Sleep Hygiene is something that I’ve talked a lot about in life. Mellow Man might even say that I harp on it. I don’t mean to, but sleep is SO important. It is critical for so many aspects of health—physical health, mental health, parenting health. Unhealthy sleep habits affect mood, brain functioning, weight and your immune system. It’s critical for all of us. And here’s the reality. Moms are tired. Our sleep hygiene is crummy. I know, you are shocked, right? Like many other mommies out there, I am fueled by caffeine and faith. So the question is– what can we, as mothers, do to improve our sleep hygiene, and overall wellbeing? Well, there are a lot of options, and I’ve been trying out a number of them, as a part of my goal to get healthier this year (remember, I’m turning 40?!) I’m going to share a bunch of my tips and tricks, as well as what I do when I’m struggling with insomnia from a day filled with too much juggling — Melatonin from Natrol. Actually, it was recommended by doctor, so when they asked me to write about their product, I jumped at the chance.
Look, sleep is one of those things that seems like wasted time, I get it, and sometimes it is too hard to sleep because of all of the worries and “to-do’s” that are on your mama checklist. I get it. However, what I’m saying to you, me, and all of the women you know– if we don’t get enough sleep, we can’t take care of our precious little
terrorists treasures. Here are some ways to promote sleep for yourself, along with some information about Natrol that I have been using for more than a year.
Tip #1 Set a bedtime for yourself! Okay, we’ve got to make getting to bed a priority, right? That’s the biggest challenge that moms need to face. I remember my mother in law telling me that she used to do her cleaning after the mellow man went to bed from midnight to 2am. Then she would get up at 6:30am, get him off to school, and head to work. That’s not enough sleep! A mama must get more than 4 hours of sleep a night! With few exceptions, an adult needs around 8 hours of sleep a night. (There are exceptions, but again, those are exceptions, not the rule!) Don’t believe me– look at how much presidents of the United States age during their terms. The stress and lack of sleep does that– that’s what happens to you when you only get 3 hours of sleep a night, mamas! Our kiddos have a bedtime to make sure that they get enough sleep, and so do all of us. Now, I’d like to push my bedtime a little earlier, but these days, I try to be in bed, ready to sleep by 11:30pm. (That’s my goal, but it doesn’t always happen.)
Tip #2 Have a bedtime routine. This is another ting that we do for our kiddos, and it works for their mamas too. Set up a routine that is relaxing and helps you get your mind and body ready for bed. For me, I like using Sleep-Aid Essential Oil Blend with my diffuser. You could make your own, or pick your own favorite relaxing blend. I brush my teeth, and put on PJs, and often turn on a nature sounds app after plugging in my phone. (I like the apps that have a “sleep” feature to turn off after a period of time.) For me, the smell of the essential oil blend and the sounds cue my body that it’s time to sleep.
Tip #3 Get Exercise! Moving your body is awesome to help sleep. I have found that since I started working out 3 to 5 times a week, my sleep has dramatically improved. My body is tired and so is my mind, and it’s just easier to fall asleep and sleep soundly through the night.
Tip #4 Destress and Put the Phone Down! This is another hard tip to follow. Reading the news, or checking social media in bed can be both a time-suck, and unfortunately at times, can raise your blood-pressure. These things can interfere with sleep. Personally, I know that reading things that excite or agitate me, are a sure fire way to keep me up. The nights I get the best sleep are when I put the phone down, forget about social media and email, and don’t watch the late night news. Now your triggers for agitation may be different, but be aware of what makes you worked up. For example, for the Mellow Man, I’d say that checking work email too close to bedtime can make him stay up later. Once you learn your triggers, stop doing them.
Tip #5 Avoid Caffeine! Okay, you know this one, but do you heed it? I don’t always! Sometimes I think that I’d like to have just a little more energy to get through the evening, so I have a little Diet Coke too late. You know what, that means that I’m staying up later, and not sleeping as soundly. Sleep experts also recommends that alcohol and nicotine be avoided at bedtime. I know that some people feel like a glass of wine or a beer can help relax them for bedtime, but alcohol makes sleep more disrupted.
Tip #6 Recognize Insomnia and Calm Down. Sometimes I’m too stressed to settle down. Sometimes I just can’t seem to fall asleep. Right now, this is an issue because we are trying to settle into a new routine with the start of the school year. I’m feeling overwhelmed with getting everything done, and that can disrupt my sleep. When I try everything else, and I’m still struggling to sleep, I have found that taking Melatonin can help me get to sleep on schedule. In actuality, my doctor recommended Melatonin as a natural sleep aid, and the pediatrician suggested it for our Monkey who sometimes has trouble falling asleep. Again, you should always consult your doctor, but we’ve been using Natrol for about a year now, and it has been so helpful to help make sure that I’m getting enough sleep.
Now, if you’d like to try Natrol, you can pick up a $2 off coupon here and either buy it online in the Natrol Store, or find a location at their website. I’ve been picking up Natrol at my local health food store, but I also found it in a larger grocery store when I was visiting family. Regardless, it has been a wonderful benefit when trying to get back on schedule and keep up my sleep hygiene.