A woman happily lays in her bed with a large blanket in the shape of a bandaid with a heart on it

Small Joys Between the Sheets

Simple, small joys can make a big difference to how we feel when we are between the sheets.

Although I have not suffered from insomnia for many years, I still pay attention to certain things about my sleep.

Though I don't need as much of a routine as I once did, I find I still have preferences that make my bedtime and in-bed experience a positive one.

Have pillow, will travel

First, I'm pretty fussy about my pillow. I sleep well on the pillow I have, which is a loosely filled down pillow. It's soft, malleable, and flexible, and perhaps more crucially – I can fold it in half. Because of this, it works for both when I sleep on my back and need a flatter pillow – and when I sleep on my side and need something to fill the gap between the bed and my head.

I travel with a sports team frequently, and we tend to stay in cheap-as-chips hotels with overstuffed polyfill pillows – and I always bring my pillow with me. I can sleep on their brick-like mattresses just fine, as long as I have my pillow!

Simple pleasures and ironed sheets

When I am at home, I have a particular preference when it comes to my sheets. This time, it's not so much physical comfort as a mental one. For me, there is nothing like ironed sheets.

I have a king-size bed, so ironing the sheets was quite a trick in the beginning. I ended up settling for putting a very well spun/nearly dry fitted sheet on the bed and ironing it right there – and then doing the same for the flat sheet, pulling up the top and the sides out to iron them "mid-air."

A self-care activity

Something is nurturing and strangely soothing about doing this as a self-care activity – and it feels so delicious to slide into smooth, crisp sheets! It feels like a luxurious treat. And of course, as I don't change sheets daily, they are not ironed smooth as I get into them every night, but there is something about knowing they are ironed that I am drawn to and which feels good each night I get into them.

Creating positive associations with being in bed

As a sleep therapist, I can see how a lot of sleeping trouble is caused by how we think and feel emotionally about sleep, bedtime, and beds. With great difficulty sleeping and "trying hard to sleep" while in our bed, we generate many negative associations between sleep and our beds – sometimes to the point people are anxious to get into bed and experience those feelings again.

Cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia

Cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia can help eliminate those negative associations with being in bed. I consider it an "icing on the cake" to find other ways to enjoy the bedroom and bed space as well – like replacing ratty sheets you hate with ones you love and feel good about and creating small pleasures to reinforce relaxing and positive feelings in bed.

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