Rules of a Sanctuary by Julia Mennes

Sleep. Ever since I was little, it has been something I have looked at as a daunting chore. Even when I find myself with the rare opportunity to go to bed early, the experience soon becomes anything but relaxing. My mind grows anxious as I desperately count the total hours I will be able to sleep. As I watch this number slowly decrease, I quickly think up all of the more productive things I could be doing than just lazily laying in my bed. I always assumed I was just one of the unlucky ones, that I was cursed with the unpleasant gift of insomnia. But, recent realizations have led me to the conclusion that I do not have to settle with this recurring problem. Sure, everyone has times that they simply can’t sleep, but I do not have to just watch from the sidelines. I realized one of the most important parts of my sleep is the setting I put myself in to drift off. And as I like to call it, my sanctuary. The Miriam Webster dictionary defines sanctuary as a place that provides safety or protection. This was exactly what I was in search of. In order to make my bedroom a sanctuary, I had to make a few changes in both my physical space and my habits. After making these changes and experiencing a bit of trial and error, I have compiled a list of my rules for creating (and maintaining) a sanctuary. 

  1. Start by looking at your daytime habits. Sleep is not just something that involves night. Do you have enough activity (physical and/or mental) going on to even be tired at night? How about your caffeine intake? Are you napping during the day? In order to get the best sleep and make the most of the sanctuary, your mind must be ready for relaxation.
  2. Lose the distractions. I know it’s hard to do, but screens do not belong in the sanctuary. From personal experience, they disrupt sleep and add an unneeded distraction to your mind. This goes along with homework. If possible, doing homework in a space other than your room is much better. Having it right in front of me as I try to relax just stresses me out even more. 
  3. Make the space personal! I would assume your room is already rather personal, but add some things that specifically calm your mind. For me, this is a pumpkin candle I keep on my bedside table. Lighting it every night is one of my steps to relaxation. 

With that, I hope you can sleep soundly knowing you are maximizing your relaxation time in your very own sanctuary.

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