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The Struggle is Real
Sleep is something almost all of us Moms struggle with big-time. We don’t sleep enough. And when we do sleep, we’re often not getting the best quality sleep.
Sometimes, if a little cutie needs us, it’s out of our control. But other times there are things we can do.
In this article, I’m going to share some of the things that have worked best for me.
When your sleep suffers, every part of your life suffers. After reading this blog post, if your sleep improves by only 5% or 10%, imagine the impact on your life. You’ll feel 5 or 10% better. That’s huge, given how tired you may be feeling.
A Bad Example
Yesterday I had a day.
Most people in my household were in a very very bad mood. I stayed mostly calm throughout the whole day, but by 9:30 I was fit to be tied.
I was so frustrated and cranky.
So I did the number #1 thing I know I shouldn’t do. I turned on my phone, for the first time that day (I do screen-free Saturdays), and looked at social media.
It was nice. It calmed me down….a bit. It was finally something fun after a hard day.
But I was on my phone way longer than I’d intended.
Then during the night, I slept horribly.
I kept waking up. Sometimes for a long time. Other times I fell right back asleep. But it was a light sleep. It wasn’t the sleep I needed.
The next morning, as you can guess, I was tired and NOT happy.
I felt physically ill. You know that awful feeling when you feel sick because you’re so short on sleep?
Uch. It feels awful. I’m sure you know this feeling because you probably feel it all the time.
In this instance, there was a lot I could have done to have a better quality sleep. Let’ talk about it.
Tip#1: Calm Down Before Bed
My first mistake was in not truly calming down before I went to bed.
Sure, I could have told myself that my bedtime was 10:00pm and I didn’t have time to calm down, but I spent that time on my phone, so that would have been a lie.
But imagine if I had done things to calm down.
Some things I could have done would have been
- Bedtime yoga
- Listening to soothing music
- Taking a bath or shower
- Reading a book
Going on my phone was perhaps not the best thing I could have chosen.
See how powerful our choices are?
If you need help with learning how to calm down before bed, I have a whole episode on creating a bedtime self-care kit. It shows you not only how to create a kit, but how to set up your space so you feel relaxed and ready for sleep. Even if your room is a mess. Trust me. It’s a great episode. Go give it a listen if you want more tips to help you calm down before bed.
Tip #2: Stop the Monkey Chatter
There’s a quote that says
“My bed is a magical place where I suddenly remember everything I forgot to do.”
So true, right?
I think this is the biggest issue for us Moms.
We finally go to sleep and our minds go NUTS!
Or we fall asleep quickly and we wake up in the middle of the night and we can’t stop thinking.
Or both these things happen to us!
Our minds won’t let us rest.
For me, this is my biggest issue for getting sleep.
After a stressful day, I wake up and it’s hard for me to fall back asleep.
Here are things I recommend to help you with this:
The Power of Suggestion
First: I tell myself that I’m sleepy. I literally remind myself I’m tired. Because when you wake up and you feel WIDE awake, you don’t feel tired. Reminding myself that I’m tired actually makes me feel tired. Isn’t the power of suggestion so powerful? Especially when you’re half asleep. Wow. That’s awesome and also kinda scary.
Interrupt the Chatter
Next: I repeat something to myself over and over again, like a mantra. This interrupts the chatter and the thoughts going through my mind.
For example, I’ll say “You’re really tired. And everything is okay.”
The mantra can change, depending on my day and what I’m thinking. But essentially you’re telling your mind that you don’t need to be awake. You give yourself permission to sleep.
Listen to a sleep meditation
I have a hysterical quote for you from the book “Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to a Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success” by Shawn Stevenson. He writes
“The most important takeaway is that the only side effect associated with mediation is a better quality of life.”
Do you love that or what?
There’s a podcast I love that’s just sleep meditations. It’s called the Grounded Sleep Podcast with David Gandelman. Highly recommended!!
There are also free sleep meditations on youTube and apps such as Calm and Insight timer.
Tip #3: Small Things that Make a BIG Impact
There are lots of little things you can do that can make a big impact on your sleep.
Don’t think you have to change everything, all at once! So here are my favorite tips:
I actually heard this advice on a podcast and thought — what do I have to lose? I bought a beautiful mask off of Etsy. It’s such a simple thing and it really does help.
I feel that it darkens the room and it helps with the quality of my sleep. So simple and so effective.
My mask I bought off etsy is very elegant, too. So I feel awesome using it, not dorky at all.
I even bought one for my husband (not an elegant one) and he really likes it, too. 🙂
Essential oils are so lovely for helping you get a better quality sleep. I find I have to change them out every so often. If I use the same ones night after night, they seem to be less effective.
The biggest impediment to doing essential oils is loading that diffuser! I like to clean mine every time before I use it and most times if I’m not diffusing, it’s because I didn’t feel like cleaning it.
My suggestion – the earlier in the evening you prepare your diffuser the better, so learn from my mistakes and get it ready as early as you can so it’s ready to go when you’re exhausted and ready for sleep.
Here are some of my favorite oils for sleep:
- Lavender (of course)
- Vetiver (grounding)
- Thyme…helps with snoring
- Breathe (a doTerra blend)
Another tip is to use a sound machine. We do this for my elementary-aged daughter and it makes all the difference for her. I’m not sure why I’ve never tried this for myself. Hmmmmmm.
The topic of sleep is a big one and we’ve barely scratched the surface. I hope you can implement some of these suggestions pretty easily — even if it’s just buying a sleep mask, and see if it helps you feel more rested.
But if you have some extra time, there’s a book that I LOVE that I highly recommend to you. It’s by Shawn Stevenson and it’s called Sleep Smarter.”Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to a Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success” by Shawn Stevenson.
It’s seriously the best book I’ve read on sleep.
It’s full of research and it goes much deeper than you can go in a podcast.
Get Some Sleep
Hope you found at least one suggestion that you can implement TONIGHT!! Wishing you a wonderful night’s sleep 🙂