When I was younger I was a bit narcoleptic so sleep has never been a worry. I would enjoy napping daily, sleeping in, and going to bed early. I could also impressively nod out while stuck in traffic or while standing in line. I was a champion sleeper and bedtime was my favorite time. Now, sleeping multiple times a day seems like a distant memory and I feel I might have taken that time for granted. I wish I could go back to those beautiful three hour naps and tell myself to really take it in. Enjoy it, don't rush getting up. Don't set an alarm. Just sleep because in the future your walking baby will wake you up early and prevent you from napping. What I would give for a long nap.
Months ago, I had coffee with a friend and I recall her telling me about the ten month tipping point. It was a period where her exhaustion set in and sleep could no longer be put off. At the time, I just thought this friend probably was pushing herself too hard and must have been nutritionally depleted. I didn't understand what tired meant. I asked a few other moms and everyone agrees that 10 is the magic month where lack of sleep catches up. Now ten months in, I can hear the echos of that conversation and the whispers of my friend saying, "I told you so." The struggle is real.
Coincidentally I just heard a podcast that talked about sleep. In addition to staying up too late and waking up early, I have been doing a few things wrong in regard to rest.
Here are some ways to improve your sleep:
- Don't use a screen before bed. The light in cell phones or tablets might decrease your body's natural ability to release melatonin. Reading is a better option and will help with relaxation instead of stimulation.
- Clean your face/brush your teeth. This is essential for me. If I go to sleep without doing either of these, my sleep is interrupted due to discomfort.
- Don't consume sugar or caffeine before bed. The older you get, the more affected you are by what you consume.
- Try to stick to a schedule. I am learning the importance of scheduling bedtime with Wallace and it turns out this is important at all life stages. Try to get to bed before 10 PM every night.
- Limit artificial lighting after the sun goes down and opt for candles instead.
- Wear lose clothing or sleep naked. Comfort is crucial.
- Think positive. Don't lay down with a negative summary of the day. Try to clean the slate and mediate on positive thoughts.
- Don't sleep with your cell phone near your bed. I am guilty of checking my phone in the middle of the night but when I leave my phone in the other room, I sleep better.
- Keep bedroom environment cool
I would now like to apologize to my body for thinking it was okay to stay up late working while I was already sleep deprived.
Body, I love you. I am sorry that I didn't realize you were in dire need of sleep. I promise, as soon as you aren't nursing anymore, we are getting out of town and sleeping for an entire weekend. Just you, me and a hotel bed.