Just this week, I asked how many hours a day do you worry? The most common answer was 24/7 since many of you worry in your sleep. This weighed heavy on my heart because even though I have trouble sleeping enough hours each night, when I do sleep, I am a deep sleeper.
I used to have this problem where as soon as my head would hit the pillow, my mind would start going crazy with thoughts. Thoughts of what I didn’t get done that day, thoughts of events coming up, thoughts of what I MUST do the next day and more. This all used to interfere with falling asleep as well as the quality of my sleep.
That said, here are my nighttime activities that help me decompress and make me feel happy and grateful, leading to a better and more restful night of sleep. Try a few of them (or all of them) out and report back!
- Schedule Your Sleep! I started scheduling sleep on my calendar with a 30-60 minute warning before bed so I was aware of what time it was and could start “winding down”…otherwise I would be up until 1 or 2am every night!
- Create a Routine. Just like routines are important for many of our little ones, they are equally as important for us. In fact, just like our LO’s we THRIVE on routines, especially for areas that we struggle with (like sleep!). Personally, I like to turn my brain off, veg out on the couch and watch a TV episode with the hubby. Some people prefer reading, others prefer a warm bath. Most recently I have began adding stretching to my routine before bed because this pregnancy is making my hips tight! Think of things that you find relaxing and create some sort of routine where you do them before bed…every…single…night! This will send your body a message that you are heading to sleep soon!
- Keep a worry log. Track your worries in written form and try to do this earlier in the day, before you are getting ready to start your pre-sleep routine. Put it all in one place. Taking control over your worries and putting them in writing can be very empowering and freeing. In combination with these other tips, it will help you sleep better at night!
- Keep a reflection log. Right down everything you DID do and everything that went RIGHT during the day. Do this when you are winding down for bed; it is a great time to reflect on everything GOOD! So often we only focus on what we didn’t get done or that meltdown our LO had in public…instead think of everything you and your LO did do that went RIGHT!
- Eliminate TV from the bedroom. This one won’t make me too popular, I am sure. BUT, in my college years and until I met my hubby I always had a TV in my room and would fall asleep with it on. The nights that this happened, I never felt as rested as the nights where it was off. It also kept me up much longer than planned since I would just watch late night TV for no reason…since it was just…on. Not anymore!
- Sing yourself to sleep. Okay, yes, you sing your child to sleep often and didn’t think you would have to sing yourself to sleep too, eh? Music is soothing and calming. Think of a song that you love or count sheep! Distracting your mind from everything that typically weighs you down can help you fall into that first stage of sleep…and then you’ll be off to Zzz land.
- Squeeze Your Body. When I am feeling antsy and restless, I like to tense my whole body up, hold it for 10 and then release. It can be really relaxing. Doing this a few times can help you feel like you and the bed become one as you fall into the bed. Try it, you’ll love it!
- Keep pen and paper next to your bed. In the event your mind starts thinking of things you need to get done the next day, write it down on a piece of paper next to your bed so you can get it off your mind and not worry about it. After all, it will be right there waiting for you when you wake up in the AM!
Do you do any of this already? How does it work for you? I know I am not alone in my need for winding down before bed!
Here’s to more restful sleep for you moving forward.