Sleep. It’s the elusive thing we drool about like we used to drool over chocolate cake and celebrity crushes. But the more we hear about its importance (e.g. a deficient amount causes everything from diabetes to heart disease not to mention exacerbating anxiety and depression.), the harder it is to surrender to slumber.
Insomnia has always been an wanted visitor in my house. But with two little kids, it seems ever present. The fear of inadequate sleep and having to take care of them turns nighttime into a battle. I worry about having enough energy to catch up after them. I worry that I will never heal from my illness. And then it’s morning and my fears have come true.
If you’re like me struggling with sleep, wanting it, but not knowing how to get it, I’ve gathered a few tips from experts. Let me know if you like it, tried it and if it helps.
This Very Well article talks about everything on sleep and insomnia. Scroll down to get to the good part-actual treatments for sleep. There are things there you might have already heard of like naps, aromatherapy and sleep environment, but there are a few I’ve never heard of. Click on chronotherapy, for example, and find out how delaying sleep by two to three hours can actually be beneficial or sleep restriction, restricting how long you’re actually in bed can increase your sleep efficiency.
I also recommend listening to Jeff Goins podcast The Portfolio Life, in case you’re not already. While he talks about a lot of relevant topics for creatives, this one in particular addresses sleep. In it, he interviews health and sleep expert Shawn Stevenson about the critical importance of sleep, and how to get it. If you’re a busy mom who doesn’t have time to listen to the whole thing, here are the highlights:
- Exercise in the morning. Even 5 minutes is enough to get you to sleep better at night.
- Eliminate caffeine or limit it to the morning. The effect of caffeine can last up to 6 hours after you drink it.
- Turn off electronics before bed. Research shows the light from it shuts down melatonin, which you need to get a restful night’s rest. There is a software called f.lux, which can help block out the blue glow from your computer.
- Create a bedtime routine. Yes it’s another thing we do for our kids, which we don’t do for ourselves. But consistent routine sets our mind and body for sleep.
- Your gut can affect sleep. Digestion is imperative for restful sleep. There are several articles online on how to clean up your gut.
Arianna Huffington published a book called, “The Sleep Revolution” and Shawn Stevenson also has a book called, “Sleep Smarter.” I have yet to read these, but will be in my to-read cue. If you’ve read one or both, please let me know what you think.
*Update – here is another resource with natural treatments for sleep.