Becoming a mother , I never truly realized how much I loved & needed sleep. I guess you can say I took it for granted, and now as a mother of 2, both under the age of 6, I appreciate what a good night’s sleep (7-8 hours) does for me! With so much literature out there about how important it is to get a good nights sleep, I wanted to pass my findings on with you, from the food we eat, to how we decompress and even what you are sleeping on, with these 10 tips on how to get your best nights sleep.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, more then 1/3 of all Americans are not getting enough sleep each night, which for most adults is 7-9 hours per night. With that said a whooping 20% even claim they average less then 6 hours per night.
Some people believe that by spending more time awake, they can spend those hours getting more things done. Even with the help of those 1-2 cups of coffee or energy drinks, sleep is something that everyone needs in order to be our most efficient selves. While an occasional late-night is ok and can be helpful in getting those extra “agenda Items” completed, keep the late night oil burning for too long and your body will not be functioning well at all in no time. Habitual sleep loss takes a toll on your body, mind and spirit , having a negative effect on your body both in the moment but long term as well. Take a look at these 10 tips and you should be on your way to waking up feeling restful, refreshed & ready for a productive day ahead.
- Become a Creature of Habit
Create a routine bed time for both going to sleep & waking up, that you follow during the weekdays and weekends. By keeping with the set times your body gets into the habit of wanting to go to sleep at the same time each night & you will wake up refreshed at the same time each morning.
Most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep each night, and determining what is the perfect amount for your body is key.
2. Find the time to decompress
Every night when I put my kids to sleep, I make a conscious decision that the hour and some change I have before I like to go to bed is “ME TIME” where I make it all about me! Some of my favorite activities to decompress can include and are not limited to:
- Showering/ Bath
- Read a book
- Journal or blog about the days events
- Listen to soothing/relaxing music
- Do gentle yoga or stretching
3. Set the Tone in your space
Create a relaxing environment, one in which you can find yourself wanting to relax in. A nice cool, dark room, wearing cozy loungewear or pajamas, essential oils ( Lavender- is a wonderful smell known to help facilitate a relaxing environment; Eucalyptus is a great one for waking up the senses, aka morning time.) Personally an organized space also helps speed up the relaxation process at HML. Another helpful item if you are sensitive to noises, consider using ear plugs, they are comfy if worn properly and drown out all the street noise that could potentially keep you awake. Ideal temperature is somewhere between 66-72 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Invest in your Sleep
No matter where you are in the world, a mattress is one of the key ingredients to a restful sleep. I know that personally when we travel I can never quite the same comfortable sleep as I do at home, all because of our mattress. The Better Sleep Council recommends that everyone ideally replace their mattresses every 7-10 years. If you currently have reached the 7 year mark, you should take a look and evaluate its current condition. Mold and mildew can grow on older mattresses, and once they start it’s hard to get rid of them. Also check for bed bugs and dust mites. They are easily treatable but will help make your mattress “healthier” for you.
Mattresses in good condition should also support your back & spine, keeping it properly aligned. If you are waking up with aches , lower back pains, headaches or other body pains really consider in getting a new mattress that fits your lifestyle and needs.
5. Clean Sheets/Bedding & a Clean bedroom
Clean sheets are essential to keeping your temperature cool, smelling better and overall feeling better. You’ll want to add vacuuming and/or mopping to your bedroom list of things to do along with your other weekly chores. You can also vacuum your mattress once every few months to minimize dust mites, limit asthma & allergy issues as well. Even if you don’t have allergies this extra few minutes of vacuuming will help you breathe easier too. By keeping clean sheets & a clean room this will extend the life of your mattress, all the while making your sleep better and allowing you to start feeling like your AMAZING self.
6. Turn it off
Proven through years of scientific research blue light emitted from electronic devices such as your TV, computers, smartphones, iPads and even light e-readers, these devices disrupt our sleep patterns by sending a signal to our brains to wake up instead of slow down and go to bed. By suppressing our natural regulation of the sleep hormone, melatonin, these devices are a definite NO-NO, when creating your bed time routine.
Also keep these electronic devices away from the bed, so that you can resist the urge to check them at random times through out the night. Somehow back in the stone ages of our parents they survived without all of these handheld devices and somehow I feel like we will to!
7. Give up that afternoon “cat” nap
If you are generally a person who has trouble sleeping at night try to cut off your afternoon nap. It’s natural that everyday we have that “after lunch lull” that we find ourselves fighting the urge to nap. This is a perfect case of cut it out all together. Babies nap, old people nap and there is even “Siesta time” in other countries but if you looking for that good night sleep finally, then this is one easy thing you can do right starting today.
8. Jump on the “Spa Treatment” Bandwagon
As a woman with 2 kiddies, I know that getting to a spa as often as I would like is not necessarily going to happen, one I don’t have the time, but two why would I want to spend all that money on pampering myself when I can do a lot of it from the comfort of my own bedroom. I like to pamper my skin every night the moment I get out of the shower. REMEMBER: a hot shower isn’t good for relaxing, neither is too cold, but finding that JUSSST right temperature is key to relaxing the muscles & skin before bed time. I have my facial routine every night, my skin care routine and I like to incorporate an essential oil, lavender, is my go to, for those nights I find I’m starting off the evening sort of restless. Try it yourself with a simple “spa routine” at home, it can be as quick as 10 minutes from start to finish to some times over 30 if I decide to use a facial mask and/or deep conditioner.
9. Avoid the Spicy Foods
Studies show that eating spicy food actually effects the body by increasing your body temperature, making it harder to fall asleep. By all means enjoy your spicy food, but do it in the middle of the day or when you aren’t going to be trying to go to bed within the next 2-3 hours.
10. Make it a Decaf
I personally am not a coffee drinker, but as a witness to two parents who LOVE their coffees, I can tell you that if they are ever given a real coffee before bedtime, say good bye to that good night sleep. Decaf is a delicious alternative that can quench that same thirst but without losing your precious sleep. Remember that caffeine comes in a variety of forms including & not limited to:
- sea ( iced and hot)
- energy drinks
- chocolate ( in all forms ice cream included, chocolate milk, hot chocolate, etc. )
Photos by Marta Villalba Photography