I lay awake most nights these days. I could write my tired, puffy, red eyes with their often glazed over stare on having an almost 10 month old who’s teething. The truth is however that Penny really isn’t the whole story. Of course there are nights (sometimes in succession) that teething will cause her to be restless and need cuddles or a growth spurt will increase the need for food, but in all honestly I have a baby who adores to sleep. She has done from day one when we used to have to set alarms to wake and feed her. The mere use of the words “Penny sleeps almost perfectly most nights” makes me feel a pang of guilt when I even think them let alone speak them in response to the dreaded ‘so.. How is she sleeping?’ question often asked by other mums.
1. Keep regular hours
Going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time every day will programme your body to sleep better. Choose a time when you’re most likely to feel sleepy. – Note: HAHAHAHAHA I wish this was possible. I do try my best but my sleep is dictated by other people 😦 Little, noisy, needy people….
2. Create a restful sleeping environment
Your bedroom should be kept for rest and sleep. Keep it as quiet and dark as possible. It should be neither too hot nor too cold. Temperature, lighting and noise should be controlled so that the bedroom environment helps you to fall (and stay) asleep.- This one I do actually do, mostly due to Penny still sharing our bedroom. We try to limit TV in there and only use it for sleeping and getting dressed.
3. Make sure that your bed is comfortable
It’s difficult to get restful sleep on a mattress that’s too soft or too hard, or a bed that’s too small or old. If you have a pet that sleeps in the room with you, consider moving it somewhere else if it often makes noise in the night. – I love my bed. I love my pillows, duvet and positioning of it. My mattress is only a year old and super comfy. Not sure what more I can do here.
4. Exercise regularly
Moderate exercise on a regular basis, such as swimming or walking, can help relieve some of the tension built up over the day. Make sure that you don’t do vigorous exercise too close to bedtime, however, as it may keep you awake. – Ok, I’m guilty of not getting enough regular exercise. I do notice that if I have had a busy walking day that I don’t sleep well that night at all though 😦
5. Less caffeine
Cut down on stimulants such as caffeine in tea or coffee, especially in the evening. They interfere with the process of falling asleep, and they prevent deep sleep. The effects of caffeine can last a long time (up to 24 hours), so the chances of it affecting sleep are significant. Instead, have a warm, milky drink or herbal tea. – I have a caffeine free diet most of the time. If I do have any, then it is in the morning in order to perk myself up to face the day. Sometimes getting caffeine free drinks on the go is a challenge, but when I am at home I am pretty firm about it.
6. Don’t over-indulge
Too much food or alcohol, especially late at night, can interrupt your sleep patterns. Alcohol may help you to fall asleep initially, but it will disrupt your sleep later on in the night. I don’t drink alcohol as a rule. It’s never really had much effect on me, so tend to not bother, but I am guilty of finding it hard to sleep when hungry. I can’t eat huge amounts in one go due to a previous gastric bypass, so toast is my go to food these days .
7. Don’t smoke
It’s bad for sleep. Smokers take longer to fall asleep, they wake up more frequently, and they often have more disrupted sleep.- Never have, never would. We are a smoke free household. 🙂
8. Try to relax before going to bed
Have a warm bath, listen to quiet music or do some gentle yoga to relax the mind and body. Your doctor may be able to recommend a helpful relaxation CD. I’ll be honest, I need to try to do more of this stuff. Music doesn’t work for me, but I will try the baths. 🙂
9. Write away your worries
Deal with worries or a heavy workload by making lists of things to be tackled the next day. If you tend to lie in bed thinking about tomorrow’s tasks, set aside time before bedtime to review the day and make plans for the next day. The goal is to avoid doing these things when you’re in bed, trying to sleep.- I am a bed worrier. I tend to be so busy during the day that I can ignore stuff I don’t want to face. I do write lists, but some things can’t be dealt with in this way. If I have lots of things to do the next day then I find sleep impossible.
10. Don’t worry in bed
If you can’t sleep, don’t lie there worrying about it. Get up and do something you find relaxing until you feel sleepy again, then return to bed. I don’t think that I could actually tell you what I find relaxing. It’s been THAT long since I felt relaxed that I couldn’t actually tell you.