Sleep is vital to my overall health and well being. It has been a goal of mine to get more uninterrupted shut eye in for the past month. Last month, I highlighted the sleep problem in not just my house, but in homes all over the US. Nearly 4 million Americans suffer from insomnia – we have a huge sleep problem in this country!
The good news is that there are shut eye strategies that can help individuals sleep better.
I have and will continue to make these shut eye strategies a priority in my life. I am a much better mom, wife, friend, daughter, and person when I have continuous full nights of sleep. (just wish someone would send this message to my night waking toddler!)
1. GET ACTIVE EARLY IN THE DAY
Rise and shine with the sunshine! Wake up, roll out of bed and get moving! Early exercise can strengthen your circadian rhythm ( a 24-hour cycle that tells our bodies when to sleep) making it easier to fall asleep at night.
How I’m doing… SO SO on this one. I’ll be honest. It’s been so hard to get out of bed in the morning. I’m dragging butt and doing all I can to get breakfast ready for a busy family of 5 and everyone out the door. Luckily, we have a new addition to the family who is not going to let me forget those morning walks.
2. SIGN OFF ONE HOUR BEFORE BED.
Fall asleep and stay sleeping better when you put your electronic devices away for at least 1 hour before you head to bed. The LED lights from the tablets and screens can activate your brain and keep you from falling asleep at night.
How I’m doing?… This is super hard. I’m a Stay-At-Home Mom to 3 lovely, very active kids AND a freelance writer. That means, that I write at night. Although I am trying to grab a paper and pencil for editing in that last hour before bed, I am often trying to meet deadlines and this sign off before an hour doesn’t always work.
PLUS if I get up earlier than the kids I am left to choose work or exercise…. It’s a tough choice as my work IS on the computer, but my kids are my #1 priority during the daytime hours. Usually, this strategy is the first to go.
(I will have you know that am NOT writing this sleep article 1 hour before bed!)
3. GET COMFORTABLE
In that last hour of the day before bed, find a way to get comfortable. Select a relaxing activity that brings comfort to you and your family. We have been playing with home-made lavender play-dough before sending the kids to bed and it seems to help calm their bodies.
- use calming scents
- listen to peaceful music
- read a book
- drink a warm cup of caffeine-free tea
- take a bath
- write in a journal
How I’m doing? I went to the library BY MYSELF and checked out a stack of adult books for me to read. It has been a delightful treat to snuggle in with a mystery before falling to bed.
Now my body craves that relaxing reading time and I really miss it when I forget to read.
4. GO DARK
When it is time for bed, block out the light. Light is a natural signal to your body to wake up. Darkness is a natural reminder that it is time to rest. If there is light on during the nighttime hours, it can send messages to your body telling it to “wake up” before it is actually time to wake up.
How I’m doing? AWESOME. I despise any crack of light in my bedroom and have light blocking shades.
For the next week, I’m really going to crack down on my sleep habits and am keeping a sleep journal. Make sure to stop back and see how it went – or didn’t!
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– signing off social media for now!