Something that is really important to me, is sleep. I know that may seem obvious, or funny, to some but it is truly really important when it comes to my ability to function property. I am a true believer that getting a good nights rest can do wonders for your energy level, cognitive ability, attitude, and health.
I am one of those people who really needs a full 7-8 hours a night in order to keep up. Though I love sleeping, I really try to make the most of every day. I truly hate sleeping in, or wasting a day. I feel like a day that doesn’t consist of doing something that will help me move forward in life, regardless of how small of a move that is, is a day on this earth that is wasted. I don’t want to get all preachy over here, but I am a firm believer that every day is a gift and should be treated as such. Am I perfect at doing this, oh hells no, but I do try every day. Some are harder than others, and those days are usually the ones that I am tired, or hangry – those are my main two sources of unhappiness, so someone please feed me and make me take a nap if I am in a bad mood!
So, how do I ensure I get a good night’s sleep and not become a gwumpy pants, as my one friend calls me? Keep reading to find out. *Disclaimer* By no means am I even close to having any expertise in this field, but these particular things are what helped me improve my sleep, so, if you’re still interested, here are my tips for getting a more restful nights sleep, so you can go from the above photo, to the below…
Tip One: Limit blue light. A few months ago a friend of mine showed me his blue light blocking glasses and shared how he was getting a deeper nights sleep with them. While I am not willing to wear said glasses each night, I discovered an easy way to lower my blue light exposure each evening. If you have one of the newer operating systems on your iPhone, you can set this up in less than a minute. Simply go into your settings –> Display & Brightness –> Night Shift, then set it up to start a couple hours before you usually go to bed each night and end when you usually wake up. At the time it switches each night, I try to log off my computer and shut down the TV as well. It’s a simple change that has significantly altered how well I sleep each night.
Tip Two: Lavender. If you enter “Calming effects of” into Google, lavender is one of the first things that pops up. It is so calming and soothing, with many report of it helping to ease anxiety and insomnia. We keep a couple pouches filled with lavender buds laying around our bedroom – you should be able to find them at your local florist. We get ours from Fiori or Terre Bleu Lavender Farm. If I am feeling anxious that day, or having trouble sleeping I will either hook one on to the fan in our room so it blows the scent around, or take the pouch and throw it at our pillows a few times. That may seem a bit weird, but when you throw it at something it will really release the scent, and tossing it onto your pillow a few times will fill your night with the calming scent.
Tip Three: Darkness. If you are anything like me, you need it to be pitch back when you sleep. For almost my entire life I have lived with my bedroom facing a main road, bright street light included. At my parents house there was a bright street light about 20 feet from my bed, which was amplified after each snowfall, and I had a big window that faced right at it, the struggle was real! After a number of years spent throwing various clothing items over my eyes throughout the night…okay that sounds weird, I mostly put an old t-shirt over my eyes..I finally purchased an eye mask, and never looked back. Sleeping with that eye mask on was life changing! I really notice a difference if I stay at a friends and forget to bring it. There are SO many cute and comfortable ones on the market now, so go pick one up!
Tip Four: Read. This is something my father told me ALL THE TIME as a child. I really struggled with sleep for many, many years. I have struggled with turning my brain off for many years. I am sure other people experience this. When I would close my eyes, all of a sudden everything I thought about that day, or needed to do the next day, would flood into my head and own my night, it was brutal. I remember many sleepless nights laying there with all kinds of things running through my mind, wishing there was a way to make it stop, then I finally took my dads advice (thanks dadio!). I now keep a stack of books on my bedside table and I slowly work my way through them by reading a little each night. I try to save the really thrilling books for earlier in the day, and choose more intellectual ones for my pre-bed reading.
Tip Five: Get it out. Keep a notebook or journal next to your bed and write down anything that pops into your head before bed. Things that you need to do the next day, things you are particularly grateful for that day, plans for the future, goals etc. Whatever it is, get it out of your mind before your lay it down for the night. I have heard a few people refer to this as a “brain dump” and I think that is pretty accurate. Just get all that info out so you can have a truly restful night.
Tip Six: ROUTINE!!!!!: This may seem so simple, and it really is, but SERIOUSLY folks, get yo self into a good sleep schedule, like right now! Go do it! It can be tough to figure out at times, especially when you have weird work schedules like Josh and I do, but it’s so critical. Figuring this out made the most significant change in my overall happiness. That is not to say that you need to be asleep by 11:00 pm and up by 7:00 am every day (this is what my sleep goal is each day) but at least set yourself an evening and morning routine each day. There are definitely times when I am working an event that is going late and I know there is absolutely no way I will be out of there by 11:00 pm, let alone in bed, but I still make a point of setting a schedule for the next day. If I go to sleep at 1:30 am, I will not let myself sleep past 9:30 am, unless I am REALLY sick, because I know I don’t need more sleep than those eight hours. I am just throwing away the morning if I stay in bed until 11:00 am, or later. I know some people may disagree with me, and that is totally fine, but I really noticed a difference with this. It’s the same concept as working out when you don’t feel like it. When Josh and I were doing personal training, there were days where it took everything in me to show up, seriously (Andrew and Andrew, yeah they both had the same name, if you’re reading this, I like you guys, but I f-ing hate burpies and am not sorry for whining). I dreaded it sometimes and if I didn’t have a trainer to keep me accountable, I might not have gone. The crazy thing was, once I was there and got moving, I felt great and was really proud of myself for going. The same applies to setting a schedule. There are days where I really think that being a housewife with no kids and living a life of leisure would be the best thing ever, stay in bed all day and do nothing, sure it sounds great, but to me, that is not fulfilling. So, I drag my ass out of that bed and get moving, even if it’s just walking into the kitchen to start brewing some coffee, getting going and knowing that is my morning routine, just like my nightly routine is brush my teeth, wash face, chapstick, hand cream, read, I have a morning routine that helps get me going, like my nightly routine helps me unwind. Give it a try for a few weeks and let me know how it goes for you!
I really hope these tips help you get a deeper sleep and wake up feeling refreshed! P.S. having a good mattress also helps a lot. We invested in a pillow top Stearns and Foster bed a couple of years ago and it is amazing. You spend a lot of your life in bed, so it’s definitely worth the investment.
P.P.S. Letting your giant dog sleep in bed can be a challenge when wanting to get a good nights sleep, but we love to cuddle him and he loves it too, so we let him be. It’s not perfect, but we make it work.