I’ve had three babies, and I’ve literally dreamt of better sleep. Every mom fears that the best sleep of her life was probably before kids. To add to the sleep deprivation, I developed a bit of insomnia when our youngest little lady was born. I couldn’t seem to turn my mind off before bed or after I was up with her at night.
The combination of the two led to some brutally exhausting days.
And this is a problem. Sleep serves a critical role in physical and emotional well being. Good sleep provides us with essential memory processing, repairs our bodies, regulates our body weight, and drastically affects our mood.
That’s why after a short night of sleep we feel grouchy while making poor decisions. And end up putting the milk in the pantry…
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So, when my kids let me sleep, I NEED for it to be the best sleep of my life! Even if baby girl has a bad night and the total amount is less than ideal. We all have things we can’t control that give us less than ideal sleep (kids, jobs, perhaps a social life).
Yet, let’s focus on what we can control. There are many ways to set ourselves up for success and our best possible sleep more often.
Here is what worked for me, and hopefully it will give you some new ideas to try to!
SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS
Studies show that exercise reduces symptoms of insomnia and gives us more time in deeper, more restorative sleep.
On the days that I workout, I notice that I fall asleep and stay asleep much much better. Even a 10-minute walk is helpful!
No Food Before Bedtime
I follow this rule because I noticed that my stomach does better when I don’t eat right before laying down.
A friend told me that a medical professional advised this to her husband for sleep! It’s difficult to relax in slumber when our bodies are trying hard to digest that 8:00 snack.
No Caffeine After 3:00
Some people even need for this to be sooner in the day. Caffeine is a great pick me up in the morning, but too late in the day and it hurts much more than it helps.
I don’t have a lot of caffeine in general, so I can really feel it if I break this rule. Do you notice the difference when you have it too late?
Get Vitamin D
At least 10 minutes of sunlight exposure during the day helps us fall asleep at night. If we don’t experience enough daylight, it’s tough to keep our bodies regulated and on track for night!
So step out, work on the deck, or take a lunch break walk for vitamin D and fresh air.
SET UP THE ENVIRONMENT
Our bodies need to be signaled that it’s time to sleep, and our bedrooms should be a place conducive for the best shut eye possible!
Get the Lighting Right
Turn on the lamps an hour before bed to signal to your body that it’s time to wind down for the night. And, research shows that we should be sleeping in a dark environment. Any lights on confuse our bodies into thinking that it’s daytime.
Of course, with kids we have night lights everywhere, so that really doesn’t happen. However, I have removed some blinking lights previously in our bedroom, and I’m thinking about buying a sleep mask.
Keep it Cool
The bedroom should be between 60-67 degrees to help cool the body. We have all noticed that it’s extremely difficult to sleep when we’re warm!
I’ve recently started sleeping with the fan on again and open windows. It helps so much!
Include Some White Noise
The fan helps with this as well! LeBron James even uses a white noise app to get his best sleep possible while doing the crucial work of recovering his body after games.
I do have the app from this site HERE for white/relaxing noise, which I LOVE, but can’t use often yet with the baby.
Get Screens Out Or Off
The bedroom should be for sleep and romance. Listening to a text message come in, watching late night tv, and checking Facebook one last time while laying in bed, signals our bodies to remain awake.
Screens ideally should be off 1 hour before bed.
The nights when I work on the computer or check my social media, are often the nights that I take forever to fall asleep.
I now turn my phone off at a certain time, and this has been very helpful at removing the temptation to browse just one last time!
Read Before Bed
Since those screens are turned off, this is a great substitute. But be careful. I love reading, but anything too exciting ends up with me getting way too involved and forgetting about the clock altogether.
Reading self-improvement books before bed seems to work best for me. I’m interested in them, but I’m not lost in a story that I can’t put down.
Do Something Relaxing
To my husband’s utter dismay, a little shoulder massage knocks me completely out when nothing else will. I’m asleep immediately after.
I think anything relaxing would be helpful here though. A bubble bath, self-massage, stretching, or a warm cup of tea (have the tea an hour or two before though!).
It is a great way to wind down, do some reflection, and get thoughts out of our heads. This does not have to be a long session!
Related Post: How To Use Gratitude To Savor More Life Moments
A Brain Dump
To get the to-do list or worrisome thoughts out, spend 2-3 minutes just writing down whatever comes to mind.
This is perfect for the nights that I’m working a little late or am worried about something with the kids. Gets them out of my head!
Prep For The Next Day
When we are anxious about getting up early the next day for an event, it helps to prepare a few things to ease the mind.
Get out clothes, put together lunch, set two alarms etc. This helps us relax and fall asleep without stressing and worrying about morning details.
Take 9 Deep Breaths
This was recommended from a friend, and it has been hands down the single best thing to turn off my racing mind when I’m having trouble falling asleep. By the time I get to 9, I’ve broken the pace of thoughts. I have to do this once or twice a night, but it does work!
Something To Think About
Is there anything that keeps you up at night? If you found these tips helpful or have other suggestions I’d love to know!