All these years later, the most common sense thing we have all heard still manages to blow my mind.
Last night I fell asleep putting the kids down and my body woke up 9.5 hours later.
I had a whole list of things to do last night. I woke up with none of them done. The dishwasher was left wide open. The counters were cluttered. The clothes weren’t ironed.
However, it amazed me how much energy I had this morning.
Most mornings it’s a battle and chore to get everyone out on time. Today, we left 10 minutes ahead of schedule, and I had accomplished a half hour worth of tasks that I normally do after they are gone.
The science is there. Even common sense is there. We KNOW without a doubt that our brains work better when we have more sleep.
We KNOW that more sleep means better efficiency.
We sabotage our sleep all the time. Just a couple days ago I stayed up past my bedtime so I could fold six batches of laundry and make sure my kitchen was spotless. But guess what? The next day I was dragging and accomplished less than I usually do in my workday.
If you are struggling with getting a full night’s rest, I compiled a list of things to help increase your chances:
- Actually calendar your sleep. Block the time and respect the boundaries
- Communicate with your family the time frame you need to sleep and ask them to help keep you accountable to keeping your word.
- Cut out caffeine. Both my husband and I have had to completely remove it from our diet to get better rest at night (I have found if I squeeze in one serving before 11am, I am still okay)
- Try different supplements. There are things like melatonin and magnesium that regularly make a world of difference for many people. However, sometimes other things are off in your body and getting the right balance can change everything. Talk to your doctor about running some labs to see where you may have deficiencies. You can also have your hormones checked because your hormones being out of balance can greatly affect your ability to get a good night’s rest
- Exercise. Getting proper exercise during the day has been proven over and over again to improve sleep in many people. However, exercising too close to bedtime can negatively affect sleep, so be sure your body has ample time to calm back down for rest
- Screentime. Cut out screen time before bed. I’ve heard many different timeframes recommended, so see what works best for you. Some people recommend 30 minutes, one hour and two hours of no screen time before bedtime to help best prepare your brain for rest
- Manage your food. Being overstuffed or eating foods that cause indigestion can also disturb your sleep
- Alcohol consumption can also affect your quality of sleep
- Improve your sleeping conditions. Things like a darkroom, cooler temperatures, earplugs, fans, or anything else that may improve your environment
- Calm down rituals. There are things you can do to prepare your body before rest so you can fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer. For many people hot baths, teas, or reading (but not on a screen) are helpful.
- Guided meditations can be powerfully helpful, especially if your thoughts often keep you awake. Apps like Headspace and Calm offer meditations you can listen to before bed to help release any stresses, worries, or tasks before you fall asleep.
- Journaling. If you find that bedtime is when your brain starts buzzing with tasks and ideas, keep a journal next to your bed to write down the thoughts as they pop in.