Okay, moms, we all know sleep is important. I will save you the boring lecture on why sleep is important, but did you know that you’re typically asleep for approximately one-third of your life? That part is crazy. While I am no sleep expert, I am a tired mom who was feeling anxious about why I always felt so tired, we’re talking ridiculously exhausted and run down. Disclaimer: If you are chronically sleep-deprived or have any concerns about the quality of your sleep, please see your doctor.
Here are a few things I tried to help me sleep better — and they actually work!
1. Have a bedtime routine and be consistent with what time you go to bed and wake up (yep, even on the weekends). Something about going to bed at the same time trains your body and brain to go to sleep. I’m not one to sleep in because frankly, I get a headache when I do, so this is pretty easy for me. On the weekends, I wake up within one hour of my weekday wakeup time, and it has really helped me sleep better and feel productive because I end up getting a lot done when I start my day while the rest of my house is sleeping — even if it is a little slice of heaven of doing something related to self-care.
2. Power down electronic devices at least one hour before bed. Right before bed is not the time to mindlessly scroll through social media, catch up on a show, or look at any electronics. If you do need to use electronic devices close to bedtime, I highly suggest using the blue light filter on those devices. A best practice is to turn off all screen devices at least 30 minutes before your desired bedtime. Better yet, charge your handheld devices outside of the bedroom.
3. Exercise daily. Celebrate being able to move your body by exercising at least 30 minutes a day. Had a busy day and didn’t quite make it to the gym to workout? No problem, just simply go for a walk with the kids after dinner around the neighborhood (moving in the fresh air is good for everyone). Try stretching or doing yoga before bed (check out some awesome videos on YouTube).
4. Relax! Drink hot herbal tea or decaf coffee. Take a relaxing bath, try actually reading a book, or listen to relaxing music or a podcast. Diffuse some lavender essential oil in your room or spray lavender spray on your pillow or sheets before you head off to dreamland.
5. Clear your mind. Prepare for the day ahead mentally. Sometimes just writing out a to-do list can help settle my mind. Some people call it a brain dump because you literally write down everything you are thinking about so you can put your mind at ease and finally get to rest.
6. Limit caffeine. I’m a tea girl, but too much of a good thing could leave you wide awake when all you want to do is sleep. Everyone tolerates caffeine differently, but as a good rule of thumb, switch to herbal tea or decaf coffee in the afternoon after lunch.
7. Eat dinner earlier. Eating right before bed could be the reason you are still up. Plan to eat dinner at least 2-3 hours before bedtime.
8. Make it cold. Lower your thermostat a little before bed. If you have the fancy thermostat that has the sleep settings, set them slightly cooler than your desired temperature or use a fan at night.
9. Make it Dark. Start dimming the lights before bed. Blackout curtains aren’t only for the kids’ rooms. Neither is that sound machine. A dark room with a sound machine helps you sleep better.
10. SEX!! I know you are tired and now there is this one more thing you just have to do… but just DO IT because you will sleep better afterward. The release of oxytocin helps you feel sleepy. BONUS: This counts as exercise, and everybody wins.
What helps you get more sleep?