Improving Sleep Quality

(even when the quantity isn’t there)

This post is sponsored through my partnership with Sleep Number®.

Thankfully, we’re finally at a place in life where both kids are sleeping. (Now that I wrote that, I can expect all of our good sleep habits to go crumbling to the floor.) P has been doing 7pm – 7:30am for quite a while, and now that Liv is comfy in her SleepIQ™ Kids Bed and new room, she’s sleeping so much better. 

The over age 5 crowd? Not so much. (Excluding Bella, but she’s a professional sleeper.)

We’re night owls by habit. Even when I say I’m going to get to bed early, suddenly 10pm rolls around and I want to do allthethings. I’m tying up loose ends for work, blitz-cleaning the house, folding laundry, or just enjoying the glorious silence. It’s an extra productivity time block, and I find myself wanting to take advantage of those extra few hours. It’s uninterrupted time with the Pilot, and even if we’re both working or finishing chores, I enjoy catching up with him over a glass of wine following the long day.

My magic amount of sleep time is 8 hours -I feel AMAZING after 8 hours of sleep- but even when the quantity isn’t there, I’ve taken some steps to improve the quality. I think the key is promoting the ability to wind down even while I get some nighttime chores or work done. This way, it takes less time to actually fall asleep. I crawl into the covers, and crash.

6 tips to improve sleep quality

According to this survey, 54% of Americans feel like they don’t get enough sleep.

Ideas to Make the Most of the Sleep Time We Do Have

Wind down before bed, whether it’s through reading, meditation, or a gentle stretch. I’ve realized that with the kiddos, it helps them to have a solid bedtime routine. They know what to expect: bath time, reading, bed. It’s just as beneficial for adults! If you get into the same habits each night, your body will begin to recognize that sleep is on the way. My bedtime routine almost always consists of some reading and meditation, or stretching. I’ll often drink a decaf tea before going to sleep.

winding down before bed

Keep the bedroom cool. This is a HUGE one. The weather by the coast is mild, so a majority of houses out here don’t have AC. We thought we could subsist on fans alone our first summer, but learned quickly that it was not going to work. We tossed and turned, and didn’t want Liv to get too hot in her room. (This was before I was pregnant with P.) We invested in some portable AC units, and they were gamechangers. The ideal sleeping temperature is around 68 degrees, and it’s also a great temperature for kids and babies at night. 

Nursery to promote good sleep

Minimize distractions. Our room can easily become a catchall for laundry, knick knacks I need to put away, and paperwork. I’ve found that trying to go to sleep surrounded by chore reminders was the opposite of peaceful. I’ve made a conscious effort to keep extra chores out of our bedroom. We don’t have a TV in our room, and while it’s tempting to scroll on my phone before bed, I charge it on the far wall from our bed and avoid touching it in the 30 minutes to an hour before sleep.

Our bedroom has a calm atmosphere

Exercise. The days that I don’t work out, I have a much harder time falling asleep. Getting in a challenging, sweaty workout almost always ensures a good night’s rest. On the days where I don’t teach or complete my own workout, I make a goal to at least go on a walk with the dogs after dinner to get out some energy. Not-so-coincidentally, a good night’s sleep gives me the energy I need to crush my workouts.

Exercising on the beach to help with sleep later

Wear real pajamas. I learned this trick during a podcast interview with Ariana Huffington. If we wear clothes to sleep that we’d wear to the gym, the body gets confused, and thinks we may actually be heading to run on the treadmill instead of going to sleep. Create a selection of clothes purely designated for bedtime. 

If you wake up, DON’T check the time. This is a huge one for me! When I have to wake up during the night for Liv or P, I used to check the time. I’d think about the amount of sleep I was losing, which in turn would keep me up longer. Also, my to-do list would start looming, and the anxiety would prevent me from crashing out again. Now when I have to wake up during the night, I do what I need to do, and avoid checking the clock. In this case, ignorance is bliss.

What steps do you take to make the most out your sleep? Any bedtime rituals that help?

xoxo

Gina

This post is sponsored by Sleep Number. Thank you so much for supporting this blog and the companies who support our family.

Sleep is a huge component of healthy living. If you’re looking to improve your sleep environment, check out Sleep Number’s site here, or you can head to a store near you to determine your unique Sleep IQ number.  

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Comments

  1. Ermahgah – not checking the time is my biggest issue. I do that ALL the time. (Although, proudly, today… it was 6:04 AM when I checked, which is a perfect wake up time in my book! Whoop whoop!)

    My biggest trick has been keeping things that are not restful or relaxing out of the bedroom. Kind of like you mentioned from Ariana Huffington, I try not to bring work to bed and keep only restful things into that space. It makes my mind easily relax when I step into the bedroom, rather than being confused as to what activity is coming up next.

    Thanks for sharing!
    XO, Jessica
    http://www.semisweettooth.com

  2. I love the wearing pajamas tip! I recently bought a few sleep shirts from Victoria’s Secret and a few sets from Costco and it does make a big difference! We also don’t keep a television in our bedroom and I keep my phone charging in the bathroom so I’m forced to get up when my alarm goes off.

  3. OOOOOHHHHH I am SO guilty of the wearing workout clothes to bed thing, especially if I’m getting up super early for a long run! That being said those nights I definitely don’t sleep as well. I also use f.lux on my computer which turns it from blue light (disrupting melatonin production) to a yellow light!

  4. My worst habit is staying up too late watching movies. Sometimes I just need to shut off the tv and go to sleep but lately for some reason I’ve been finding that hard.

  5. I charge my phone in the living room over night so it’s out of the bedroom. I’ve heard such great things about Sleep Number!

  6. Not checking the time is so hard for me! Emme usually gets up once a night to go potty and I can’t seem to help, but check the clock.

    Winding down before bed is key for me, but also a challenge.

  7. queenoffitness says:

    We don’t have a TV in our bedroom, in fact I’ve never had one in my room except in college, and I plug my phone in to charge every night in another room. I use a good ol’ alarm clock. We have central air but use a ceiling fan over our bed as well which helps me stay extra cool. We also have a room darkening shade on our window.
    I work at a school and you’d be amazed how many elementary students (even K and 1) have TV’s in their bedrooms and tell me they can’t sleep without it on. Brains not fully at rest create a host of problems.

    • Fitnessista says:

      that is CRAZY. but, we also had TVs in our rooms growing up and it was no big deal. now i have no idea how i used to sleep with the TV on

  8. I’ve learned not to check the time when I wake up too, otherwise I keep on thinking about how I have to get up and get my day started soon. This causes me to lose sleep since I lose focus on relaxing and trying to go back to sleep. Great tips!

  9. Hahaha I have to do all of this just to have a relaxing day!!!! I especially love the clean room part! I work from home so my desk (in our bedroom) always has to be clear otherwise I can’t stand being in the room!

  10. That tip was from Ariana’s interview on HerMoney right? Love that podcast!

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