Self Care

Sleep Experiment: White Noise

If you had asked me two months ago whether I needed help in improving my sleep quality, I would have told you that I sleep like the dead. No matter what time I went to bed, I would always wake up feeling rested and it would often take me a matter of minutes to drift off (goodbye cruel world).

That was until I started new antidepressants (oh boy). It turns out that taking away the sedative affects of mirtazapine from the body can majorly affect your sleep (duh, genius). I had decided to change my medication as whilst I adored being able to sleep at the drop of a pin, I did not feel that I was experiencing any other positive effects. After consulting my GP, I actually increased the dosage of my meds – and that caused even more problems. My physical symptoms from Annie the Anxiety Monster (nausea, loss of appetite, shaking) were getting significantly worse. The GP was like “Oh hell nah bitch, you can’t be taking this no more (he didn’t actually say that but what is life without dramatic flair)”.

Photo Credit 📷: Krista Mangulsone

So here I am on my new medication: citalopram (yay) with a side of sleep deprivation (nay). When I started noticing how horrendous my sleep had gotten, I decided that it would be wise to track my sleep. Over the span of a couple of weeks, I noticed it was taking me much longer to fall asleep, stay asleep and sleep long enough to be refreshed (say sleep one more time). I knew that establishing a solid sleep routine with practises to aid my sleep quality would be the best step in adapting to my new sedative-free life, hence I created this experiment.

Upon hearing my significant other rave about the sleep stories (the ones for adults, not Charlotte’s Web) she listens to on YouTube, I thought that Week 1 should include some sort of auditory assistance.

Photo Credit 📷: Bastien Jaillot

This was my Week 1 routine:

  1. Open the curtains as soon as I woke up
  2. Stop consuming caffeinated drinks 6 hours prior to bedtime
  3. Avoid naps
  4. Lower bedroom temperature before sleep
  5. Comfy PJs only
  6. Make my bedroom as dark as possible
  7. Listen to a bedtime story/ASMR/white noise

Did this routine improve my sleep?

Not really.

I enjoyed listening to white noise, particularly sounds like rain and waves and in general, the length of my sleep increased by about 20 minutes. There was a tiny increase in my sleep quality (and I mean it’s literally a 1% increase), and the time taken to fall asleep dropped before creeping up again.

Overall, I found the practise to be relaxing but not profoundly effective.

Next week: I’ll be replacing screens, 1 hour before bed, with relaxing activities.

Photo Credit 📷: Riley Briggs

See you then!

Featured Image Credit 📷: Dave

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