Sleep is definitely a common struggle. There are so many things that can affect our sleep. Often times, it’s the thing we compromise when we are stressed or busy. However, we NEED sleep.
Did you know that your body functions completely differently when you are sleeping? It is during sleep that our bodies heal and repair. It’s during sleep that we grow. It’s during sleep that we are able to reset and get going again the next day. Without sleep our bodies will eventually crash.
As a mom, my sleep is compromised often. Sometimes I think my kids are in kahoots and making sure I don’t get any sleep. I think they high five each other in the hallway signalling when it’s the next kids turn to come and wake me up.
There are MANY reasons we don’t sleep:
- Kids are in our beds
- Kids potty the bed
- Kids are stressing us out
- Kids haven’t come home on time
- Did I mention that kids make us lose a lot of sleep?
All joking aside there are things that we CAN control that affect our sleep. Here are a couple of things you can change, TODAY, in order to get a better night’s sleep tonight.
- Do not sleep with your phone or smartwatch by the bed. The dinging and notifications will affect you all night long. We hear the ding while we are laying there and then we wonder “is that important” “should I check it now or wait until the morning”. All or any thoughts like this will delay us falling asleep and staying asleep.
- Do not watch TV in your bed. TV is a distraction. We go to bed when we are tired but then we lay there and watch TV and stay up later. In the age of Netflix, and if you are anything like me, I watch one episode and that ends on an amazing cliffhanger. So then I have to watch the next episode and then the next and the next. See where I am going? Pretty soon I have finished Season 1 and I was planning on going to sleep hours ago.
- Make your room dark! Have you ever stayed in a hotel room where you have the hallway light coming in from under your door? Then you have all kinds of lights coming in from your window from the parking lot outside or business signage? Maybe there is a light for the alarm clock, the microwave and tv too. All of this light confuses our bodies. Our bodies know when it is light it’s time to be awake, when it’s dark it’s time to sleep.
- Cut off the caffeine late in the day. I don’t drink a lot of caffeine. I DEFINITELY don’t drink any caffeine after 10am. Caffeine is a stimulant and when taken too late in the day we aren’t able to fall asleep at night. If you are having a hard time falling asleep, pay attention to how late in the day you are consuming caffeine. Notice how you feel and how it is affecting your body.
- Naps! Pay attention to your naps. If you take a nap and can not fall asleep at night either shorten your naps or discontinue them entirely. I am in the discontinue entirely category. If I take a 10 minute “cat nap” I will be up until 12am AT LEAST!
- Consistency is KEY. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time. Your body will get into a routine and start to “learn” when it is time to go to sleep and what it is time to wake up.
- Check out your bedroom environment. When you lay in bed do you feel relaxed? Do you feel comfortable and at ease? What is the temperature like? Is there a lot of noise? Make your environment quiet, relaxing, clean and enjoyable place.
- Set your bedroom temperature. No one wants to go to bed, lay there and sweat all night long. Ensure your bedroom temperature is conducive to sleeping.
- Don’t eat late at night. Many patient’s report reduced sleep or “odd dreams” when they eat late at night.
Clear your mind before bed. Write all your thoughts out in a journal, meditate, take a shower… Do something to relax and clear your mind!