A good night’s rest can make a big difference in your quality of life, and today’s post is all about helping you sleep better each night.
Did you know that the body requires sleep to repair muscle, release hormones for growth and appetite regulation, and consolidate memory? All that while you are sleeping!
The recommended amount of sleep adults need is anywhere from 7 to 9 hours. That’s easy when you’re young and single but as a busy mom, this amount seems like a stretch. Here’s where I show you how to create a bedtime routine that will allow you to get the best night’s sleep and wake up refreshed.
How to sleep better at night, naturally
If you have trouble sleeping or falling asleep, there are no quick-fix solutions that work long term, but there are simple lifestyle tips that can be applied to help you get a good night’s rest.
Start by establishing a sleep routine.
Going to bed at the same time each night helps to establish that internal clock, which reduces restlessness during night hours.
Those who are active through the day, sleep better at night but be sure not to do it too close to bedtime. Intense activities stimulate cortisol and elevate body temperatures, which can keep you wide awake. Not ideal for falling asleep.
Get a comfy bed
Your back and neck know the difference between a firm, supportive mattress and a flimsy one. If you wake up often in the middle of the night with discomfort, you might want to look into a new bed.
Limit caffeine intake late in the day
While it gives us a jolt in the morning, that afternoon pick-me-up could be the very thing keeping you tossing and turning at night.
If you have to have something coffee-related in the afternoon (like me), switch to decaf.
Healthy Bedtime Routine for Moms
If you’ve read my post about daily routines, you know how I feel about sleep, “it cures everything” and making sure you get enough snooze is a lot easier with a routine.
Set a bed/wake time that works for you and stick to it. Be sure to keep it realistic as setting too high expectations can result in abandoning the commitment altogether.
It’s okay to start small and work your way up, e.g., If you usually go to bed at 11 pm and your goal is 9:30 pm. Start by going to bed 15 – 30 minutes earlier for a solid week and work your way down each week until you reach 9:30. This method makes it much easier for your body to adjust.
Once you set a bedtime, give yourself a full hour before then to wind down. Power off the TV, laptops, and iPads since all are conducive to keeping us alert. Replace those devices with a reading book, journaling, a hot bath, or sipping a soothing beverage.
What sleep position is best?
Sleep posture has a significant impact on your quality of sleep and health. If you’re not careful, a poor sleep posture could cause neck and back pain, sleep apnea, cramps, and wrinkles (eek!). Read below to find out which sleep positions are best.
On Your Back
Overall, sleeping on your back is the healthiest way to sleep. It allows your neck and spine to rest in a neutral position and prevents facial blemishes often caused by face-to-pillow contact.
Unfortunately, this is also the least favorite way to sleep. However, if you want to give it a go, there are a few tips to get you started:
- Prop yourself up with pillows
- Get a pillow for under your knees
- Get a supportive mattress
On your side
Sleeping on your side is the most popular sleeping position for majority of people. It helps to keeps your neck and spine aligned as you rest and and alleviates discomfort from anyone suffering for those with back or acid reflux.
However, there is a downside,side sleeping can cause facial wrinkles and blemishes since one side of your face is pressed against a pillow.
Things to do to fall asleep faster
For some, falling to sleep and staying asleep is no problem while others struggle each night. Not only does this cause day drowsiness, but inadequate sleep has a negative impact on, mood, ability to learn, and basic body functions.
If you find struggling to sleep here are some ways to help you fall asleep ASAP:
1. Turn off all electronic devices
An hour or two before bed, power down all screens. Unlike natural sunlight during the day, blue light- emitted by phones and computers- tricks the brain into thinking it’s still daylight.
While there are special glasses and apps to block the blue light, it’s best to put them away and start winding down.
For those who enjoy it, reading can be one of the best ways to unwind, and if you’re tired, it’s also a good idea to help you fall asleep faster. Be sure to choose a book that won’t keep your turning pages till 4 am.
Many people who have difficulty falling asleep can blame it on the thoughts running through their mind; this creates anxiety and stress, which disrupts any chances of sleeping.
Research has shown that journaling and writing down those thoughts help to alleviate anxiety and calm the mind.
Writing down cares and concerns makes the solution to them feel more tangible, and making a note of each day creates a sense of gratitude and well being. So if it helps, take 10 to 15 minutes each night to jot down what’s on your mind.
4. Listen to relaxing music
Save the pop music for daytime and switch to something more soothing. Some prefer a noisemaker, with soft, calming sounds or classical music. Whatever helps you chill out and gets you into sleep mode. If you’re not sure which soothing sounds work best to help you fall asleep, I recommend Amazon Music. You can try it free for 30 days using my link, and you’ll have access to a huge library of options so you can find the types of sound (music, nature, white noise) that helps you sleep.
5. Try a weighted blanket
Weighted blankets create a sense of calm and serve as an amazing stress reliever. As soon as I pull mine over my body I can feel my muscles start to relax. Studies have shown weighted blankets can also help with feelings of anxiety and stress, which I’ve definitely noticed since using mine. I’ve found that I’m able to fall asleep faster, and I also get better sleep when I use my weighted blanket.
Tips to Help You Stay Asleep
Limit liquid intake in the evenings
Found in coffee, chocolate, sodas, and teas, caffeine gives you a boost for the day, but it can completely disrupt your sleep if consumed to close to bedtime. It’s best to limit it within 6 hours of bedtime as well as all other fluids to minimize frequent mid-night bathroom trips.
As we sleep, our body temperature changes, and if the room is to warm, this can cause trouble falling and staying asleep. Before you go to bed, set the room thermostat to 60 – 75F. If you get hot easily, sleep with a lighter blanket.
To reduce any chances of interrupted slumber from glaring lights, draw the curtains, turn off all lights, and place phones, facing down.
What to Do When You Can’t Sleep
Don’t Freak Out
For those who’ve suffered from restlessness or insomnia, not freaking out can be one of the toughest parts, especially those who need to wake up early.
However, doing so will only make you more wired. It’s best to stay in bed and do something that will help you relax, such as reading and listening to music. Avoid pulling out the phone or turning on the TV, both of which will trick the brain into thinking it’s daylight.
Certain supplements support sleep health by boosting the production of sleep hormones such as melatonin or calming brain activity.
In addition to your body’s production of melatonin, the extra boost from this supplement can benefit those who have trouble staying or falling asleep.
Most take the mineral Magnesium for brain and heart health, but it helps to calm the brain and body.
Commonly found in aromatherapy oil, Lavender is claimed to have a sleep-enhancing effect and widely used for tension and stress relief. It also doesn’t hurt that smells amazing.
Of course, before trying any of these supplements, it’s best to consult your doctor and make sure you are in the clear.
Unlike working out and eating right, sleep is one of the most underestimated components to our health. It keeps you thinking sharp, looking refreshed, and your body strong. Keeping a routine and healthy sleep habits go a long way to help you sleep like a baby and wake up ready for the day.
What are some things you do to help you sleep better at night?