Top tips to get a good night’s sleep
I’ve found that as I get older, and since I’ve had kids, I relish a good night’s sleep more and more. If I watch TV in the evening and see someone all cosy in bed, all I can think is “ooh, doesn’t that look lovely?”
So how do you go from wanting a good night’s sleep to actually getting it?
1) Get a good night’s sleep with kids
Let’s face it, children tend to disturb our sleep. It could be because they’re ill, have had a nightmare, are teething or just don’t want to sleep. In which case you need to find a way around the sleep disruption. So make a deal with your partner to take it in turns to parent.
Hubs and I alternate nights “on duty” and nights “off”. Every other night, when it’s my night off, I put earplugs in and I switch off, knowing I don’t need to listen out for our girls. (If you don’t have a partner, hats off to you as solo parenting is HARD! Maybe you have a friend/sister/mum who can come and stay or have the kids for a night every now and then to give you time off?)
2) Get a good night’s sleep despite noise
I hate it when noise disturbs my sleep, so I block it out (when I’m not “on duty”) with earplugs. They take some getting used to, but are well worth it.
3) Get a good night’s sleep despite light
This is only something I’ve struggled with since being back in the UK; in France pretty much every home has shutters, so you get to sleep in absolute darkness. As we are currently in a rental property we can’t change the light in our room, so I now sleep with an eye mask on. It’s not the best solution but it’s better than nothing.
4) Get moving to get a good night’s sleep
So many of us suffer from mental or emotional fatigue, and we can’t switch off from the stresses of work. One of the ways to get over some of these issues is to do some physical activity.
Getting fresh air whilst doing exercise is even better, but not always doable in the UK! It’s hard to fit sport in to our busy schedules, but I have noticed how much better I sleep at night if I have done 20 minutes of Yoga in the morning. It really doesn’t take much.
I was first motivated to get back into yoga after reading this blog post by Honest Mum, then Zaz from Mama – and More! started inspiring me on a daily basis with her amazing yoga poses on Instagram. Below she demonstrates Supta Badha Konasana, a reclining pose with your feet together and a block under your back. Do check out her blog (she has some great pre-bed yoga poses here) and Instagram feed for motivation and support.
5) Be dry and get a good night’s sleep
There’s nothing like a glass of wine after a hard day’s work, it helps you wind down, puts you in a good mood, can often be a sociable thing and it makes you nice and sleepy. BUT, and it’s a big but, alcoholic sleep is not good sleep, you are unlikely to wake up feeling rested if you’ve been drinking, and it’ll often make you wake up before morning.
This is probably the hardest factor for me – I lived in France for 12 years after all, and I love a glass of wine once the kids are in bed. But I know that even one glass is enough to disrupt my sleep. Sometimes I think sod it and crack open the Côtes du Rhone, other times I’m able to be more reasonable, it depends if I’ve got the Sophie Devil or the Sophie Angel whispering in my ear!
6) Get a good night’s sleep without caffeine
As I’m not a tea or coffee-drinker (I know, I’m weird like that) I’ve never had to consider the impact of caffeinated drinks on my sleep. Then recently I had a can of coke at around 4pm, which I don’t usually do, and that night I was absolutely buzzing, my brain was wired and ready to go. Since then I think very carefully before having a coke!
7) Bye-bye telly addict and get a good night’s sleep
You know how it feels. You’ve had a stressful day at work, you want to switch off your brain by losing yourself in some mindless TV. We all do it. And TV is strangely social, in that it’s a common conversation starter the next day.
Whilst it does feel great at the time, you’re not winding your brain down before bed, you’re getting it all over-stimulated which will make falling asleep harder.
In January I set myself the challenge of reading 52 books this year (blog post on that coming up). The aim being to get back into reading, which I have always loved, and to switch the TV and internet off a bit more. As I try and reach my target (I’m on book 44 at the moment) I’m spending more and more evenings curled up on the sofa, listening to some music, engrossed in a book. The pleasant side effect is that my brain winds down and not only do I fall asleep quickly, but I sleep well all night too.
8) Switch screens off for a good night’s sleep
With smartphones and tablets it’s so tempting to be online ALL the time. How many of us have an eye on the TV whilst we tweet or are on Facebook? I used to be the absolute worst for this. Then it would be time to go to bed and I wouldn’t be able to sleep.
I love the online world and I have met some incredible friends through blogging and social media, but I’m now beginning to draw a line. Being ON all the time was affecting my sleep, I wasn’t winding down the way I needed to. So now it’s rare to find me online after about 8pm. That is wind-down, chill-out, me time.
What can YOU do to get a good night’s sleep?
All of the above are solutions I have found that work for me, but it is hard to employ them all every day. I do watch TV in the evening sometimes. I do have a glass of wine with dinner. I don’t get fresh air or do any sport some days. But if I’m feeling tired or in need of a good night’s sleep I try to use as many of these tips as possible to ensure I get some decent rest.
What about you? What works for you? Have you got any other suggestions to share?