ll be awake until 2 or 3 in the morning. It’s ridiculous.
Even if you don’t think it affects you that much, give it a shot and see if you sleep a little better.
Check the doors (just the once).
Set your mind at ease by making sure the doors are locked and secure. But just check them the once – don’t waste your time checking it more than that!
If you need to, have some sort of ritual you do to indicate to yourself you’ve already checked it and it was fine. It sounds silly, but sometimes if I say “door is locked” out loud to myself as I check, I’m more likely to remember I’ve checked it.
Get in contact with your husband – one way or another.
Sure, it might not be possible to actually talk to your husband, but it’s always worth a try. Even if you only talk for a minute or two, it’s a great way to feel connected. And the warm fuzzies are always great sleep-inducers 🙂
Honestly, even if you just get his voicemail, it’s just nice to feel “in touch” with your husband.
You could also try out the Marco Polo app so you can leave him a quick video message and get one back to view in the morning 🙂
Make your bedroom a (mostly) electronics-free zone.
I know – you don’t want your phone to be completely off at night when he’s on shift. I get it. And don’t worry, that’s not what I was going to say.
What I am going to say is, put it on “do not disturb” but choose certain people who your phone will let through.
Just moderate your usage in the bedroom, because the blue light from your electronics can keep you awake. And if that doesn’t do it, the endless scrolling of the Facebook feed might just.
But speaking of the blue light, I just discovered Flux, which automatically filters the blue light from your computer screen according to the time of day – so if you work on your computer later in the evening, check it out!
Listen to white noise.
I love white noise. I used to use it all the time in college, especially over my headphones when I was trying to get work done in a noisy environment, and I still use it if I’m having trouble settling down. It just gives my mind something to “focus” on without being distracting like music or an eBook would be.
I typically use the SimplyRain app because I just love the sound of rain, but there are tons of options for white noise. You can even go on YouTube and find free ones to listen to, or use the free Calm app.
This is another reason my bedroom isn’t 100% electronics-free 🙂
Use essential oils.
I love essential oils. I’m a natural skeptic, but they totally work. I use them a lot, especially to help reduce my anxiety (which was especially great when I was pregnant – just ask my husband.)
This set from Plant Therapy is an awesome deal. They’re all synergy blend oils that will help you feel more at ease, whether you use them on your pillow or in a nice bubble bath. And, bonus, the Relax oil is KidSafe, so you can use it to help your kids sleep better, too!
Seriously, it’s the easiest way to set your mind at ease when you’re feeling nervous. You can pray for your own safety, for your husband’s, to know whether there’s anything you need to do before bed, etc etc etc.
God is interested in everything that’s important to you, even if it seems minor. So don’t forget to loop Him in – He’ll be happy to help you out.
Get a pet.
I’m only sort of joking on this one, because I want a puppy so badly.
But really, if you don’t have a pet, it’s incredibly soothing to have another living creature to snuggle with, even if it can’t be your husband. Having our cats around makes lonely nights a lot less lonely 🙂
Sleeping alone is hard, but it’s totally something you can get used to. And hey, just like night shifts, it just might end up becoming something you actually enjoy about the job 🙂
What’s your favorite part of your nighttime routine?