There are a million posts out there about how to get some sleep while your kids are babies. I know, I’ve read a lot of them! But in my house, we’re way past that.
(Check out this post from my friend Julie if you’re looking for baby and toddler sleeping tips!)
My girls now sleep through the night almost every night. It was a long time coming, but we are for sure there now. And I couldn’t be happier!
What I’m not happy with is my own sleep etiquette now that I don’t have to worry about the kids. I’m sure I’m not alone. There are a lot of working parents out there, and a lot of people who don’t get enough sleep. (And as a blogger, I spend a lot of my evening hours on this damn computer. Not at all good for my relationship with my husband, or staying up to date with my shows!)
Being out of the house all day means that when I am at home I feel compelled to do a few chores. Then, maybe, a few more. Plus I’d love to catch up on the 3 shows I’m enjoying right now. And I’d like to chat with my spouse after the kids go to bed. But then I think I need to write a blog post because my “ready” posts are quickly being posted, leaving me nothing for next week! It’s a vicious cycle…
I’ve heard a bit about sleep hygiene. Basically it’s all the things you do before bed, and how they contribute to your night’s sleep. In theory, if you have good sleep hygiene, you’ll have a good night’s sleep and be more alert in the daytime.
A few things I do to help promote good sleep hygeine so I can get some sleep:
Avoid coffee after about 2pm. Sometimes late caffeine doesn’t bother me at all, but other days I’m awake for (what feels like) ages! As a general rule I don’t drink coffee in the afternoon. Of course, there are exceptions…
Lose the screens half an hour before I go to bed. I’m not sure what the recommendations are for when in the evening to give up your screens, but I don’t usually feel overly alert after working on blog posts or scrolling social media (for the 100th time) in the evening. My girls will also often watch tv up to 30 minutes before we actually shut off the lights for them. It’s a great suggestion for those who are stimulated by the artificial light screens put off.
I try not to eat too much before bedtime. Sadly this is not working so well for me at the moment. If we’ve been out for dance, I often don’t eat until after 8:30 when Emma is finally in bed. And there is nothing I would love more than going to bed at 9pm – though that never happens. Often we’re still waiting for our fast food delivery at that time…
Keeping a short, consistent, pre-bed routine: Go upstairs, check on the girls, brush my teeth and wash my face, climb into bed and read or watch tv for a short while, then lights out. If Patrick is into a show I’ll often fall asleep while he’s watching it, but that’s okay too. The hard part for me is actually starting this pre-bed routine. I get easily sucked into social media surfing in the evenings…I’m still working on that!
Keep a dark, cool room. Again, I can fall asleep with the tv on, but that sleep isn’t quality. I prefer lights out, blind drawn, and quiet. The cool room does work for me, but I like to be snuggly warm under the covers. Even in the summer I need something over me or I can’t really sleep. Patrick, on the other hand, not so much.
It’s also important for me to find comfort in my bedroom in order to fall asleep faster. A quiet room with a supportive mattress and cozy pillows can make the difference in my sleep quality and make it easier to drift off. I have so little free time to get in a good night’s rest, I want to be able to be comfortable enough to fall asleep as soon as I crawl into bed.
Here’s another post from Fab Working Mom Life with a few sleep tips for you: Tips To Overcome Sleep Problems. It’s a great post with suggestions to help you with those obnoxious things that are keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep.
My number one want at the end of the day is a little time to read. About 3 nights a week I actually go upstairs early enough to read a few pages before I either fall asleep, or my hubby comes up to watch tv. And that’s okay, because it’s totally my fault when I don’t get up there early. (I can’t read with the tv on – it’s too distracting for me.)
Ideally 8 hours of sleep every night is what I need. Realistically I get about 7, averaged over the week. And that’s okay. I’m still pretty functional with that much sleep, but I do feel a lot better when I get a few 8 hour nights in a row. And when the dark winter months come around I feel like I could sleep about 12 hours a day. But that’s just my physical adjustment to the time changes and missing daylight hours!
I’m often jealous of my girls who do sleep 10 or 11 hours a night. Or could, if they’d turn the light out and go to sleep. (Emma!) When it comes down to it, though, I’m so glad that they can sleep the amount that they do. It’s been proven that children need significantly more sleep than adults to support growth and brain development. In fact, children who get even just a few more minutes of sleep every night are more likely to get higher grades in Math and English classes. I’m grateful that they can fall asleep pretty easily and get the healthy rest that their bodies need.
Adults need less sleep, but it’s still crucial to our health. Restorative sleep can lower our chances of disease, stress, and anxiety. And, although I’d prefer to get an extra hour in, I fall right in the recommended amount of time to sleep. I make do with the sleep I can carve out for myself. Life is about learning every day, and I’m still learning the best way to make my schedule work for me!
Would you share your bedtime routine, or tips for getting to bed on time? I’d love to read them. And anything you do that you know keeps you up at night – I’d enjoy those stories too!