This post is about better sleep habits.
When I was a young, carefree young adult living rent-free in my parent’s home, I loved to sleep in. On Saturdays, I could easily sleep in till 12noon. My mom would often ask me, “Are you sure you’re ok? How can you sleep for 12 hours straight!” 😂
Well, I loved my sleep and appreciated it even more because I was in a boarding school in my early teens that required us to be awake at around 6 am. It was grueling, to say the least.
Fast-forward…. So here I am, in my 30’s and finding out that I am somewhat sleep-deprived. I now wake up at 6 am (mommy, I hope you are proud of me!) …. but I don’t wake up of my own volition. Often, it’s my two-year-old who walks into my side of the bed and nudges me to get up….at 6 am. Sigh!
Ready for a study and some stats? Here goes…
Statistics on sleep pattern disruption in parents.
What if I told you that if you have a child under the age of 6…then you are most likely sleep-deprived too? Well, don’t shoot (me) the messenger, my friends!
Here’s the scoop…
A study was conducted in Germany to evaluate sleep satisfaction and sleep duration for parents. The observation was from 2008–2015.
The following are 3 areas in sleep was evaluated:
- Postpartum period of up to 6 years after birth.
The study’s conclusion found that parents didn’t recover good quality sleep until the child was in first grade or 6 years of age. And it’s also no surprise that moms do get less sleep than dads. (mom’s I wasn’t going to let dad’s off the hook that easy…ok!)
Also, the study states,
“This is especially true for first-time mothers, for whom childbirth is presumably the most significantly sleep-altering life event during their adulthood.”
You can read more in the study to see more details about other factors affecting sleep quality.
7 TIPS ON BETTER SLEEP HABITS
Ok, so here are some tips that are practical and easy to adopt. And no, I will not tell you, “sleep when the baby sleeps.” (insert laughs).
1. Blue light is not your friend but your foe!
Blue light is emitted from electronic devices, and let me tell you, it totally disrupts your circadian rhythm and ends up totally messing up your body’s timekeeping mechanisms. Over a long period of time, circadian rhythm dysregulation affects sleep quality and may have long-term health consequences!
So I have a solution- the easy way or the hard way. 😀
Let’s start with the hard way– don’t touch your devices and don’t even dare peek on Facebook once you are in bed. Don’t get onto the laptop and type that deadline email or that client proposal.
Ok, now the easy way– get a blue light filter app!!! I use F.lux, a free app that adjusts the screen color to a nice amber color when the sun goes down. It uses your location/zip to adjust the screen automatically. I must say, it makes the screen soft on the eyes at night time. This was a total lifesaver when I was stuck doing 30-page papers in graduate school at night a few months ago.
The second easy way– get blue light glasses. I purchased my glasses from zenni optics, and they give you recommendations based on your prescription.
It’s also important to note that increased device usage may have caused more sleep disturbances after the lockdown, per this study conducted in Italy.
2. Keep a relaxing routine or consistent schedule.
Ok, this is totally something I am working on. My kids are on a schedule, but I am not. Sometimes I find myself at my desk typing up a blog post or just watching HomeGoods hauls on YouTube (my absolute guilty pleasure). But I am trying to be mindful of this, so I am improving.
One thing that I have down-packed is my own nighttime bath routine. I sometimes even get into the tub and get a relaxing Epsom salt bath. So I am linking my favorite bulk Epsom salt bath from amazon here on this link. Guys, this has been my go-to for the past 10 years. 20lbs of pure bliss. It lasts me 6months- 1year depending on my frequency of use.
3. Avoid coffee later in the PM.
There were phases in my life when I consumed copious amounts of caffeine, which crushed my adrenals. So I am sooo cautious about excessive caffeine intake.
A good rule of thumb is to avoid coffee from the afternoon through nighttime because this stimulant tends to interfere with people’s sleep cycles.
Trick your mind by drinking a relaxing herbal tea if you’re into that kind of stuff.
However, note that fluids, in general, can keep you up at night to make frequent trips to the bathroom, so be mindful of late-night beverages in general.
4. Don’t exercise before bed.
Yes, you read it right! Exercising before bed can affect your sleep quality! So don’t jump on the treadmill right before bed and expect to be sleepy and tired. It might just do quite the opposite and make you all wired up.
This study suggests finishing your exercise 4 hours before bedtime, so it doesn’t interrupt your sleep.
5. Declutter your bedroom.
Messy rooms can affect sleep quality.
A 2015 study showed that people with cluttered, non-functional and uncomfortable rooms had trouble going to bed and dozed off through the day.
6. Share Nighttime Duties.
If you have help around, try sharing nighttime duties. Sometimes nighttime responsibilities can be a bit chaotic with multiple kiddos in the house. However, if you share the responsibilities, it can be less stressful.
7. Write in your gratitude journal.
Yes! When we journal about positive stuff, what happens? Our neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine say a big THANK YOU to you.
Researchers have found that there is a correlation between gratitude journaling at night and better sleep!
And that’s it, folks, 7 tips to better sleep habits!
I still have more tips in my toolbox; I will share another post more geared to parents of newborns.
I hope that this post has provided insight on how you can better improve your sleep habits!
Thanks for stopping by, if you would like, read the previous post and see you on the next post!