I don’t take sleep lightly. I am a light sleeper though so sometimes it’s tough to get a full night’s rest without being disturbed. Last night is a good example. The hubs was away so I thought I’d stay up a bit later, you know, have a glass of wine. Watch a movie. The kiddo was in bed at 7.30 so I was set, right?
Wrong. It turns out my shenanigans only made my quest for a good night’s rest worse.
I’ve been going to bed early lately which is what you should do if you want to get the recommended 7-9 hours rest we need. Going to bed around 10pm sets you up for a good sleep cycle when melatonin, the sleep hormone, has been at its peak for about two hours already lulling you to sleep. But last night I pushed it. I was in bed by 11.10pm to read a bit before it was lights out.
This is a good habit, the reading part that is, however I went to bed too late. And then our little monkey, OLM, crawled into bed with me in the middle of the night which hasn’t happened in so very long. It was probably because Daddie was away and he wasn’t feeling settled. It’s funny too because as I was going to bed I thought that maybe I should bring him into bed with me so he could sleep longer.
And then I thought,
‘Am I crazy? I have the bed to myself and I want to mess that up?’
As it turns out OLM was reading my mind while in dreamland.
So… I didn’t get a good sleep and this morning I was dragging my sorry butt out of bed. Thankfully, when my son woke up at 5.47am this morning I convinced him to go back to sleep. We had another hour which was great but having a little body wedged right up beside me causing my arm to go numb doesn’t make for a restful lie in.
So I thought I would share this step-by step-guide to better sleep (which I’ll be using tonight to get back on track) with you cause I know you feel my pain.
Step by Step Guide to a Better Sleep
If you are a light sleeper like me earplugs are essential. But not just any earplugs will do. I purchased dBBlocker custom fit earplugs to drown out as much noise (and occasional snoring) as possible. And they have a fabulous three-year warranty! My earplugs cracked after two years and when I called them they sent me a new pair.
2. White Noise
Using white noise to drown out sounds takes some getting used to. You can use a fan or you can try this app on your mobile phone. For $2.00 it’s a steal. I use both.
3. Dark Curtains
4. Air out bedding
When I lived in Japan I got into the habit of airing out our futons and letting the sun kill the dust mites. We’d then use a tool that looked like a very large fly swatter to get the dust out. We don’t use a futon here of course but the same principle applies. When you wake up in the morning, don’t make your bed. Instead, fold back the sheet and duvet and let the bedding air out. It helps freshen the sheets and dust mites don’t like it very much.
5. Dust and vacuum the bedroom often
Vacuuming on a regular basis keeps the dust down and helps improve breathing at night. And don’t forget to vacuum and steam clean your mattress at least once a month.
6. Change bedding regularly
If I had someone doing my housework I would ask that they change the bedding every day. The same goes for towels. But that’s just not realistic when you have a busy schedule and do all your own cleaning. So I make sure to change the sheets once a week and the pillow cases more frequently than that. It’s more hygenic for your skin too so that’s a bonus.
7. Keep technology out of the bedroom
As much as I used to love going on the internet cozied up in my bed I know that it affects my quality of sleep. So, I’ve been reading REAL books lately which helps me relax and takes me away from the stress of the day. I used to read self-help books at night but sometimes the ideas I learn get stuck in my head which doesn’t make for a good night’s rest. I’ve switched to fiction which helps my mind rest. Here’s the novel I’m currently reading.
8. Go to bed earlier
I aim to turn the lights off around 10pm which means that I go to bed around 9.30pm. If I can do that during the week I am better rested, of course, and better able to handle the annoyances that come with the structured morning routine that is getting OLM off to school. When I have nights like last night it doesn’t seem like the end of the world anymore.
9. Sleep naked
Yes that’s right! When you sleep naked you don’t have to worry about your bedclothes or that filmy negligee getting wrapped up in your business. Sleeping naked allows you to move freely without having to readjust and your body can cool itself more easily. Just make sure your bedding is warm enough, you can always stick your feet out from under the covers if you get too warm. And well, when you sleep naked you might enjoy other shenanigans that will help you sleep better too!
10. Stay hydrated
Drinking enough water during the day is helpful to ensuring a good night’s rest. If you don’t you may wake up in the night thirsty which is never good. I keep a water bottle beside me when I am at my desk to remind me to drink more. And if you have a handy container like this one to which you can add a bit of fruit or flavour, you’re more likely to remember. And finally, limit your water intake to a least one hour maybe two hours before bed so you don’t wake in the night to pee.
11. Eat three hours before bedtime
When I eat too soon before bedtime I notice that I wake up feeling more groggy than usual. My body is in rest mode at night so when you throw digestion of food consumed late at night into the mix it just isn’t priority for the body. And if that meal contains too many carbohydrates you can feel sort of hungover. That leads me to my final tip.
12. Limit Alcohol
One, maybe two glasses of wine is fine but if I drink too soon before bed I will have a hangover the next day. And if the person I am sleeping with drinks alcohol well, let’s just say he’s a bit more noisy than usual. He could probably say the same for me too. So I try to limit alcohol to three hours before bedtime to give my body a chance to metabolize it. And I drink enough water to prevent dehydration but not too soon before bedtime of course.
If you use all of these tips and you’re still not getting a good sleep, don’t give up! It takes time to adjust to a new routine. I promise you, this sleep deprived mom can’t function without all of these tips to improve my sleep.
Do you have any tips to share on how to get better sleep? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
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