Why not mix it up with a practical post? Remember when you were younger and you would fight to stay up late? It was so BORING to take a nap! A form of torture designed up by parents. “I’m not sleeping. I’m just resting my eyes.” Now, that I’m older, I would love to have the chance to nap again! I tend to be a night owl. I don’t know, there’s something about summer that makes me want to stay up all night, too. Maybe it’s the longer amount of sunshine that keeps me going? All I know is when the winter cold hits, I run to my blankets to fall asleep.
Regardless of whether you are a night owl or an early bird, no matter what season you are in, it’s important to get enough sleep so you can have a productive and successful day. Did you know that, an estimated, 83.6 million adults in the U.S. are sleep deprived? That’s a whole lot of people.
What happens when you are sleep deprived? You make bad decisions, your fuse is a lot shorter (GRRR), you’re not as efficient as you want to be, and your reaction time is not as sharp (that’s not good . When you start to get sluggish, your creativity slugs around too. NO FUN! We all have been there at one point or another.
What can you do during the day to set yourself up for a better night?
For starters, cut off your caffeine intake. I know we say “America runs on Dunkin,” but we also run on Starbucks, k-cups, coffee from the deli… we love our coffee beans! It’s okay, love them but don’t entertain coffee in the afternoon! Gosh, I think I’m preaching to myself. You are more likely to wake up in the middle of the night when you drink your cup of jitters in the afternoon and/or dinnertime.
Also, if you can, do something that keeps you active during the day. Exercising is important for your health and it helps with falling asleep quicker. How nice is it when your head hits the pillow and you fall fast asleep? I’ll take it. Exercising doesn’t mean you have to be on a treadmill at the gym everyday either. If that works for you though, do it! It can be walking your dog, running after your children at the park, lifting a few weights at home, or buzzing through a yoga session on YouTube. Exercising can help in decreasing anxiety and depression.
We plan our days. Why not plan our nights?
Now, hear me out. Most people don’t want to plan out their nights, but we spend time planning our whole day and work schedules! Why? To get the most out of our day. Usually we are running around and, by the time we get home, we don’t want to be on a timetable. I get it. Now, I’m not suggesting you draft up an hour by hour breakdown of your planned night but I think there is something to at least thinking about it. Decide on three things you want to accomplish before you go to bed. For example: help the kids with their homework, get them fed and washed up. Do the laundry, mop the kitchen floors, and clean the kitty litter. Go for a run, make that important phone call, and watch your favorite TV show. These are just a few examples. Focus on the important things you want to tie up and give yourself some peace of mind. If you don’t finish them, don’t beat yourself up over it either. Tomorrow is another day.
So what about those last few hours before you hit the hay?
Snacker, are you? Just make sure you finish eating 3-4 hours before bedtime. Sleeping on a heavy stomach isn’t the best decision. Ever have ice-cream before bed? Ugh. I won’t ever do that again. ‘Nuff said.
Put the remote down before you hurt yourself. Netflix will ask you, “Are You Still Watching?” I know you so badly want to press that small little button… “Yes! Yes, of course I want to finish watching! I need to know what happens!” Don’t get sucked into the endless pit of drama, romance and action. Next time you have that moment, use your willpower lady! Your best friends can wait till tomorrow too! 😉
Allow yourself to have a self-care routine. Wash your face. Take out your contacts. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy but if you want, on a face mask on if you can. Blow out your hair so you don’t have to do it in the morning. Take time to paint your nails (just don’t do it right before hopping into bed [#sheetimprints]). I encounter A LOT of hard-working women. They go from early to the morning till late at night, constantly. If anyone deserves a little self-care, it’s them- it’s you! Allowing yourself to breathe a little and doing something just for you is important. When you feel put together, you act put together and set yourself up for the next day.
There have been countless nights that I have fallen asleep with my phone on my face. Scrolling through, hm, let’s see, Instagram, Pinterest, Bible App, YouTube just to fall asleep… Cut the electronics out at least 30 minutes before you get in bed. Stop trolling the internet and seeing what your ex-bae is up to (they ain’t worth it)! Give yourself time to wind down your brain and rest your eyes. Electronics before bed mess with your REM sleep cycle. Dat ain’t coo’ and won’t help you in the morning. Maybe read a good book instead? Stop “hearting” all those photos and “heart” yourself by resting.
Got Something on Your Mind?
If we’re being honest, beyond bad dietary decisions and the choices we make that keep us up late, sometimes it’s the worries of the day that keep our minds from resting.
Try journaling. Just dump everything that is heavy on your heart onto a piece of paper. Sometimes, that blank page can be intimidating. I usually ask myself, “where do I start?” The hardest part is starting. Just write one sentence down, then the rest will come. I find, when I’m finished, I wrote things down that I wasn’t even aware of. Emotions that I didn’t know I was harboring. Or talk to someone you trust, who has your best interest in mind that you can be honest with.
If you feel like your peace is being robbed from you, make the conscious decision not to allow the enemy to win. Pick up your Bible, which is your weapon, and start reminding yourself of God’s promises. Look up scriptures (Google is a great thing) that you can lean on and repeat them to yourself. Take a deep breathe and know that God is in control.
Think about your sleep routine and one thing that you can possibly implement to rest easier at night. One small degree of improvement, is improvement! What do you guys do to have a good nights sleep?