Some days I miss being a teenager. Not the acne or the awkwardness, but the ability to sleep well into the afternoon.
Do you remember those days?
Maybe you’re reliving those day with teenagers now.
With each passing year, I’m finding it harder to secure a really good night’s sleep—the kind that leaves me stretching like a well-rested cat in bed. All too often I find myself staggering out of bed, hair looking like a sprinkler head, stumbling for the coffee.
So I decided to do something it. Not only did I commit to discovering the wonder of rest (as described in Wonderstruck), but also being intentional about getting the kind of zzzzz’s that leave me energetic instead of empty in the morning.
Here are a few tips I discovered along the way:
1. Set an earlier dinnertime. In trying to find a good night’s sleep, I soon noticed that the later we work, the later we eat, and the later we go to bed. When we committed to ending work by a certain time, we began to eat earlier, and reoriented our routine to an earlier bedtime. Plus, my stomach wasn’t busy digesting food and keeping me awake.
2. Build a cave. When it comes to catching lots of z-z-z’s, light is the enemy. Studies show chronic light can decrease melatonin production—a sleep hormone. We purchased blackout shades and learned to keep windows closed whenever possible to create a quiet, dark environment. We draped a cloth over our clock iPod docking stations. And we purchased a noise machine that creates ambient noise. At first, I couldn’t stand the humming. Now we travel with that little device and get better sleep everywhere we go.
3. Skip the afternoon caffeine. I’m a softy for late afternoon Starbucks run, a cool pitcher of iced tea, and or a diet soda, but I had learn to stop drinking caffeine by noon if I wanted to be ready to nod off as soon as I climbed in bed. I now opt for sparkling water.
4. Resist the late night munchies. Those salty chips and sweets seem to shout my name in the later hours, but eating them provides an insulin and energy boost that makes nodding off harder.
5. Say “No” to one more episode. It’s the ultimate temptation. Just one more episode of Parks & Rec. I have to know how this season of Downton Abbey ends. But it’s How I Met Your Mother. Puh-leease! I’ve been known to beg. This is the toughest change I’ve had to make. But learning to keep a consistent bedtime and resist the urge to watch one more 22-minute show added dozens of hours into our sleep bank—helping Leif and I wake up and live more well rested.
What do you do to get a really great night’s sleep?
*Photo courtesy of here