.......without spending more time in bed or hiring a night nanny!
If you’re anything like me you haven’t had to set an alarm clock for a while.
Your child is your alarm clock and apparently they're very often in a different time zone.
Sometimes it could literally be the middle of the night and I’m on the third rendition of Superworm, or (my latest favourite) getting physically dragged out of bed.
Ring a bell?
It’s not easy.
Sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your mental and physical health. Your body works its magic whilst you sleep - rejuvenating cells, supporting brain function, maintaining your health and building muscle.
It can be a complete game changer for how you feel day-to-day and an essential part of your recovery from any training program.
Your sleep is where you get stronger.
So how do we get more when we can't get more?
Whilst you might not be able to control how long you are in bed for, you do have a some control over how much sleep you're getting during the time you're in bed (uninterrupted), and the quality of that sleep.
It all comes down to SLEEP HYGIENE.
Sleep hygiene means having a bedroom environment and daily routine that promotes consistent, uninterrupted sleep. The aim is to spend as much of your in-bed time as possible in a deep, restful, rejuvenating sleep.
We are all about efficiency over at Strong Mums Club so here’s a few easy to implement, sleep hygiene tips to help you relax into a restful sleep….
Turn off your technology - Unless it’s absolutely necessary, put your phone/laptop/iPad down (ideally in a different room) at least an hour before bed and resist the temptation to pick it back up. Looking at a screen damages your ability to sleep on a number of levels. Firstly, it can leave your mind wired and restless if you don't give it adequate time to switch off and secondly, your phone emits blue light which affects your sleep on a hormonal level. Blue light impacts your ability to produce the hormone melatonin which is a key player in managing your circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle).
Have a caffeine cut off - Coffee, tea, soft drinks and chocolate all contain caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant and whilst everyone responds differently to it, many of us need it out of you system before bed. Your individual cut off time will vary depending on how your body deals with caffeine but the Sleep Foundation recommends at least six hours. I generally stop around midday as this also has the benefit of ensuring I drink more water during the day.
Meditate - Meditation before bed is by far the quickest I have ever fallen asleep and is incredible at quietening the mind and calming the nervous system. I've written a separate post - Meditation For Mums here.
Gratitude - Making a list (mental or written) of things that you feel grateful for that day puts you in a good headspace to fall asleep, you’re more positive and relaxed and as such spend less time toss and turning.
Write a to-do list - On the flip side, if there's something on your mind or you're worrying about the next day, get it out of your head. Writing a to-do list or journalling for a few minutes can help you go to bed with a clearer head, paving the way for quicker, deeper sleep as you’re not going over everything in your mind.
Environment - Making you bedroom a relaxing space will help towards optimal sleep. Uncluttered, minimal and dimly lit is the best way to help you switch off as you're preparing to go to bed.
Still tired after all this?
You may not have the benefit of a lie-in nowadays but you can probably get to bed earlier. Yes, it might shorten your evening but in a world where we need all the rest we can get, the impact on the next day (of even just another 30 minutes) could be huge.
It's all about setting yourself up for a positive, energised and happy next day.