(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.