Sleep was always something that came easy to me until I had a baby. I’d go to bed, almost never wake up and wake up when my alarm went off the next morning. My, how I miss those days! Babies come with their fair share of sleep deprivation, but even after Owen was sleeping through the night, I was still experiencing disrupted sleep that was leaving me feeling incredibly exhausted.
As I’m dealing with chronic fatigue, getting good, restful sleep is incredibly important to me. While we’re asleep our bodies are at work doing things like detoxifying our livers, rebuilding and repairing muscles and tissues and human growth hormone is secreted (which is why it’s so important for babies to get plenty of sleep). After a night of deep sleep, you wake up feeling energized instead of depleted, so creating healthy bedtime routines is pretty damn important!
So, what should we be doing before bed to guarantee a better night’s sleep? Things like reading, relaxing, stretching and meditating are all good, but your own nighttime routine should be customized to you and what makes you feel calm and at peace. So, instead of telling you what you should do, here’s a list of things healthy people DON’T do before bed! I have to admit that I’m guilty of several of these, but I’m working on making changes to create better sleep habits for myself.
One downside of our generation of technology is that email makes it possible for our bosses and emails to reach us at all hours of the day and night. It makes it hard to come home and totally disconnect. Working late into the night makes it much harder for us to shut our brains off and fall asleep. Even when we do fall asleep, all that blue light late at night will make it harder for us to get a good restful night’s sleep.
As a mom, sometimes the only hours available for me to get some work done are from 7pm and on. I’ll allow myself to get a few things done, but by 8:30pm, I close the computer and call it a night. This allows me plenty of time to disconnect before our 10:15pm bedtime.
This probably goes without saying, but avoiding caffeine at night is one of the best ways to insure you’ll be able to fall asleep when you crawl into bed. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, you might try to avoid caffeine after noon everyday.
Sit on the Couch for Hours
Tempting, isn’t it? But, if you can help it, try to get your booty off the couch and go for a walk around the block or stretch. It’s really relaxing and good for your body. Lately, I’ve been foam-rolling at night and it leaves my muscles feeling really relaxed.
Watch TV in Bed
Personally, I like to keep the bedroom as peaceful as possible and for me that means free of TVs. The loud noise and bright flashing lights stimulate our brain instead of getting us calm and ready for bed. I also find that if the TV is on, I have a hard time turning it off and going to bed. When there’s no TV in your room, you don’t have to worry about it.
Turn the Lights On
Bright lights stimulate our brain and can contribute to sleep issues. Keeping lights dim and soft at night creates a relaxing atmosphere and makes it easier to drift off to sleep. After we’ve had dinner and cleaned the kitchen, we like turning off as many lights as possible and keeping it relaxed. If you can install dimmers, do it! It’s a great way to make your home super peaceful at night.
Stay Up Late
Our bodies thrive off of healthy routines, so setting a earlier bed time and sticking to it every night is one of the easiest ways to get your circadian rhythm more regular and make it easier to fall asleep each night. The later you stay up, the less sleep you’re likely to get that night. If you’re trying to make healthier choices, definitely ad this one to your list.
Drink Wine or Alcohol
A drink might make us sleepy, but too much can disrupt our sleep. Alcohol has sugar in it and a sugar high in the middle of the night is not going to make it easy to sleep! That being said, I love a good glass of red wine at the end of the day! Plus, there’s plenty of studies out there that say a glass of red wine is actually good for you! Instead of drinking up until it’s time to get ready for bed, try sticking to one glass and switching to water at least an hour before you go to bed.
Eat a Late Dinner
Our food takes time to digest and ideally you want to eat 2-3 hours before you go to bed. Eating a late dinner might make it harder to fall asleep because your food is still digesting. We typically eat between 7:30-8pm because Owen’s bedtime falls right in the middle of when we’d normally prep and eat dinner, but we try to eat as soon as we can after he’s down for the night. I find that I’m able to fall asleep so much easier when we eat early because my stomach isn’t working to breakdown our meal.
Rush the Nightly Routine
A relaxing routine each night can really set the mood and get you good and calm before lights out. I treasure this time each night—It’s my me-time after a long day of momming. I make sure the lights are dimmed, put on my robe and then take my time as I go through my nightly skincare routine. Once that’s done, I put lavender essential oil in our oil diffuser and turn on the sound maker. I’ll sometimes read before bed or talk to Rob for a bit, but usually I lay down and just start getting my body and mind really comfortable!
Instagram can be such a time suck, so opening it up and scrolling right as you get in bed is a bad idea! Sadly, I’m so guilty of doing this, but I’m actively trying to quit this habit. I’ll start scrolling and before I know it, 30 minutes have passed! It gets my brain going and back into work mode which I really don’t like to do at this point of the night. Avoiding it all together is the best thing for our sleep!
Which of these unhealthy habits are you guilty of?! And, what healthy habits do you practice every night to get a better night’s rest?