I have never valued sleep as much as I do now that I am a mom. I always thought of it as a ‘nice to have’ vs a ‘must have’. It was something I could have a little or a lot of but either way, I would get by fine and it would all work out.
Jokes on me. That doesn’t fly now that I have a kid to take care of every day.
I learned quickly that getting enough sleep is actually THE most important thing every single day.
Getting enough sleep makes me happy, it helps my immune system stay strong, it keeps me focused and alert during the day, and it gives me the energy to be the best mom I could be for Parker. Not to mention getting enough sleep can help you improve your heart strength AND help with weight loss.
Getting enough sleep is my superpower, and I didn’t realize that until I had a kid.
Parker is never guaranteed to sleep through the night, aka he hasn’t in months, so I know that I am going to have interrupted sleep most nights of the week. Because of that, I quickly learned that no night of sleep is guaranteed and that I have to be protective of my shut-eye and do everything I could to get the most out of my sleep when I actually do get it.
These are some of the sleep routines I have started that have made a significant impact on my sleeping habits.
- Lower the lights after dinner. Once we clean up after dinner, the coffee is prepped, counters are wiped, and the dishwasher is started, we turn down the lights. Allowing the house to get dark signals our brain to naturally start to relax showing that the day is done.
- Lower the temperature of your home. I always sleep better in cooler temperatures. If I am too hot I am more likely to toss and turn and wake up in the middle of the night. Once the lights go down, the temperature of the house goes with it. We typically sleep at 65/66 degrees.
- Create a sleep routine. This part is going to look different for all of us. For me, that looks like cleaning my face, brushing my teeth, and making a cup of peppermint tea while I watch tv for 30 minutes, then I go into my bed and read. That might look different to you, as long as it calms you down and slowly gets your body and mind ready to sleep.
- Once you’re in bed, no more screen time. Looking at your screen before bed drastically impacts the quality of sleep that you get. It keeps your brain physiologically engaged and suppresses melatonin – aka it makes it harder to fall asleep. So for 30 minutes before bed or once you get into bed, no more screen time. Read a book, meditate, journal, anything that isn’t mindlessly scrolling on your phone.
- Give yourself a strict bedtime. The older I get the earlier my bedtime becomes. Because I am never guaranteed a full night of sleep, getting to sleep on time or early has become more and more important to me. On a normal night, I am headed to bed by 9 pm, hoping to fall asleep by 9:30 pm. But if I am tired you better believe I am curling up by 8:30/8:45.
I could feel a very big physical and mental difference on the days that I did get enough sleep vs the days I didn’t.
Once I had Parker, I decided that walking around like a zombie, feeling out of control with my emotions, and too tired to fight off bad food decisions was NOT the way I wanted to live my life. I wanted to feel awake, happy, energized, and physically ready to take on the day and be the best mom I could be. Getting enough sleep as humanly possible is my only way to do that. 🙂