February 8th Newsletter
I’m tired. I mean, really, really tired! It’s like a chronic-type of tired. So tired, in fact, that my left eye won’t stop twitching (off and on for weeks now)! I’m not proud of this, but I know the majority of you can relate!
But who isn’t tired these days?! From work and household responsibilities to dealing with various sicknesses that seem to be bouncing from one family member to the next, it seems like getting a “perfect” night’s sleep is a blue unicorn – something we all hope for, but [inevitably] will never see! [I know the true saying is “once in a blue moon” – but I like this one better! Hahaha.]
So that’s why I’m focusing today’s Newsletter on sleep. Because I need it – and I’m sure you do too! I actually talked about sleep [here] back in November when Kaia was not quite 2-months old yet, but what better time than now to remind you all how much we need it! In fact, sleeping – or in many cases, not sleeping – can be one of the biggest hinderances in losing weight! The Mayo Clinic talks about it, WebMD talks about it – and you can find numerous other studies and facts on it too – so trust me when I say it’s a real thing!
Just think about it: who hasn’t grabbed for a sugar-laden beverage to keep them awake come 3pm, or go for a gooey, sweet donut to get them going in the early AM when the sleep hours just don’t seem to add up?! Or at least had that extra cup of coffee – or 3 😉 Now think about all of those wacked out hormones that come in to play their role, and you’ll quickly understand why that weight just won’t back off!
So what can we do about it, besides escaping to an island paradise for a couple weeks?! Well, let me tell you! Here are 5 Simple Ways to Get More Sleep, all of which you can start putting into action tonight! And if these don’t work, then maybe taking a much-needed vacation isn’t such a bad idea after all! God knows I could use some warmth with this 20 degree weather today! Hahaha.
1) Create a Sleep Routine
Having a consistent sleep schedule is just as important for us adults as it is for our littles. According to the Mayo Clinic, frequently changing the times you go to bed and wake up confuses your body’s biological clock. Although not always feasible, following a regular schedule, even on weekends and holidays, can help you get the rest you need.
To stick to this schedule, start by developing a relaxing bedtime routine that begins around the same time each evening. This will help prepare your mind and body for sleep. For example, take a warm bath, listen to soothing music, read a book, or do other activities that help you wind down. This will send a signal to your body that bedtime is coming, helping you to relax and fall asleep more easily.
2) Dim the Blue-Light [Electronic Devices]
Keeping electronics out of your bed really is crucial to help you get a good night sleep. It’s been well studied that the blue light from glowing electronic screens suppresses your body’s production of melatonin (an important hormone for sleep), making it harder to fall asleep at night. Furthermore, having your email, texts, etc. so easily accessible make it more difficult for you to “turn off your day”, which can cause extra stress, tension and/or stimulation, again, making it harder to fall asleep.
3) Creating a Relaxing Sleep Environment
Think about the moments that you have had your most restful nights’ sleep. What did these rooms look like? Is that similar to your current bedroom? If not, change it! Setting the scene really will help you get “into the mood” for sleep. Light, sound, and temperature are some of the most common causes of sleep disruption, so try and fix these first. Go for as quiet, dark, and cool as is comfortable for you. Your mattress and pillow can also play a major role – neck or back pain anyone? – so deal with these next.
Also avoid watching TV, using your computer, or checking your phone in bed. You shouldn’t be working, eating, or even having a heated discussion with your significant other in your sleeping environment either. The association between your bed and sleep needs to be strong, and all of these other “things” will help cloud that.
4) Hold the Alcohol – and Caffeine
While we all know that drinking caffeine right before bed can keep us up for hours, did you know that even if you have some mid-afternoon it can still effect how easy – or hard – it is to fall asleep. In fact, the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School says that the effects of caffeine can take six to eight hours to wear off. For me, I can’t drink any caffeine after 4pm, or I’ll have a horrendous time catching any shut-eye.
Alcohol is another beverage that may be hindering your sleep. While many believe it helps make them more tired (since it is a sedative), it does disrupt the quality of your sleep. This can result in lighter and less restorative stages of sleep, causing you to feel groggy the next morning. For this reason, try to avoid drinking alcohol within three hours of going to bed and limit yourself to one or two alcoholic beverages per day.
Furthermore, drinking too much of any liquid before bed may lead to frequent bathroom trips during the night, which of course will also disrupt your sleep. Tea can be a nice calming agent though, so if you need to sip on something, have a little calming tea, such as Chamomile, to help you wind down.
5) Try, Try Again
Not every night is the same and even with these tips, falling asleep may seem challenging at times. Forcing yourself to sleep rarely works though and will probably cause you to be even more stressed out. So, if you’re still lying awake after 15 minutes of trying to fall asleep, get out of bed and do something else for a while. Maybe try going through part of your bedtime relaxation routine again. Or try something different, like listening to a sleep app. I originally had downloaded one for my oldest daughter when she was still an infant and sleeping in my room, but now I can’t sleep well without it (and she is 3 ½)!
But remember, no matter how tempted you are, don’t check your phone (or turn on the TV, get on your computer, etc.). Try not to expose yourself to bright light, extreme temperatures, or loud sounds either. These stimulating activities will only make it harder for you to get into your sleep mode and will just snowball into an even more restless night.
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Feeling tired yet? It is Friday after all (if you’re reading this as part of my weekly Newsletter)!
I know getting sleep is not always easy – trust me, with three kids that don’t like sleeping much, I know – but it truly is one of the most important things you can do for your body. And your sanity! So go home (after work of course) and get some shut-eye!
Remember, you CAN achieve all you are set out to by just putting your mind to it! Change IS POSSIBLE! And these lifestyle changes are what makes it all happen!
So keep reading these Newsletters because change is only going to happen if you LET IT! You can also CONTACT ME to get started on your own plan today – just ask me how!
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As always, thanks so much for following along with me on my Health & Motherhood journey! I appreciate each and every one of you, because it’s YOU who makes this all worth it!