Sleep like a baby? I wish! Since becoming a mom, one thing that I have noticed is that I need less sleep, but when I do sleep, it’s not really “good” sleep. I’m sure it has something to do with keeping one ear open listening for the kids and that my mind can never seem to shut down completely since there’s not enough time in the day anymore. I just read an article that said as you get older, your sleep patterns change which makes it harder to fall asleep . . . and to stay asleep. I was interested enough in the article that I did some digging around, and here are some ways that I found that can help improve your sleep.
I rolled my eyes at this one because I’m too tired to exercise! But studies show that exercise can help decrease your stress hormones which in the long run can help your body relax faster and fall asleep easier.
In fact, a study led by Dr. Scott Collier showed that people who got 30 minutes or moderate exercise in the morning “significantly improved the quality of their sleep . . . spending 75% more time in deep sleep.”
Cut Out Caffeine
I don’t mean forever, just later in the day! Caffeine is a stimulant, and can stay in your system for up to 7 hours. So if you have a cup of coffee before bed, you may be setting yourself up for automatic sleep failure.
But it’s not just coffee â€” there can also be caffeine is tea, sodas, and chocolate. So if your late-night-after-the-kids-go-to-bed-treat is chocolate, you might want to try to have just a piece or two of chocolate (Hershey Kisses, anyone?) instead of an entire candy bar.
Be Mindful of Dinner Time
I used to always roll my eyes when my husband would complain that 6:30 was too late for him to eat dinner. He gets up very early in the morning, which means he’s normally in bed by about 9 PM. But your body needs between 2-3 hours to fully digest a meal, which explains why he thought that 6:30 was too late! Since his body was still working on digesting the food, it had a hard time relaxing and winding down.
But since eating earlier, he got hungry before bed. I tell you, I can’t please the man! Instead of snacking, it’s better to eat a healthy snack (a bit of hummus and some veggies or peanut butter on whole wheat bread). The protein will help produce chemicals important for sleep.
Relax . . .Â
One thing that was stressed in many of the articles I read was the importance of allowing your body and mind time to wind down. Taking a hot shower before bed actually helps raise your body temperature which in turn increases muscle relaxation. Have a wind-down routine, which could be as simple as turning off the TV, getting under the covers and just breathing and stretching. Listen to some soothing music. Go over the day in your head to acknowledge all you accomplished. Whatever you do, just help yourself reeelllaaaxxxx . . .
What do you do to help yourself sleep better?
Photo Source: Catherine Scott