Now that my kiddos aren’t babies anymore, you’d think that it would be easy to get the perfect night’s sleep. Not so much. It seems I’ve traded the up all night for teen homework and snacks after her evening shift, kiddos up for middle of the night snuggles, and a hubby that leaves for work at an absolutely indecent hour in the *kinda* morning. This doesn’t even account for those quiet hours kid free that I steal…. because QUIET! lovely quiet.
Sometimes I think of my teenager who seems to sleep so easily, and sleep through anything! I admire that in her. Now, after 20 years of motherhood, I am ready to prioritize my own sleep.
Here are 10 tips to get us sleeping better than my teenager.
Try to set up a strict sleep/wake cycle. This is how my husband is able to get up well before the sun each day and make sure I’m awake before our crew. My bedtime is wonky and never regular. I have a great plan to get to sleep at a certain time… but those quiet hours are so tempting.
Setting a regular bedtime will help your body adjust to a schedule. It will take a little time to acclimate but will adjust itself to a regular bedtime and many people even experience being able to wake on their own without an alarm after implementing a set routine bedtime and wake time.
I’ve decided to give it a go, and bedtime is going to be a set time for me as is wake time. I’m going to try and carry through on weekends as well, when normally my sleeping schedule is the most erratic.
If I have a little space in my day, I treat myself to a little nap. It’s a better way to get a few extra winks than sleeping in on Saturday as a nap won’t really affect your nightly sleep routine.
3. Eat Well
I know this one is easier said than done and we all want to eat healthier for many reasons. But for the purpose of this goal it is best to avoid eating greasy, spicy, or acid-y foods in the evening and avoiding a heavy meal near bedtime.
Web-Md also says that dairy foods increase tryptophan in your blood which also helps you drift off more easily. So that warm glass of milk or even a cup of yogurt might be a great thing to end your day with. Bananas, nuts, or other foods that increase tryptophan are also great for bedtime snack.
4. Natural Light & Darkness
Make sure you get as much natural light as you can during the day. If that means getting outdoors that great. If that isn’t possible then maybe some open curtains. Then on the other end at night try to have darkness. If there are bright streetlights think about some blackout curtains.
The different in darkness and natural light can help our body adjust to a more natural and uninterrupted sleep pattern.
Glorious coffee… I love my caffeine. BUT psychologytoday.com states that consuming caffeine within 6 hours of bedtime can affect your ability to fall asleep and the quality of sleep you experience through the night. And lets not even get started on those extra trips to the bathroom. Better to cut out the coffee, energy drinks, and chocolates after mid-afternoon. Better yet, switch to water
6. Cut off electronics
Sleepfoundation.org states that the lights and mental stimulation are not doing us any favors at bedtime. They trick our brains into a false sense of daytime. It’s best to turn off television, computers, and electronic devices when it’s time to turn in for the night.
7. Make sure your room is comfortable.
It is easier to be restful in a comfortable environment. Declutter the space if you’ve accumulated things that don’t belong, give it a nice weekly dust over, and try to keep a nice temperature control in the room. It is much more difficult to sleep soundly if the temperature in the room is unpleasantly warm or cool.
8. Get moving
This is another one of those things that is just good for you no matter what. But getting active in your day is a great way to get a more restful sleep. Mayoclinic.org says, “Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. Just don’t exercise too close to bedtime, or you may be too energized to hit the hay.”
9. Let out your thoughts.
I am definitely guilty of laying in bed rehashing the day, what I need to do the next day, planning blog posts…. You name it, I’ll think about it. The new plan is going to be using that time after I shut off electronics (eek!) to just jot it all down. I’ll journal out my day and write my to-do list. I am also planning to take a notebook and set it on my nightstand. Then if I still have thoughts that won’t leave I can quick write them down. The ultimate plan is to write it out and then clear my mind so I can rest.
We’ll see how that works out! Wish me luck.
10. Bath before bed
The warm water will relax your muscles and get you feeling just right for rest. Whenever my gals are feeling sore or have headaches or for most of what ails them I pop them in the tub first thing. I’m a firm believer in the power of a bath.