how to get a better nights sleep
Some lucky riders out their let their head hit the pillow, and within seconds they are fast asleep, is that you? For others it can be quite a stressful and anxious time where you are tossing and turning, getting too hot or too cold and it can become quite an ordeal. Now, at the moment, where I am at in my life I am sleeping 9/10 well, I know when I am tired and I know when its time to sleep.
Throwback to 2011-12 I had an awful time, I had a young baby, I had an awful lot of my mind with work, PhD etc and my sleep suffered. It suffered so badly that I became very anxious around 7pm onwards about the thought of not being able to get to sleep and then feeling awful again the next day, quite a treacherous cycle. I felt like by the time I did eventually drop off the baby would be up to feed and so on. It got so bad I would be on 2 hours most nights and it really affected me.
For me now if I do not sleep I know (after some time analysing my sleep patterns) that it is one of two things: 1) I have my menstrual cycle on its way. If i am too hot or cold and cannot switch off, often the next morning I get my visit. 2) Something is bothering me – I often don’t know what it is! Triggers used to be work or PhD related, I would overanalyse something I send in a social situation etc etc.
There is no magic pill for sleep, I would suggest if you do struggle to just note down things that may be bothering you, sometimes once its out your head (even if you do not think its the culprit) that can really help. I have personally found Yoga and meditation quite useful for this.
It could also be that you are fighting your natural body clock. What type of sleeper are you? When do you have your most energy? Are you an AMer, PMer or in-betweener? I for sure have the most energy at 6am, I can accomplish so much in the mornings. After 9pm, not so good. This was also part of my problem (easy to asses in hindsight). Up until recently, I have been working for a college (part time), working on my PhD etc etc and my kids are also early risers, and I am a stay at home mom (and working mom hee hee) and so my only available time was at night. So I would force myself to stay up and be productive, then be wired and unable to sleep but I would still rise early, because body clock and because my kids too are AMers! Now, I sleep well because I don’t need to stay up late and although most mornings my body wakes me around 5 am, thats ok because I am usually snoring by 10!
There are some other things that can help you settle into a pattern:
- What time of day could you wake up everyday, including weekends and be on time for work, meetings or your children? For me this really is 5:30am.
- Try not to worry about getting 7-8 hours a night, include naps and downtime. I work great on 6-7, any less and I feel groggy. My husband falls asleep on average later and wakes later. Even on weekends I will be up early and mostly he gets an extra hour or two because he needs it. Try not to have sleep envy!! Know your body.
- Pre and post sleeping routines can affect sleep and the quality of it. I need an hour or more to wind down, with a cup of tea and a book or a cuddle of the sofa with Netflix. This is also when I like to scroll social media for me (not work). In our room we have the bed and thats about it so its very much a room I associate sleeping with. When I wake, on a weekday, I do some yoga in the dark just 10-20 mins before the kids rise and make a lemon water. I then make lunches and post my drafts on my social media, get everyone up and dressed while the coffee is brewing and I once everyone is ready and the hubs has left, I sit and have 10 mins with my coffee 😀
- Ensure to have some recovery or a nap within your day. 1-3pm and 5-7pm are good ‘downtimes’. It isn’t always possible I realise, but if you at the office or yard taking 5 minutes to get yourself a drink, text a loved one, do a 5 min meditation etc can all help. I actually can nap but I often do not, sometimes walking the dog alone is downtime, sometimes a cup of tea after the school run is enough!
Now, I am not a sleep expert by any means but my biggest tip is to try and take away the stress and anxiety about getting enough sleep every night. I used to panic if I was out late or if it was 2am and I was still awake. In the bad times it was really bad and so now, even one bad night can make me feel uneasy. Over time, I learned to tell myself to TRUST my body, maybe it just doesn’t need to sleep, but just resting was good. I tried doing boring and repetitive tasks, or reading and I just found those made me more awake. I tried hot baths and hot chocolate. I tried music and meditation (which made me want to throat punch people ha ha). So I just ‘let it go’ it took time but realising some nights ill get 4 hours sleep and sometimes 8, and that naps and downtime DO count helped me to get out of this rut.
A healthy diet and exercise too will help, so if you are looking for something to get your teeth into why not try my FREE 30-Day Challenge?
I hope that you enjoyed reading this blog and I would love to hear your comments and thoughts.
All the best,