As you can see, sleep has been a major topic in our household since the birth of our baby. While pregnant, I heard the phrase “Enjoy your Sleep Now while you Can” a lot. But I think you don’t realize just what a valuable (and beautiful) night’s sleep is until you have been to bed five times in one evening and barely managed two hours of uninterrupted sleep before you wake up to start the day. It is terrible to feel sleepy when you don’t need it. It can literally affect everything…my moods, stress levels and energy as well as my motivation for the day ahead.
This is not going to be about babies and sleeping. I’ve learned over the past nine months that babies can be unpredictable. They may sleep through four months, lull their parents into a false sense security, and then roll around in your bed at three in the morning. I learned important lessons from those nocturnal awakenings. Sleep is vital. Everybody deserves the best sleep possible, and it doesn’t matter how long it takes to hear your little one waking up…again!
Nine months later, I’ve been conscious of making sure I get the best sleep possible. I go to bed in trepidation not knowing if it will be four, five or six hours before I wake up. Here are my top tips for getting a restful night.
1. Sleep spray. This is a product I’ve been using for years and it is a regular part of my bedtime routine. My bedroom can be transformed with a few drops of L’Occitane Pillow mist. This helps me relax and promotes sleep.
2. Renovate your bed. This was something I didn’t think about as an important factor in a good night of sleep. But, since we got rid of our old mattress and began sleeping on our new drift mattress (which actually feels like you’re snoozing on cloud), this has been a huge improvement. My sleep quality has improved. Your mattress is where you spend about a third your life. They say that it should be changed every eight years. So we were certainly due for an upgrade! The best thing about this mattress is how comfortable it is. It has more than 4000 pocket springs, and a natural wool surface. Allows air to circulate. The mattress comes with a 100-night sleep trial. It is also delivered in a huge punch bag, so it’s easy to lug it up the stairs. Rob and I may have bounced on it when it arrived.
3. Digital detox. Many of us are guilty of spending too much time on our phones, scrolling through our social media channels and even watching the Bushtucker Trial until we go to bed. After we’re all tucked up under the duvet there is one final check on all social media channels to make sure nothing has occurred in the time it took to brush our teeth. This overstimulates the brain just when it should be relaxing. I try to avoid checking my phone before bed, and I make sure to turn off the screen at least an hour before bed. It has also helped me to reduce the screen brightness of my iPhone.
4. Say No to Caffeine. This is a difficult one for me since I drink tea by-the-dozen. However, limiting your caffeine intake in the evenings will help you sleep better at night. You can try herbal or fruit teas to relax in the evenings, but I don’t like them so I opt for decaf Earl Grey.
5. Make lists. I’m an obsessive planner. My mind races every night when I get out of bed. I have a list of things to do, things to buy Florence, emails to reply to, and blog posts that I want to write. Everything! It doesn’t matter how small or large. To help me switch off and let my mind drift, I keep a pencil and notepad at my bedside.
6. A warm bath before bed. I am a mother to an active baby, so it is rare that I get to take a refreshing shower or soak in the mornings. A hot shower or bath is a part of my bedtime routine. Studies have shown that the gradual cooling off period after a long soak can help you relax.
7. Keep your feet toasty. It might be just me, but I have trouble falling asleep or getting up if my toes are cold. To keep my feet warm, especially when it gets cold at night, I always bring a hot water bottle with me. Also, I make sure to get a pair of cashmere socks. You are a great grandmother! Warm, toasty feet are the best way to get a good night’s sleep.
8. Exercise. You will be able to sleep better at night by getting out of your house and office, sweating it out, and being exposed to the beautiful daylight. Every day, I make sure to go for at least one hour with Florence. Fresh air and stimulation help me stay alert throughout the day, especially if it’s been a difficult night. At night, I feel more tired and less stressed, which helps with my sleep quality.
9. Have a good night! This is the obvious tip, but I often forget it. Your body will be more relaxed if you establish a schedule and go to bed at the same time each night. You will be glad to sacrifice a few hours of sleep for another episode of Netflix.
10. These points should be taken with a grain of salt. I’m a mom to a baby girl who spends most of her time scrolling through Instagram at 3:00 in the morning. She also enjoys a cup of tea and a piece of chocolate before going to bed. Cal the caffeine police! Sometimes I stay up late to watch weird documentaries, and sometimes don’t get to shower. If you struggle to sleep, I hope one or two of these tips will help you get more restful nights. Sweet dreams!