Monday, September 14, 2015

How to Get Better Sleep

This is a follow-up of sorts to my earlier post about getting up in the morning. I guess if I were to post these in order this should have come first, but whatever. You're reading it now so it still counts!

Especially late in pregnancy, it's hard to sleep at night. Like, HARD. So many people told me before Celine was born "Get tons of sleep while you can!" but I ended up with a decent sleeper and I got way more sleep, even when I was nursing at night, than when I was in my last couple of months pre-baby. Granted, that will most likely be different this time around having Celine to wrangle, so I'm doing my best to be prepared.

This, of course, means lots of Pinterest searches. Here are a few of the tips that are tried and true by yours truly, pregnancy and all:

1. Make your bed in the morning - It's a good habit to build anyways, but how great does it feel to peel back crisp, smooth, cool covers to snuggle into at night? It's a little touch in the morning that feels soon good when you're ready to hit the hay. Bonus points for sheets that are freshly laundered!

2. Quit the caffeine... after noon - I would never advise you to give it up in the morning. I'm not that mean. However, caffeine stays in your bloodstream for HOURS, and can still be coursing through your veins when your body is ready to start winding down. Give your body the rest it needs and see if you can find another afternoon pick-me-up (future post idea??).

3. Try not to nap - This is pretty much impossible for me right now (I'll fall asleep anywhere if I'm tired enough), but this could be your body's cry for rest. Answering that call is great, but you'll become more dependent on them as your body adjusts to a schedule with a long nap during the day and a shorter nights sleep in bed. New parents are an exception to this one.

4. Don't go to bed on a full stomach - Going to bed shortly after a huge meal can make you feel uncomfortable and bloated, let alone the possibility of indigestion, acid reflux, and poor "food processing" (for lack of better terms) by your body that should be laying down and resting, but instead is fighting the weird angle and working on your food. Kind of a gross thing to think about it, but it's real, guys.

5. Wind yourself down - Just like little kiddos need a bedtime routine to help them prepare for bedtime, adults benefit from giving your body little cues that it's almost time to power down for the night. Dim the lights, turn on a sound machine or fan, put on comfy jammies, use some soothing/aromatic lotion (I have mine from our local salon & day spa and its AMAZING). Keep up with the routine and you'll feel the results in no time.

6. Stretch it out - Stretching helps get that last bit of energy out, while at the same time relaxing any stiffness that might make you uncomfortable as the night goes on. Why do you think people always yawn with their whole bodies or stretch after a nap? Because it feels good, yo.

7. Avoid electronics - I mentioned this in the morning post as well. Your body needs a chance to adjust to the change in the time of day, and the light from electronics can trick your brain into thinking it's not actually bedtime. Let the lack of sunshine do the work. TV, tablets, computers, and phones have tons of stimuli on them with all of the games, apps, social networking, emails, etc. that can just get your mind fired up, proving to be more of a hinderance than a help when you're needing to wind down.

8. Read something, preferably on paper - Kindles are all the rage, but they're still electronic. I stay away from electronics before bed, but if you want to make this an exception, be my guest. Reading has almost always put me to sleep (sorry my former college professors), and it still helps me decompress after a long day. Audiobooks are a great alternative to paper pages, and they double as canceling any extra noise (or stark silence, which bothers hubby). Words from the wise (not me): you should probably try and avoid super gripping suspenseful novels that you wouldn't be able to put down (*cough cough, Hunger Games*) because they might end up just keeping you up all hours of the night to hear what happens.

What do you do to get a good night's sleep? Anything I'm missing from the list? I love to hear your questions and thoughts!

2 comments:

  1. Finding you through CWBN. I am glad to see you mention the electronics! The lightwaves actually effect the melatonin in our systems and can really have an effect on us. I do however take issue with the no napping... over tired can make it hard to sleep too, you just have to be careful of how long you sleep. Naps shorter than 20 minutes and done before 3pm should not influence your nighttime sleep at all. They are my saving grace after tough nights with the kids. Another point is exercise. Exercising during the day is great for sleep health, but not before bed. Timing is everything. Great list thanks!

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  2. Thanks for the comment, Dr Mom! And thank you for your input... I was referencing much longer naps (I need to take 2-3 hr ones at this point in my pregnancy!) but that's really good to know going forward. I'm glad you mentioned the exercise during the day; I can't believe I left it off the list! :)

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