My 3 Indulgences for Delicious Sleep

Recently, I had a sleep scare.

It was before some of our retreats in this last year. I wasn’t nervous about the retreats themselves, but I developed some anxiety about not sleeping well before the retreat – and also having to get up a bit earlier than normal. It’s kind of like that nervousness before an early flight. Perhaps the flight itself is not the worry, but the early wake-up and the great need for a good night’s sleep is causing some anxiety. Argh! It’s so ridiculous! But it also scared the crap out of me because for awhile, I wasn’t shaking this sleep anxiety, which, of course, just led to future anxiety. Maybe some of you can relate.

So today – out of my now undying compassion and empathy for all of you who experience any sleep anxiety – I wanted to share…

3 things that have helped me have delicious sleep again:


Ha! I feel silly even writing this out. But I swear, this “pretending” has helped me THE MOST. Now, even if I know I have to get up early, here’s how I do it: I just lay there in bed and think about how delicious it will be to sleep in – and more importantly, I envision myself the next day, barely waking up at 11 AM, feeling so fully rested and safe and cozy, with not a stress in the world and no deadlines, after having THE most deeply, restful sleep of my life…..

And bam! As I think of that vision, I am in love with sleep! I am in love with coziness! I am in heaven in my bed and as restful and stress-free as I could imagine! I am as relaxed and heavy as I could possibly be! There is no messing with my imagination, apparently, because whenever I do this, sleep overcomes me with no delay.


If you google tips for sleep, essential oils will make a grand appearance. Many people swear by Lavender. Others recommend Cedarwood. I tried both of them and actually LOVE the scent of both, but the truth is, these didn’t help me to sleep. But then I tried Roman Chamomile…..AND IT SMELLS LIKE A DELICIOUS BABY!!!!! It’s actually used regularly in baby products as it’s one of the most gentle oils. And somehow, this scent just did it for me. I rub a bit on my forehead and temples and the scent helps me feel as snugly, safe and cared for as a sleeping baby. It’s dreamy.  (This is the one I currently have.)


I had never really worn an eye-mask until this last year (aside from red-eye travel on planes and trains). But now, I love the ritual of wearing one. The extra darkness just seems to be a trigger that it’s time to get cozy and relax. And it also brings on a feeling of safety – knowing that the next day I can sleep until I need to, regardless of how early the sun comes up. I’m still using an old eye mask from American Airlines (ha), but I have my eyes on one of these pure silk ones as I’m convinced my face would be in heaven.

So there you have it.

Friends, do you have any rituals that lead to delicious sleep? 

P.S. The top photo represents every morning of the last year. Imagine 3 doggies stampeding up to my room every morning at 6:00 am and sandwiching me tightly until we all decide to get up. It was heavenly. But…our doggie trainer said that this ritual needed to end immediately as the dogs need their independence. Dang it!!!! It was good while it lasted. So now, we’re all adjusting and somehow, surviving.  🙂 


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  1. Anonymous August 19, 2016 at 2:46 pm - Reply

    I love having my doggies in the bed, we've done it since they were pups and they are both 13 and 12 now. I can't imagine not sleeping with them, I don't think I could give it up. It seems wrong to me that they need their independence, they are pack animals!?

    • mara August 20, 2016 at 12:08 am - Reply

      Hi !! Oh, I hear you. Once you get used to having them sleep with you, it's just the best thing ever. Our trainer did mention the pack animal mentality – and he said that normally dogs would never sleep with the pack leader. He said for us to maintain the leadership in the home, they needed to sleep on their own. Otherwise, they may be unclear who the leader is and therefore feel like they should be the alpha. So….oye. Working on this and learning a lot.

    • mara August 20, 2016 at 12:30 am - Reply

      Also! I'm sure there are other philosophies on this. I'm no expert. 🙂 And I'm sure every situation is unique. Our doggies have had some extra anxiety at times, so our trainer thought this would be helpful.

  2. Brianne August 19, 2016 at 10:39 pm - Reply

    I have always been a relatively light sleeper. Once I got married and started having children I was really not sleeping well because every sound would wake me up (kid noises, husband snoring, etc…). I tried sleeping with one earplug in the side that faces up when I'm falling asleep and that has done wonders for giving my brain permission to shut off and let me go to sleep. Somehow the complete lack of noise helps my brain to stop worrying about life in general.

    • mara August 20, 2016 at 12:14 am - Reply

      Awesome! So glad that works for you. I've started taking ear plugs with me every time I travel, just in case I need them. (Traveling in South America is especially an adventure. Fireworks, dogs, and all-night parties are the norm!)

  3. Meagan August 19, 2016 at 11:54 pm - Reply

    This could be totally unrelated, but has anything changed in you diet recently? I got terrible sleep anxiety when we lived in Boston. So bad! I literally worried myself sick that I wouldn't be able to sleep well. I started wondering about my diet and realized I'd been eating more sunflower seeds lately, which I had had a mild allergy to when I was younger, but no longer experienced those symptoms I'd had as a child so I figured I had grown out of the allergy. Anyway, I decided to stop eating them again and within a week my anxiety seemed to melt away. I was finally sleeping much better again and not stressing when night time came. Weird I know, but I'm a big believer in your diet having an affect on your health as I know you are too. I know you also eat very clean and good food too, but sometimes it can be healthy food that your body might not handle well. Just a thought.

    • mara August 20, 2016 at 12:28 am - Reply

      Hi Meagan- wow – – – so interesting you were able to pinpoint the sunflower seeds. What a relief!! And thank you for mentioning this, as it's definitely worth paying attention to my food in the event that this happens again.

      I have also thought of a few other possible factors. When it started up, I had just gotten the mercury fillings removed from my mouth. The doctor used all the precautions, but you just never know if you still get some of the fumes in your system. 🙁 ugh. Anyway, this can cause insomnia (among other issues.) So it was a risky thing for me to do. But for me – I felt it was worth the risk for several reasons and just wanted it out of my mouth. I've been continuing with heavy metal cleanses – and will probably be on that protocol for a very long time.

      Another possible factor: high altitude. My very first bout of this was in Cusco, Peru at a very high altitude – and that can also lead to insomnia. Anyway, who knows. It could have been a combination of things that snowballed… but I'm just relieved to the moon and back that I'm sleeping better now.

    • Meagan August 20, 2016 at 3:04 am - Reply

      Yes! Glad you are sleeping well again. Sleep anxiety is aweful!!

  4. Marilee Leishman August 22, 2016 at 8:37 pm - Reply

    I loved your tips, I want to try each one of those. The first one especially is great! I've heard getting clean before bed helps, warm bath or shower. I like to fall asleep listening to guided relaxation or listening to the scriptures being read to me. I can't listen to music, since I am a musician and will just trace the music in my mind (I could go insane doing that). But I love a calming, quiet voice.

    • mara August 23, 2016 at 3:52 pm - Reply

      Hi Marilee! Thanks for sharing this. It's always so dang fun to connect with people here.

      So – HECK YES to the warm bath! That totally is dreamy and relaxing to me. I don't have a useable bath here, so I can't wait to get back to that ritual someday (hopefully soon.)

      And – so glad the guided meditation and scriptures work for you. That's awesome! I hate to even say this as I feel so behind the times, but I've never listened to an audio book. I totally want to get into this, but I haven't ever taken the time to figure out how it works or to set it up (and now I've just revealed how tech impaired I am). I saw a post on the blog Say Yes this week about how to get started with it…and I felt so spoken to! haha. I'm inspired to get it going.

  5. Emmeline August 23, 2016 at 3:30 pm - Reply

    Hi Mara! I also deal with sleep anxiety on and off. I've had so many good recommendations from you over the years (I bought the Crocs Sexi sandals!) and so I wanted to share my favorite eye mask. It's by a brand called Bucky, and the unique thing is that they are made from a molded neoprene-like material – and they don't touch your eyelids. For me, this is the crucial feature! It's a total blackout as they fit around your eye sockets, but there's no pressure on your eye-lids and you can open your eyes under them, which gives a sense of freedom to enjoy the darkness but fall asleep when you want. Here's a link at Amazon: xoxo

    • mara August 23, 2016 at 3:36 pm - Reply

      Emmeline – I'm so, so glad you wrote. The truth is, I was hoping someone would send in a recommendation for a sleep mask as I don't have a ton of experience with it. I can see that having the eye lids free could be really beneficial (and I just saw stuff about how this allows for better REM sleep – fascinating.) Anyway, thanks for this!

      Also – LOVE that you got those sexi crocs. haha. I just was looking at that post yesterday, in fact, as I was looking up some of my Colombia posts to send to Gabrielle Blair, as her son is going on a Mormon mission to Colombia!

  6. Anonymous September 23, 2016 at 8:16 pm - Reply

    Hi Mara,

    I've had this kind of sleep insomnia for 15 years now. I finally decided to get serious about it this year. I use an eye mask by Bucky – it's like a pillow on your face, yum! I use a white noise machine for relaxation and so I can't contemplate the noises in the house/street (by Marpac, called Dohm, the BEST ever!). I have black-out curtains which make my room serene. But the biggest change was that I stop using screens an hour before bed. I just read, meditate (ha! Rarely!), do yoga.

    Best wishes with getting through this, you WILL! I'll try believing I can sleep in until 11AM! That sounds great.

    Little Miss Pink Feet

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