I know these are very anxious, scary times. I am not going to sit here and tell you I’m sleeping great during this global pandemic. I usually have insomnia at least once every week or two. Something will wake me up (kids.. hubby… dog… urge to go use the bathroom… last night it was hubby tossing & turning at 4 AM), and then I’ll be wide awake for an hour or more, my brain just taking off into a weird let’s-think-of-random-crap mode. Or it kicks into worrying overdrive, and I think of every bad thing that could possibly happen.
Does anyone else experience this? Usually makes for a pretty crummy following day or two.
These two make sleeping look easy…
However, I find that if I get a good night’s sleep, my mood is 100x better, and I have a much brighter perspective that day at work. (See also: my Work from Home essentials)
My friends (and family) like to say I’m very sensitive to a bad night’s sleep, but I don’t see how this is exclusive to me—isn’t everyone grumpy when they don’t sleep well? You just feel “off” or “blah” or whatever? Or is it just me? I am keenly aware I am a sensitive person, so I am not trying to say this isn’t true 🙂 I was reading the Whoop blog today, and even Rory McIlroy (world’s top golfer) says “Who doesn’t like sleeping?”
Anyway… I like to make every day a great one, full of fun, taking care of my family, and getting $hit done, and that starts with a sound night’s sleep.
As a health coach, morning runner, busy person, formerly-sleep-deprived mom, and lover of sleep, these are my top tips:
- Cool, dark, quiet room. Cool because it helps your body produce melatonin (the sleep hormone), among other benefits. And of course, dark and quiet so that you don’t get woken up! For me, that means phone face down, on Do Not Disturb mode, with the curtains/shades down. Have a noisy, snoring partner? Wear earplugs. Can’t get the room dark enough? Wear a mask. Can’t get the room cool enough? Use a fan. Open your window a little. Bonus: this will lower your heating/cooling bill!
- Weighted blanket. We got this one from Amazon and it’s been amazing for deep sleep (and does feel like a big snuggly hug, which definitely reduces anxiety for me!)
- Lavender essential oil. I don’t do this often now, but do find it has some soporific benefits (how’s that for an SAT word?) Used with my kids very often when they were smaller. Plus, it just smells lovely!
- Outdoor exercise daily. I started my run streak back up again, mainly for the stress-reducing endorphins that I gain from running. Another benefit of outdoor, daily exercise, is the ability to fall asleep faster, and stay asleep. My advice is to find something you enjoy, be it walking, running, biking, dancing, gardening, lifting weights on your porch, doing aerobics in your backyard, playing basketball with your kids, throwing a football with your spouse, whatever it is. But do it daily, even if just ten minutes, and try to do it outside. I find I always feel better after exercising outside, even if it’s rainy, cold, snowy, hot, etc. The fresh air and sunshine (hopefully) definitely have healing powers. Even if it’s just a few minutes… DO IT!
- Do something relaxing in the hour before bed. Some people call this winding down, or vegging out, but there’s a real benefit to going through the same relaxing routine each night. Your actions are signaling to your body that it’s time to rest. Don’t do something strenuous right before bed! Take some time and do something you enjoy, preferably not on a screen. I like to read a good book, and/or take a hot shower. Anything to remind your brain and body that sleep is coming, and start to power down a bit. Things I do NOT do before bed, if I can help it: Get on Facebook and/or watch the news. These are not conducive to a quiet brain for me!
- Air purifier. One of the most miserable things I can think of is not being able to sleep due to sneezing, coughing, or a stuffy nose. I bought this air purifier after reading about it in Time Magazine’s best inventions of 2017, and thought it could help my husband’s snoring. I also knew, from my health coaching classes, that most people focus on nutrition and exercise as their markers of good health, but forget about air quality! Our bodies need fresh air, so air quality is of the utmost importance. When I thought about how many invisible things are probably floating around my house… chemicals from carpet, paint, or cleaning supplies, plus pollen, dust, bacteria, pet hair, etc… then I REALLY wanted to order the Molekule. I hope to write a review on it someday, but I have recommended it to so many friends/family, and they have loved theirs too! We haven’t regretted it once, and actually bought a second one for our kids’ room upstairs.
- Meditation. OK, I admit that I have not been meditating. I don’t know why… it should not be hard to find 3-5 minutes every day to meditate! I signed up for a Headspace membership and paid for a full year, so I really should use it. I used it last year for several months and found that it dramatically helped my ability to focus, and relax. If you find your mind racing, meditation can be the key to calming it down!
For more tips and awesome ideas from other great sleepers, see this post on this topic.
Do you have any great sleeping tips? Share below.
Sleep GOALS like Asher, who wakes up rarin’ to go nearly every day before 6!