Making sure I sleep well is at the top of my priority list.
All bets are against me, however. I’ve got an eight-month-old that’s still waking up twice during the night, and a husband who likes to steal the covers from time to time.
Despite these factors, I always try to sleep well – or as well as I can. For me, getting proper sleep is everything. I always notice a difference the next day. If I've slept well, then the day looks promising, and I can survive a 12-hour kid shift.
As you know, there are a lot of things that go into sleeping well. I know some people who can fall asleep within seconds and can do so anywhere they please. How I envy these people, and what I would do to trade places with them.
Instead, I’ve had to take the long route and figure out what I need to sleep well. If you’re one of those enviable types, then kudos to you. For everyone else out there, I feel your pain and want to share some (hopefully) helpful information with you.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at four ways to sleep well.
1. Be Consistent
You’ve probably already heard of this one – and to be honest, it’s easier said than done.
Experts recommend going to sleep and getting up at the same time every day. I’m not even going to try and pretend to be greater than thou – I find this just as much as a challenge as the next person.
The reason why this is so important is that it will keep your body clock in check. If your biological clock is ticking away on the same schedule every day, there’s a much better chance of you sleeping well.
Your body will slowly get used to the same routine until it knows when to expect to sleep and when to expect to be up and at it again. While I've had to make a couple of sacrifices in order to implement this, it's definitely been worth doing.
At this point, I will also mention that having a good quality mattress and pillow is essential to sleeping well. If you're not comfortable, you're going to get restless and wake up tired.
I recommend the Snuggle-Pedic Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Pillow. It doesn’t deflate and will help to keep you cool – and comfortable – all night. Get it here.
2. Winding Down
Ah, now this sounds more like it. I don’t need to be told twice to relax in the evenings – but now that it’s scientifically proven, I’ll do it even more.
Adopting a relaxing, ‘wind-down' routine that you being an hour before falling asleep can help your body to fall asleep faster and ultimately allow you to sleep well.
So, what does a ‘wind-down’ regime look like, then? I would recommend dimming the lights and reading that book you’ve been putting off.
Another great habit to make in this evening window is to digitally detox. Looking at a screen right before going to bed can inhibit the release of melatonin which is the body’s sleep hormone, making it harder to sleep well.
It’s also a great excuse to do something different in the evenings – like catch up with your partner. You could even try stretching or doing a couple of yoga moves in this hour too – anything that’s going to encourage you to relax and sleep well.
3. Make Hay While the Sun Shines
Ironically, the more you're in the sun, the more likely you'll sleep well. Daylight is just as essential for us as a lack of daylight is.
Longer exposure to sunlight can encourage our hormones to start many different processes that naturally occur in our body.
From controlling our digestion to appetite and blood pressure, there are many bodily functions that require a substantial amount of daylight to do.
If we’re not giving our body this tool that it needs, then we’re more likely to be out of sync generally, and not sleep as well.
4. Limit the Alcohol
Trust me, I’m the biggest loser in this scenario. When I’ve done a 12-hour shift with two under three, the only thing on my mind is a glass of red.
While I let go and indulge over the weekends, I begrudgingly try to limit myself during the week. While this should be because it’s the right thing to do and nobody wants to see me intoxicated all the time, it’s also for another reason as well.
Alcohol actually plays a significant role in hampering how well you sleep. This is because alcohol limits the good, deep kind of sleep you’re supposed to get.
When you’ve got alcohol on board, you’re less likely to enter your REM cycles than if you didn’t have anything to drink before bed. This results in not sleeping as well as you could and waking up unrested and groggy.
We’re all a work in progress, right? Nobody’s perfect, and we all have different priorities.
Making sure I sleep well is easily at the top of my list. I have much more patience with my kids, my husband doesn’t have to look at the bags under my eyes, and I don’t spend the whole day wishing it away.
Subscribe for more ways to get a good night’s sleep, and check out my blog post where I talk about how many hours is optimal.
Why do you struggle to sleep well? Let me know!