Ah, for some beautiful sleep. Curled up in bed with a warm blanket and just drifting into a land of comfort and sweet dreams.
“Dad…Mum? I can’t sleep.”
Oh. My. #@!* goodness. Me either, for some unknown reason. Oh that’s right, you woke me up! AGAIN.
Cue death stares and cranky pants…it was literally 3:58am when I sat down and started writing this. Because, you know, sleep is overrated anyway. My kids are excited. With a planned trip home to spend with family starting tomorrow morning (oh that’s right, THIS morning!), its been hard getting any decent sleep. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that Matt and I have been woken up about 15 times by our angelic 10 and 13 year olds tonight (er…last night?!). Oh, but they are considerate though, there’s no barging in or lights being turned on. No no, they are much more polite. (door creaks open slowly)…whispered voice…”Dad…Mum? I can’t sleep. What else could I try?”
“How about STAYING IN YOUR OWN BED AND LETTING US GET SOME SLEEP OURSELVES?! Count sheep, watch the ceiling, try reading. OR JUST STAY IN YOUR OWN BED!” Of course I didn’t say that. Maybe only once anyway.
Lying there awake after the last visitor decided to WAKE US UP AGAIN, we got chatting and ended up laughing ourselves silly as we discussed the kind of company we were going to be by about 4pm tomorrow afternoon. Matt made the suggestion that we should just get up and play a game of cards. I lay there considering this. Hmmm, could be an option, I’ve got some ideas in my brain I could jot down, plus I forgot to send that email earlier today and I could always vacuum (oh better not, might wake the angels again!). My brain is firing. Next to me in the dark, Matt’s doing the nearly asleep twitch. Abandoned at the post. Ah well, might as well get up. Bonus points too, I was so awake this time that as I walked into the en suite I made it through the door (last time I literally walked right into the wall, misreading the location of said door in the dark, possibly related to sleep deprivation)!
It got me thinking though. Life has been crazy lately and I have actually been sleeping pretty poorly. For me, this is usually a sign that some of my key “anchors” are missing. I’ve been regularly waking up at 3:30 and enjoying the scenery outside my window (pitch blackness with a hint of rain and sometimes swaying shadows if its windy). I’ve been restlessly observing Matts 3 minute change from awake breathing to asleep breathing and that funny sound he makes sometimes. It annoys me, so sometimes I admit I give him a gentle kick so he’ll roll over (as I silently think “serves you right for being asleep!). Oh dear. Did I really type that? LOL, must be tired.
I digress. The point is, I think quality sleep is less about the actual bedtime routine/sleep hygiene type things for me than it is about what else has happened in my day. Wondered if these few things might help you too. So here are my top tips for sleeping better at night:
I literally no nothing that will not only help me get to sleep but keep me asleep all night than a really good workout session- regularly. I find the sleep-inducing effects only really happen when I am doing this semi regularly (let’s be real I’m not a gym junkie alright!). It might be a cracking walk, a swim at the pool, working in the garden, something really active that makes my muscles a bit sore.
2. Getting up early and getting to bed early-ish
I’m sure ’they’ say the hours before midnight count more towards a decent nights sleep. That is certainly the case for me. My ideal is being in bed, lights out and going to sleep sometime around/just after 9:30pm and waking up at 5:30. I said ideal. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does I definitely feel more refreshed and like I have had a good long sleep. When I am in this routine, I also find I can easily do a couple of nights in the week up later and still maintain the early wake up too.
3. Quiet time
I love enjoying some quiet time with some inspirational writings and my journal: Starting the day before everyone else and enjoying a cup of tea and some time in my bible is something I really cherish. If you don’t have a bible, find some inspiring writings/quotes and journal a bit on those in the mornings. It’s just a nice way to start the day, focusing on something meaningful and having the house to myself (HA! I can do that at 3:58am too!). I incorporate prayer into this too and really notice I don’t have as much on my mind (at 9:30pm OR 3:58am!) when I have started the day centred on something other than myself.
4. Drinking enough water
This might sound odd, but I have really noticed that when I am properly hydrated throughout the day I am less likely to have that awful ‘post lunch slump.’ Getting through the day without feeling sluggish is awesome and really helps bring on sleep at bedtime too.
5. Eating dinner early
I have the weirdest dreams when I eat dinner too late. Honestly, the WEIRDEST. Plus I just don’t sleep well if my guts ae busy digesting. Makes sense- they need a rest too. If I eat early, I definitely sleep more soundly.
6. Reading a good book
Last but not least, for me a good book is like the perfect wind down. Who doesn’t love putting a book down, already half asleep and switching off the light ready to drift into that cocoon of comfort?!
What anchors do you put in place to ensure a good nights sleep? I think I need to take my own advice and get some of these working for me again. Its so easy to let these things slip up when things are busy. I have been doing a bit of travel between Australia and NZ time zones too and that makes it harder. Time to reinstate some sleep anchors (but not tomorrow unfortunately as I am travelling again!).
Typically, the house is now quiet and the boys are sound asleep. Perhaps I could quietly go in and stand by their beds and whisper “Hey kids…I can’t sleep, what else should I try?”