One thing I have learnt over the past years is that I just don’t cope well on little sleep! During my university years I prioritised late nights of study, and way too many late nights of partying over sleep. Although I was young and in my prime I didn’t take the best care of myself.
Then I settled down, met Steve and got married. My sleep levels increased, well that is until Aspen arrived and then it felt like I would never achieve sleep again. It didn’t help that Aspen only wanted to sleep in the comfort of my arms, whilst I paced the halls trying not to make the old floorboards squeak so my hubby could manage a few hours sleep himself. Steve was huge support, but Aspen pretty much only wanted me, and she clearly had her own body clock that told her nighttime was for snuggles with mummy, and screaming the house down. Every time I tried to lay down with her, or put her into her own cradle she would wake up and cry. Now it was nice that she loved my company, but I was beginning to fall apart emotionally. I am not sure my brain, or body could take much more. After 3 children a good nights sleep was beginning to feel like an illusive thing that only existed in my past. But with my youngest now turning 7, sleep is again something I can use in my vocabulary. Yes new mums, you will too get there.
Last week I wrote about feeling low, and how hard I was on myself. I may know intellectually that I will get through hard times, and I will be OK, but emotionally sometimes I truly doubt whether I will find my way out of those foggy times. One thing I have learnt over those years of not enough sleep, and the times I feel at my lowest emotionally and physically, is that lack of sleep is NEVER a good idea. I need sleep, WE need sleep! Sleep is not something we just want, we actually need it! If we want to be healthy, physically, mentally, and emotionally then sleep is not optional.
Now clearly there are times I self inflicted lack of sleep upon myself, and other times it was inflicted on me no matter how much I protested. But one thing was the same in both these cases and that is that without sleep I become extremely vulnerable to random moments of crying about who knows what, or a sudden desire for way too much chocolate, or a nice slice of cake, oh and perhaps even some cold left over pizza. And sometimes, on a more serious note I become much more vulnerable to feeling anxious, or being really hard on myself!
Anyway I am rambling on, but my point is that we need sleep! We all know it, yet we push ourselves way too hard all the time. We are all so busy trying to work, be wonder woman, or superman, keep our partners happy, our children safe and amused, and still have a social life! And then we stay up even later watching addictive TV shows, or working on our blogs, or scrolling through social media, when we really should be going to bed!
But how do we get more sleep? And how do we get a good nights sleep? Well here are a few tips that I hope will help you.
- Never have children! Oops too late? Ok so if you do have children try to establish a good, comforting routine for your little one’s. Bedtime stories is great to relax their active minds, dim the lights, make sure they have a special soft toy, pillow or blanket. Nursery Rhymes are always lovely too. If they are too little to sleep through it can be an exhausting time, make sure you have support, and look after yourself!! If you have someone who can give you a few hours of sleep make sure you let them know you would like their help. Baby sleep schools can be a big help too. Believe in yourself, be gentle on yourself through this time, it will get easier. Never be afraid to seek help EVER.
- Just like a child, you need a comforting bedtime routine too. A good book to read can be a great way to help you drift off. Or listening to a meditation app, or calming music can also be helpful.
- Unplug. It seems like the hardest thing to do these days, but we really need to stop looking at our phones right before we go to bed. And never read work emails before going to bed!
- Hugging. Touch is a great way to relax, so many of us sit there at night on separate devices to our partners, hugging, massage, and whatever else that involves touching, can help us reconnect with our partners, and relax us.
- Mindfullness, if you haven’t heard of this, google it, it is a great way to focus on your body whilst in bed and help you sleep. There are some great apps for it too.
- The right bed! We brought a new mattress a little while ago, I was admittedly not excited about spending money on something that didn’t improve the look of my bedroom, but it did improve my comfort so it was worth every penny! A comfortable mattress really will help you not only fall asleep easier, but will make the sleep you do have so much more beneficial. And don’t forget a good quality pillow too.
- A calming bedroom. Don’t clutter your bedroom, keep it simple, style it beautifully and use calming colours. Please try to never put a desk in your bedroom!
- And again on the bedding topic, choose lovely sheets that feel beautiful against you, rough, itchy or pilling sheets do not equal a good sleep. Make sure you are not too hot, or too cold, having your bedroom at a comfortable temperature will help lull you to sleep.
So there you have my top getting to sleep tips. Do you have any to add?
Sleep really is important to our health, I know we feel the pressure to do everything and please everyone, but we can not function at our best, or happiest when we are sleep deprived. I know it can be really hard with work and kids, but we really need to look after ourselves. We need to make sleep, and rest a priority.
Thanks for joining me, love Mac xx
I often get asked on Instagram where my bedding is from. I will try to get a post up in the next couple of days with where some of my bedroom decor can be found. But right now I am going to unplug and have a cup of tea. Night night xx