Getting a Purrfect night’s sleep has been a lifestyle focus of mine for the past month. I realized I was not getting to sleep early enough nor staying asleep for at least a 4 hour stretch of time. It was affecting the way I was parenting my kids and dealing with life.
I took a hard look at my daily routines. Something in my life needed to change. Sleep was my biggest challenge. I needed to put into place some better sleep strategies that really work.
This is part 3 of the sleep conversation. Read on to find out how my month’s sleep challenge went.
Importance of Getting Enough Sleep
In this post, I shared more about the importance of getting enough sleep.
Sleep is soooo important. Sleep affects
- My mood
- My personality
- My thinking
- My ability to cope with problems
- My creativity
- My ability to remember
- My health & well-being.
Sleep affects the way I parent.
When I do not get a good nights sleep, I am not the most fun-loving, caring, patient mom that I want to be.. I am more irritable and short with my words. So my lack of a good night’s rest doesn’t just affect me. It affects my family as well.
Yup. I feel like I’ve been running on fumes with my lack of consistent sleep. I’m the grumpy, coffee-clutching mom that’s not in the mood for play-dough and painting.
There are many of us that need more uninterrupted sleep.
On average, nearly three-quarters of Americans (72%) are missing out on almost three weeks of sleep per year (470 hours).
Shut Eye Strategies for a Better Night Sleep
In this blog post I shared the top 4 shut-eye strategies for getting a better night sleep.
Putting these shut-eye strategies to work.
And now, I’m writing to share with you the results of me putting these shut-eye strategies to work in real life.
Although a morning walk does a body and mind good, my only time to write sans kids is first thing when I wake up. So my morning walk doesn’t usually happen until after breakfast. 5 days a week, I swim in the afternoons. Getting more exercise for me (and the kids) always seems to help my ability to fall asleep at the end of the day.
There were a few days when I hadn’t had time to exercise until the evening, so I opted for a more relaxing 30 minute stretch instead of an intense cardio.
Sign Off from Technology:
This was a biggie. My hubbie and I like to snuggle in together for a show in the evenings. We have found this affects our ability to have an entire hour screen free before bedtime. So, we are cutting back on our “show watching” and trying to choose tech free ways to spend the last hour before bedtime.
We are lucky because the weather has been beautiful and I’m now putting the fall garden in. A trip to the library stocked me with a stack of good books to read too. I’ve also been working on a baby quilt for my soon-to-arrive niece.
I brought out the container of peppermint tea and have been making myself a cup to drink before bed. Several nights I even warmed up my rice pack and applied heat to my aching neck and shoulder muscles. Basically, I’ve tried to take this hour of screen-free time before bed as a way to re-connect and pamper myself.
I have to admit, it’s been the most time that I’ve dedicated that much time to my own needs.
It felt very selfish in the beginning, but when I realized it was helping me fall asleep and contributing to a better me, then I realized it was actually a good thing to focus on myself.
This has been my mantra from the beginning. I need a dark room to fall asleep. After completing this sleep challenge, I realized that the light from my alarm clock was really close to my face. I ended up moving from the night stand to the floor. It took me a week to get used to there, but now I am glad I moved it.
TIME to bed:
I added this one in on my own, as I realized my adult bedtime was creeping later and later, shortening my actual sleeping time. In the last week, I have been snuggled in bed by 9:30 almost every night and off to dreamland shortly thereafter. This was a drastic change from 11 or 12 to bed.
These strategies POSITIVELY AFFECTED MY NIGHTS SLEEP.
- For the first time in a L-O-N-G time, I actually woke up on my own 5 minutes before my alarm clock sounded.
- I have been getting at least 14 hour stretch of sleep every night. (I’ve got a waking toddler who hasn’t got this sleep message yet)
- I’ve been waking up more refreshed and ready to hit the ground running each morning.
- My mood has been more even keel and I am better able to cope with minor bumps.
- My kids and husband have commented on the positive effects of me getting a better sleep =)
To learn more about how to achieve a full, uninterrupted night’s sleep
Hoping to Improve your Sleep?
Sleep Routines to Keep Track of:
- What time you are going to bed.
- What time you are waking up.
- How you are feeling when you wake up. Are you groggy or well rested?
- Your general feelings about sleep.
- What factors may be influencing you ability to fall and stay sleeping.
Then take a look at your shut-eye strategies
- Are you making time for exercise? If so, what time of day?
- Are you signing off from media 1 hour before bedtime? NO? What can you change so this is possible?
- Are you “pampering yourself” in the final hour before bed? Don’t forget to take this time to slow down and get comfortable.
- Are you going dark for bedtime? Try it and see how it affects your ability to not only sleep, but stay sleeping.
*** Remember – For some people practicing healthy shut-eye strategies alone may not be enough to manage their sleep problems. While most Americans acknowledge the importance of a healthy shut-eye strategy, only half regularly follow one. And for people with insomnia, practicing these strategies alone may not be enough. The good news is that there are effective treatment options available for those suffering with insomnia.
If you have trouble sleeping through the night, you should have a conversation with your doctor about your routine, lifestyle and symptoms.
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Mary Catherine says
Did you write this just for me!?!? 🙂 I really needed to read this – I have got to get my sleeping habits (or lack thereof) under control. Thanks for all of the great tips.